/ / Gaming


IgNar: Here to Win

Published On: February 5, 2021

For as long as he can remember, Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun has been the kind of player the people love to watch. 

“When I debuted, I did a 5 man engage, like an Alistar 5 man knock up. I did it on the debut game, so I already have it from the start and I just slowly make it complete. ”

By “it” IgNar means his signature style: Hard engages, heavy map movement, and deep synergy with the pacemakers in jungle and mid. It’s a style that unleashes an active macro game on any team he enters. In turn, IgNar makes his teams as fun for the audience to watch as they are lethal for the opponent to play against.

Across his career, his team made top 4 in 8 different splits or regional tournaments (9 if you count his stint on KT). He’s also been on an All-Pro team across 4 splits, 3 teams, and 2 leagues. As a player and a teammate, he’s always been close to the top and he’s stayed there in part through a style that’s aggressive, adaptive, and resilient.


How would you describe your style as a support?
I think I have really good engage. One of my core strengths is coordinating with mid laners when I have bot prio[rity]. So I’d describe my style as say engage slash mov[ing] around the map.

What do you think pushed you towards that style of play?
I think it came from solo queue first because I want[ed] to climb and if I want[ed] to climb as support I needed to do something and then support, what [a support] can do is engage. The most impactful thing I could do was to engage, so I learned it from solo queue. Then, in team games, it was kinda the same. Like, when I wanted to win, I needed to engage.

Do you feel like the meta currently fits your style?
To be honest, my feeling is my play-style doesn’t need meta that much. Even with ardent meta I can do it if I want. [What’s] more important is team environment and chemistry. That directly impacts how well you are playing with the team.

For you as a player, what is it like to play with all of these different AD carries. How do you adapt to their style or get them to adapt to yours?
Hmm. Usually I’m always trying to match [my] AD’s play style so my play style is always chang[ing]. I always try to play with jungle more. So, [I] just make [a] stable bot with AD then I play with jungle so, I think that’s the key.

How important for you is that synergy between support and jungle?
I think it’s really, really important because usually the vision control is coming from jungle and support moving together so I think it’s really huge. If you control vision, you control the game.

On top of being effective, IgNar’s style is memorable and fun to watch. On Thresh and Blitz he became known for his insane prediction-hooks and flash flay plays. On Leona he became known for fervor - literally.

In Misfit’s Quarterfinals match for SKT, they went to 5 games and nearly won in no small part because of IgNar’s innovative Leona. With the fervor battle rune on, IgNar could truly duel with Leona, using her auto-reset stun to rack stacks up quickly and beat down opponents in lane. The most iconic moment of his already very iconic career comes from fervor Leona.

For IgNar the pick was more than iconic, it was entertaining. “Fervor Leona was so fun,” he says in the discord chat before the interview starts. That’s foreshadowing for how important the concept of “fun” is to his whole career. IgNar sees a genuine joy inside the competition and tries to build that joy into the teams he’s on. This approach is what gives him such a unique career and play style.

If you could take out winning, what’s the best feeling in League?
I think just having this job. Having this work as a job - I think that’s a really great feeling. Because usually you have to wake up early and then you need to do so much stuff and then you have your boss. For a player, of course you have [a] boss but [the] most important thing is you just play a good game with your teammates. I think that’s really [a] blessed job.

Are you looking forward to playing your former teammates and is there anybody you really wanna face?
I don’t have anybody I really wanna face, but it would be really fun to play against [FlyQuest]. For FlyQuest I had [a] really good relationship with everyone, with staff as well. Even though the players on FQ are different, a lot of the staff are the same, so it will be just so fun to play against everyone.

What do you think is the key to making a good atmosphere like what you had on FlyQuest?
I’m not sure but two big things were everyone was smart at the game and then everyone had nice personalities - nice and then fun! Everyone had nice personalities so everyone was friendly so literally we play good, we play smart and then we’re friendly so we can play more [to our style and] what we want.

I look at the current Evil Geniuses lineup and it looks similar to me where it seems like there are a lot of players that are really smart but also have these big, fun personalities. How do you feel about EG as a team?
Pretty good. I’m not sure now because it takes time to get friendly with everyone - like literally friendly. It takes a kinda long time. We’re still getting to know each other, but I’m having a good feeling so far.

How do you feel about NA?
I think NA is really fun to play [in]. I don’t think it has a big gap between EU, in my opinion.

What do you think makes things more enjoyable in NA?
For me it was FlyQuest’s members to be honest. I had really good friendships in FlyQuest, with everyone. So that time was really just fun and I’m expecting that I will make those friends in EG too.

Do you feel like in most teams you go to you find a lot of friendships within the team?
I’m not sure, I think it’s my personality. I usually like to talk with people and then I usually like to be friendly with everyone. I’m just lucky that everyone is nice too.

What made you join EG?
I think the biggest one was I could see that EG really wanted me [on the team]. Usually I like to join the team that really wants me. And then the roster seems good too.

So far how is it working with EG’s coaching staff?
I think they’re pretty nice and cool guys. They’re chill. It’s only one week so I can’t judge, but they seem pretty smart and nice. I have a feeling that I can belong well with them.

How important for you is it to feel that you can belong with the staff and the players?
I think that’s pretty huge. That’s not everything but I really think that’s not small because if you’re friendly then you can talk more, literally. So it’s important for me but in general it’s important for everyone. It’s really important, and eases communication in and out of game.

What are some of the benefits of a friendly team?
I think [the] benefit is fun. Like, if you’re a friend with someone - teammates, team, and staff - it’s really fun. Every day is really fun. Time goes really fast - like acceleration. Last year FlyQuest was [the] same. Around the middle of Spring everyone got really friendly and then Summer was - I don’t remember that much about Summer Split because it went so fast!

Was there any point in your career where you felt like that fun - or atmosphere - was not there?
I had only one time in my career - I think. In KT I didn’t have that feeling. But back then I was really a kid as well. I was [also] in KT for only three months - that’s why, maybe. As I said, I need time to get friendly with everyone, it takes like two months, three months.

If I was in KT fully then it could be different too. [...] I learned in KT, fun is so important as a pro player. Right before KT I was in IM - that team was really fun! In KT I made more money and then [was on a] big name too, but I don’t care about fame or money. I just care about winning and having fun with teammates.

Coming into Evil Geniuses, IgNar sticks to the old philosophies around fun, belonging, and team building that have guided him for years. It’s not a stretch to look at EG and see some shades of 2020 FlyQuest and even 2017 Misfits. The team builds off of an already present and powerful mid-jungle duo, with an anchor top laner that can handle most situations well.

And just like FlyQuest and Misfits, this Evil Geniuses team isn’t a clear favorite going into the seasonis an underdog.

No one expected EG to roar into the Lock In tournament like they did - beating Cloud9 and cleanly cruising into Semifinals. Even in a 3-0 against TL that got low at points, EG showed promise particularly from its bot and mid lanes, where IgNar and Deftly secured a 2v2 kill on CoreJJ and Tactical.

Even now, many power rankings won’t put EG in the top 4 - those spots going to more hyped up teams like Team Liquid, TSM, Cloud9, and 100 Thieves. For IgNar, that’s not a problem as much as it is a motivator. IgNar finds even more fun - and even more motivation - in being the underdog.
Another thing I think is interesting about your career is you’re always this underdog…
[Laughs] Yeah, I usually like underdogs - that’s true.

Everyone knows you’re very good, but you’re always [on] the underdog team. How do you feel about that? Does that motivate you?
For me, I usually like to join [an] underdog team from the start. I don’t why but it makes [me] more motivate[d]. It’s more fun to be honest and more motivation overall.

What do you think is more fun about it?
Let’s say I play good with a good team, it’s, “Okay, that was [a] strong team already.” But like, Misfits at Worlds, everyone was saying we’ll be out [in Groups].

What is that team? No one knows about the team but we play[ed] good and then it was really, really fun. That’s the biggest thing I think.

People are a lot more hyped up when you’re getting the wins.
Yeah, and then for me too, I wanna make this team to this place. Let’s say [an] 8th place team to 3rd place - it’s already a big jump. I usually like that. Less pressure too, obviously, because if you join the 1st [place] team and then if you play bad it’s [a] kind of pressure too. I just like that underdog feeling.

What do you think are the chances you can break the top 3, top 2 with EG this year?
Obviously I think we can do it but always the situation changes during the season. I cannot say we will be but for sure we can be. I dunno about the chance. Maybe for now it’s 20 percent, 30 percent. For now, but it always change[s]. We can be better.

Right. What do you think the chances were when you were on Misfits, when you just came into the EU LCS?
Yeah it was really low, actually. [Laughs]

What are your goals this split?
First of all I want to make a team identity. Then, [my] next big goal is I wanna go [to] Worlds with this team. Usually if you go [to] Worlds, for me, that team was really fun. Everyone really belong[ed with] each other well. Misfits and FlyQuest were really insane time[s]. I really just wanna go [to] Worlds one more time.