Phoenix1’s Inori talks about tilting TSM, the upcoming promotion tournament and more


Phoenix1’s star jungler discusses what it was like to end TSM’s perfect split.

One of the hottest names in the NA LCS right now is Rami “Inori” Charagh of Phoenix1.

The jungler has had a lot of hype around him this split, and while he was playing well, his performance against TSM in Week 8 was definitely his breakout party as he carried Phoenix1 over the undefeated juggernauts.

We caught up with Inori to talk about the big win and a lot more.

The opportunity with Phoenix1 was the biggest of your career, and yet it was put on hold for weeks due to visa issues. What was that time like for you?

It was really disheartening. It was sad to have to watch your team lose games that you could probably win.

Were you able to find anything positive during the time?

I think it just hurt the team more because the team was really reliant on me. It threw me a lot of frustration and the team, and it made the team environment more complicated. After I started to play more, it started to ease its way to be more comfortable.

The Rengar game against TSM was your coming out party. Were you ever able to actually appreciate what was going on in the moment?

It was just such a surreal moment. From Game 1 to Game 2, the shift in the crowd was huge. I think in Game 1, no one was clapping for us. After we won Game 2, it was a huge difference. The second we got on stage we heard all the P1 people yelling and screaming. It was such a cool experience.

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Were you surprised at how badly TSM dealt with your Rengar?

I don’t think they were prepared for it at all. I think they’re just not used to losing. When they were losing the game, they weren’t prepared for it at all. They didn’t know how to react to it. It was a new experience for them. Shotcalling was so off. They tried to do a two-man Baron when they weren’t even out of the game yet, and right after that Baron, it was over after that. That’s not something you’re supposed to do, and to see a top team do something like that is kind of sad because that’s such a low tier thing to do. I think mostly Rengar just tilted them. They didn’t know how to play from behind, especially against Rengar. I think it’s just because Doublelift is the ADC and he is also the main shotcaller, his mindset was just so off that game.

You started off Game 3 by getting two kills mid and then proceeded to taunt afterwards. Did you do this because you knew they were tilted at that point?

After the 2v2, I’m like, they have to be out of their mind tilted right now because that was just so sad for them. To lose a 2v2 like that is the worst possible outcome. I spammed the emote just because I love doing stuff like that. I think it’s fun, good for the game and good from the spectator viewpoint. Maybe I’ll inspire other players to be more cocky like that because I think it’s fun and it’s good to do stuff like that. It’s not meant to be disrespectful at all to the players. It’s just something you do for the spectators to have them enjoy the sport a lot more.

You are getting most of the credit for the TSM series, but Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik played a huge part in the win. Were you surprised by his performance?

I think he’s had a confidence issue going from the start, but over time he’s been inspired by how I play against top tier junglers that he’s even himself getting the confidence that he needs to play against them. Now, whenever we’re playing against a top tier team, he’s always like: “Who is this guy? I’m better than this guy.”

You mentioned on Twitter that you received death threats after taking down TSM. What’s up with that?

People were really upset that we were the ones who beat them, and people online are most likely more immature. It wasn’t a one-time thing, it was like 20 people saying stuff like that. I just stopped looking at those kinds of things because they are just really negative. I don’t take it too seriously because you can say anything online.

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The Rengar pick was a shocker for everyone. Are there any other surprises you would love to pull out?

I think I kind of did something different that a lot of people are now looking at. I think a lot of people are too used to just going wards and building Sightstone on junglers, but then they saw my series where I literally never bought a ward and I just went red smite and skipped Sightstone. I think doing that style enables you more to play a carry role in the jungle, and I think that unlocks a lot of champs that people probably thought weren’t viable in competitive. I’m always looking to change things up. Maybe next week I’ll pull out a different champion. Rengar’s just my signature champ that’s always there. He might come out again, too.

Is it safe to assume that you think you’re the best Rengar in North America?

I definitely think I’m the best Rengar just because I’m not afraid to go full damage.

Doublelift recently said that he would put you guys right there with Team Envy. Is that where you see yourselves?

We’d be above Envy. We’d be like where they are or one win ahead of them, but I still think we should aim higher. I think this team could be a top three team, definitely.

What’s it like having your fan base grow over the course of the summer?

I think it’s fantastic to just have the support from fans. The first week of LCS was so bad. The first week I went, we had so little people, but over time it was growing. I think it started with three one day, 10 the next and then 15 and it just kept growing. It was a nice experience because I’m really appreciative of the support we get.

Where do you rank the top junglers in the NA LCS right now?

I’d rank Reignover number one just because of how consistent he is. He might be on a really good team, but he gives a lot to that team and carries them a lot of the games. Maybe over time I can be better than him, but right now he’s one of the junglers I’d have to give respect to. Under him, I think would be me and Dardoch. I think we’re pretty even, me and Dardoch. I think he’s a really good jungler and I have a lot of respect for him, too.

There’s a good chance that you guys will have to play in the promotion tournament. With Challenger being strong this year, are you guys nervous at all?

I think the Challenger teams are good, but they aren’t that good. Playing on stage, there is always that different experience. Cloud9 is the only exception because they already have veterans that won’t crack under pressure. You don’t know how TLA will react when they play on stage. It’s a different vibe, it’s a different experience. I’m not too worried about the teams, to be honest. C9 Challenger will be the harder one, and even them, they aren’t that much better. After beating TSM, I feel pretty strong and feel pretty confident in my team. I’m not too worried.

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You’re confident in your team, but can you see a scenario where someone like Echo Fox lose their NA LCS spot?

Yeah, that’s the sad part. I think Echo Fox is really gonna have to up their game. They have to win two best-of-fives which is pretty scary. At least for us, we’re only going to need to win one, but they have to win two which is so, so scary. I hope they can stay in the LCS, but they really need to up their game because I definitely can see anyone of the three of us losing.

Speaking of the Challenger scene, Cloud9 announced that their team would be made to grow local talent, and yet all they did was throw a bunch of veterans on the team for what looks to be a quick money grab. How does that come off to you? 

I don’t think it’s cool at all. I think Riot should have some rules against that kind of stuff. When you look at Challenger and you see a team full of former LCS players, it just seems like a boosting thing. I don’t really like it. I feel like it’s kind of weird for the Challenger scene, especially for Challenger teams. I think Dream Team was a good team full of Challenger players, but they had to play against Cloud9 and they lost because of that and now that whole team is just done. I think it’s not really fair to some of the Challenger teams, but if there’s no rules against it, I can’t really say much because they just did what was legal.

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