On 28th of July, SK Telecom T1 came out victorious on the rivalry against Griffin. Despite dropping game two, SKT won the series with the MVP going to Park “Teddy” Jin-seong for game one and Kim “Clid” Tae-min on game three. SKT now climbs to 5th place in the 2019 summer split rankings, finally entering the playoffs range.
After the victory, the press room interviewed the mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk and head coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun.
Congratulations on defeating Griffin and winning seven matches in a row. How do you feel at the moment?
kkOma: I think I’ll be repeating this until the end of the split. Even though we are on a seven-match win streak, if we drop a match, we can get pushed out of the cliff. Yes, victory is a victory. However, there were parts of the performance that could have been better. We have a decent period of time until the next match, so we must prepare for the next match by filling these deficiencies.
Faker, How do you yourself feel about the seven-match victory?
Faker: We had bad results during the first round of the summer split. Because of this, our goal for the second round is to win every single match. It’s too premature to feel happy. This is just an opportunity for us to really achieve the goal of winning every single match at round two. I see the current state as an interim road.
SKT has climbed up to the 5th place in the LCK by defeating Griffin. You must be overjoyed. It’s meaningful that you have climbed the standings while the LCK continues to be so competitive, no single team at the top of the rankings. kkOma, Faker, what are your thoughts on this milestone?
Faker: Our goal is to climb all the way to the first place. It has always been, even before the beginning of the second round. Therefore, I am not too satisfied with 5th place. Sure, it’s better than 7th place. However, we have a long way to go.
The drafts of game one and two were extremely similar. However, when it came to game three, SKT started to make adjustments to the drafts. kkOma, what was the reason behind this?
kkOma: We had an interesting top lane match-up at game two [of Gangplank against Kennen]. If we had drafted for lane priority, maybe the top lane match-up would have been close. However, when it comes to Kennen and Gangplank match-up, Gangplank has no chance of holding up against Kennen. So that is the big difference between game one and game two.
We made feedbacks around this and made adjustments on our drafts for game three. In terms of difficulty, I believe that the opponents’ draft was easier to execute compared to out draft. However, our players were more focused today, played better than the [Griffin] players — so I would like to thank them.
Faker, you played Corki-Sylas match up at both game one and game two. Both champions are very popular picks at this meta. How is the lane phase against Sylas?
Faker: To be honest, I’d say Sylas has an upper ground in terms of the lane phase. Also, the stadium was very cold, especially during game one. I think that had an impact on me. However, from game two, I started to have an easier time.
You’d say the stadium is too cold?
kkOma: To be honest, all the players discussed that their hands were cold today. There was a bit of that.
Faker: Maybe it was the rain, it was kinda cold today.
Well, you’ve overcome a big mountain today — you have defeated Griffin, a formidable opponent. Now that’s over, is there any other match that you are wary of in the near future?
kkOma: I don’t think there is a single upcoming match that we feel comfortable about. Every single remaining team is a formidable opponent, so we can lose at a moment of complacency. Who’d have thought that we’d go on a 5-match losing streak at the beginning of the summer split?
So we have to remember the time the team was at a bad spot. We must think about where we lack and experiment even further, while we are on a good run. I’m not allowing myself to breathe that sigh of relief. The moment you let that creep into your mind, you can fall into a hole straight again. There is the summer split, but you must set your eyes further, all the way to the regional qualifiers. Now is the time to continue running, your eyes on the horizon.
In other regions, teams have been drafting top or mid lane Tristana to counter meta picks such as Neeko and Karma. Faker, will we ever see lane Tristana in the LCK?.
Faker: I play Tristana a lot on stream, so I believe they were inspired by my footages. [laughs] Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, by the way. Anyway … We are very open-minded about our drafts. So if there is a situation for it, I will draft a [lane Tristana].
Thank you for this interview. What are your resolutions, going forward?
Faker: There isn’t a single match that we believe will be easy. At the time of the victory against Gen.G, I said, this is the beginning. But this time, this is the beginning for real. I will try my best to collect many victories from here.
kkOma: This is something that I’m extremely satisfied with when I look over to my players. At every match, we are growing — as a team where any lane has a carry potential. I’d like to thank the coaching staff and the players for this growth. Also, if every lane becomes a carry lane, other teams might feel pressured about playing against us. Like this, we want to continue growing as individual players, growing as a team, and show this growth to our fans.