On March 21st, Griffin ended their losing streak and returned to their winning ways by defeating Hanwha Life Esports with a 2-0 match score. Griffin’s performance on this day was a return to dominance that the audience has come to expect from the team. In game one, Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong drafted Jarvan IV and destroyed the enemy lanes in the early game. Whereas Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon triumphed in game two with his Ryze, reaching level 18 when the opposition support was still at level 11.
Below is the press conference interview with Griffin’s Choi “Sword” Sung-won after the team victory over HLE.
Congratulations on your victory! How do you feel?
Sword: I am happy that we could end our losing streak. I feel relieved from a heavy burden [on my shoulders].
Speaking of the losing streak, why do you think it happened? Also, opposing teams seem to target you and focus on bringing the top lane down. How did you overcome the situation?
Sword: Yes, many teams focused on attacking me and it really hurt my confidence. I couldn’t perform as well as I did in practice games. I think my low confidence played a major part in [Griffin’s underperformance]. I’m getting much better now after my teammates and fans expressed their firm confidence in me. I’m still in the process of recovering, but I really appreciate the support and it’s helping me get better.
Today Griffin was not hesitant to initiate fights, whether it be skirmishes or all-out teamfights. How did you personally prepare your laning phase against Park “Thal” Kwon-hyuk who is known as a fairly aggressive laner?
Sword: I took a more reserved approach and wanted to go 50-50 rather than trying to win the lane. I was in bad form these recent matches, so my main focus, more than anything else, was not losing the lane.
You seem much more relieved after the win.
Sword: Yes, I was under a lot of stress because my low confidence was having a negative impact on my performance. It could’ve been a lot worse though, the support I got from my teammates and the fans helped a lot.
The “magic number”, the number of series wins you need in order to qualify for the finals, has come down to two. The team’s pace towards that goal slowed a lot after last week. Were there any internal discussions within the team about this subject?
Sword: Coach cvMax told us not to obsess over magic numbers or the [number of] victories. He said that it’s okay for us to lose, as long as we play our game and each of us does our part. “Victory will follow when the right opportunity comes,” he said.
Thal drafted Yorick in both games, notably blind picking it in the first game. What do you think about that specific draft?
Sword: I didn’t expect him to blind pick Yorick. I guess they were trying to deny a champion from my champion pool. We were calm and reacted accordingly, and we won.
Usually, Griffin is a team that excels in initiating teamfights on favorable terms, knowing when you outnumber the opponent. Last week, however, the team was being picked out by the opposition and forced into fights while being outnumbered. Why do you think this happened? Was it your [top lane’s] problem?
Sword: I think it was. I displayed some weaknesses and gave the opposition a chance to exploit them. This created a dent in our team plan and snowballed into our team, which forced us into making hasty choices and eventually losing fights.
If the problem was about you, what do you think the issue was? Was it the meta that troubled you?
Sword: To a certain point, I believe so. We always knew that the top lane meta would be favorable for “dueler” champions. However, the change came much more quickly than I expected and I wasn’t prepared enough.
In the end, did the 2-game losing streak prove to be a “bitter but good medicine”
for you and your team?
Sword: Yes. During the two losses, I realized that I had to work harder on the meta, and it pushed me to practice more.
Was drafting aggressive champions such as Jax and Jayce a result of your restored confidence?
Sword: I don’t think that I’m still 100% confident in my play, but at least I tried to draft a pick that was aggressive and would look confident.
Do you have any last words for your fans?
Sword: I have no doubt that the support of the fans gave me the strength to overcome my recent dip of confidence. It really helped. I think I can bounce back soon.