On March 22nd, SK Telecom T1 triumphed over SANDBOX Gaming with a 2-0 match score and firmly set foot on their 2nd place in the 2019 LCK Spring split standings. Park “Teddy” Jin-seong shined in game one with Xayah, with Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk starring in game two through Lissandra.
Below is the press conference interview with SKT T1’s Kim “Khan” Dong-ha after the team’s victory.
You’ve won a very important match. Today’s victory was essential for you to secure a second place finish in the LCK spring split. How are you feeling?
Khan: We knew that today would be important. If we lost, we could have potentially dropped to the fourth place, while winning would solidify our second place. We prepared a lot for today’s match, and I am happy that our preparations paid off.
SKT lost to SANDBOX Gaming in the first round of the spring split. Did it feel sweet to get revenge?
Khan: Our team’s goal for the second round of the spring split was to put up a better performance against teams we lost to in round one. We did lose against Griffin, but we improved [in that match] compared to the first time we played against them. Today, not only did we play better than round one, but we won the match as well. I was very happy that we could achieve the team’s long-term objectives.
How was your match-up against Park “Summit” Woo-tae?
Khan: I was a bit nervous before coming into the match, I think Summit is a decent top laner and my performance wasn’t good when I last played against him. I am satisfied with my performance in the top lane against Summit today, and it gives me confidence.
During the first round of the spring split, the top lane meta leaned towards tank champions such as Urgot, so you didn’t really have a chance to stand out. Now that the meta is more favorable to aggressive champions, do you think you have an advantage over other top laners?
Khan: I think that the patch and the meta aren’t really that important. Even during the first round, I often drafted aggressive champions. It was my performance that wasn’t good, not the champions I picked. Recently, however, I am on point with my performances. If I were to travel back in time and go back to the first round, I think I would play better even with these aggressive picks that were considered off-meta back then.
You now have to go against Heo “Lindarang” Man-heung of Jin Air Greenwings and Kim “Kiin” Gi-in of Afreeca Freecs. How do you think the top lane match-up for these matches will go?
Khan: I agree that Lindarang and Kiin are really good top laners. However, today I’ve already displayed a good performance against Summit, a top tier top laner. So as long as I don’t mess up, I am confident that I can stand up to that challenge.
SKT T1 has been looking very solid lately. What is the secret behind the team’s inspiring recent performances?
Khan: I don’t know about my teammates, but for me, it was really crucial that I wasn’t nervous anymore. I also think that my mindset has changed.
Mindset? Can you elaborate?
Khan: I think I had been playing with too many thoughts in my head. For example, when I push the lane I would be worried and afraid that the enemy jungler might intervene, making me unable to fully dominate a match-up that I would be expected to dominate. Coming into the second round, however, I just started playing my own game, which led to much better results.
Urgot and Kayle have been prominent in the Korean ladder after Patch 9.6 kicked in. Do you see yourself playing these champions sometime in the near future?
Khan: In my current form, I think I am able to win any top lane matchup on any champion, regardless of the meta. But to answer your question, I think Urgot is better in the jungle than at top lane, and Kayle needs more research.
Thank you for the interview. Do you have any final words before we conclude the press conference?
Khan: We’re already heading towards the end of the split, even though I feel as if the split kicked off a few days ago. Our team dropped two matches each in the first round and the second round of the spring split. On paper, we lost the same number of matches. However, I think we as a team improved so much between the two rounds and that’s the important part. I will work hard so that we can delight the fans with even better performances. I am grateful for their endless support.