Afreeca Freecs continued their Playoffs climb with their 3:1 victory against Kingzone DragonX. Since the current iteration of Kingzone’s roster formed in 2018 summer, Afreeca has lost seven consecutive matches against the reigning LCK Champions.
After the match, we interviewed AFS Kramer who discussed his joy at finally defeating his team’s kryptonite, Kingzone; how his month-long time away from Afreeca’s playing roster mentally challenged him; and how he saw Afreeca’s next match against Griffin as a clash between young and old.
Congratulations on your win today! How does it feel to come out victorious in today’s match against Kingzone DragonX?
Kramer: Today is the Independence Day for Korea. It indeed felt like we were liberated from Kingzone DragonX.
Afreeca Freecs never had a good track record against Kingzone DragonX. Were you worried about this, and how did you overcome it? What kind of mindset did you hold as you came into the match today?
Kramer: There were some concerns and anxiety. But even if we lose, the worst thing that could have happened is to be eliminated from Playoffs, right? Then we began to practise, the (scrim) results were good and we began thinking that maybe we could beat Kingzone…So I wasn’t too worried (for the match today)
Afreeca went against Kingzone 5 times this year, and every time Kingzone came out of the match victorious. What has changed for the team?
Kramer: The performances of the individual players have gone up, and we’ve become better at understanding the game as a team. We’ve definitely improved since Spring Split, and this is why I believe we’ve won (Against Kingzone)
During the regular season, there was a period where Aiming was the starter for Afreeca Freecs. What was it like for you during that period? How did it feel to make a return to the playing roster?
Kramer: You could say that I lost my place as a starter in Afreeca Freecs. To be honest, I did have a lot of mixed emotions during that period. “How much longer could I survive as a professional gamer? Now all the young blood are making their breakthroughs”, I thought. I wasn’t playing any matches, I felt like I was done as a professional gamer.
Kramer: When I finally came back (to the starting roster), my coaching staff told me good qualities about me. They listed specific advantages that I have (as a player). When I was given these feedbacks, I began to believe that I’m maybe not done as a professional gamer, I still have these good qualities. I began to focus on honing these good qualities that I have (as a player).
Kramer: This was during that game against Jin Air Greenwings. I was sweating out of my mind for that match, I was playing was after a month-long hiatus. However that match (against JAG) turned out to be great, and I thought to myself – “Hey, I’m still good”. From that moment on, I started building my confidence again, recover my sense of self-worth.
On Saturday, you’ll be facing Griffin for a spot in Finals. Griffin is the team of “super-rookies” while Afreeca Freecs is a team of veterans from multiple regions, such as yourself. What are your resolutions as you look to take down Griffin?
Kramer: There is a strength to younger players, but experiences of senior players are also something to be feared. I think we have to gain a higher ground over Griffin through our experiences. Our team will also practise with an emphasis (on using it as an advantage). Analyse what strengths Griffin has as a team, then explore ways on how to suppress Griffin’s strengths.
Griffin’s bot lane, Viper and Lehends, has been drawing attention recently. Viper is thought to be the prodigy who can play any champion well. What are your expectations around going against Viper and Lehends?
Kramer: I’ve followed Griffin’s matches myself, and…I’ll give you my honest opinion. I do agree that Viper can play any champion well, but I don’t think he’s a top-tier. He’s good at all champions, but when it boils down to a standard, traditional match-up I’m just as good as Viper.
Kramer: This is the difference between a rookie and an older (Laughs) player. A rookie would have a proficiency over a larger champion pool, but a veteran would know how to perform better in a clutch situation.
Again, congratulations on the victory against Kingzone today. Any final words on resolutions for winning LCK and qualifying for Worlds?
Kramer: It’s not over yet, but…I think the teams above (at higher placements of Playoffs) would have watched today and maybe felt some terror. We, as a team, will try even harder, tooth and nail, to become better and perfect our performance even further. We’ll work our absolute hardest to climb to LCK Finals and qualify for Worlds. Thank you.