Griffin Viper on losing against KT: “I actually felt like the sky was crashing down on me.”

Griffin continued their LCK dominance with their decisive 2:0 victory against Afreeca Freecs. Many fans tuned into the match, to see which team would come out victorious in the matchup of two teams at the top of LCK rankings; Afreeca Freecs who represented LCK in Rift Rivals and Griffin who went on an 8-0 match win streak until their loss against KT Rolster.

We interviewed Viper, the priodgy dubbed “The next coming of Faker” to discuss how the loss against KT Rolster affected him, his champion pool and his determination to see Griffin in 2018 World Championships.

First, congratulations on your win against Afreeca Freecs. How do you feel about the victory?

I was relieved about the win, and the match made me eager to start preparing hard for the next match.

In which way did you feel you had to prepare harder for the upcoming matches?

In my mechanics as an individual; in the team-wide macro, in our ability to shotcall between the teammates.

Can you elaborate on improvements in shotcalling?

During the games, we sometimes seem to get carried away by our emotions. That causes us to be distracted in out shotcalls, makes us lose focus. Someone would give a strong shotcall, but the rest of us would not hear it. This is something I believe we can improve on.

Griffin is renowned for its teamfights. In another interview, Sword has mentioned that Griffin as a team almost makes no verbal communications during teamfights. That the communications are almost “telepathic”.

It’s a simple thing. Before the teamfight begins, we quickly communicate how we will go with the teamfight, which member will initiate the teamfight. During the actual teamfight, everyone’s too focused to speak. Even when someone speaks, it doesn’t register with the rest of the teammates. We’ll communicate at the beginning of the teamfights, and also at the end of it, quickly agreeing on how we will tie the fight up.

You’ve played for the first time since your loss against KT Rolster, when Griffin’s 8-0 match win streak was broken. How did you feel after the loss, and what feedbacks were shared within the team?

(After the loss against KT) I actually felt as if the sky was crashing down on me. We…well. We had to win all games. We were actually determined to win Summer Split without losing a single match, and had worked so hard to make that a reality. (After the loss) We realized that we had been overlooking so many things.

As a team, we tried to prepare for the next match, maybe feel refreshed, but I…I was so furious. Everyone would be different on this, but I hate to lose. I get so annoyed, so frustrated. You can no longer grow if you are not frustrated by your losses.

There’s an interesting story…

Sure, let’s hear it.

This is a story coach cvMax always tells us. LCK is a competition, right? He always compares LCK as a fight between gladiators in the Colosseum. For Roman gladiators, when they lose a match there there isn’t another match after that. There is no second chance. If you play every match with a mindset like that, then maybe we won’t ever lose.

This is a story from coach cvMax of Griffin, yes?

Yes, play every game like it’s our last game.

Viper receives MVP for his performance in Vladimir against Afreeca Freecs. Image Source: OGN/Twitch

You’ve played Vladimir in both matches against Afreeca Freecs. The consensus is that Vladimir has gone down a tier as an ADC pick. Viper, you’ve shown good performance in Vladimir in the match against Afreeca Freecs. Would you still rate Vladimir highly in the ADC position?

Because Vladimir is not a champion traditionally sent to the ADC position, the opponent team cannot help but pay extra attention to it when it is picked. Vladimir can go bot, mid or even top. It is a mind game, and the advantages of playing this mind game has been proven statistically. While the opponent team is deciding whether they should play a mage or a marksman against Vladimir, the pick and ban counter is ticking away.

Also, Vladimir is good against most match-ups. It’s a very balanced champion. I’d personally say that Vladimir is overbalanced.

In terms of his versatility?

Yeah. Vladimir can be played in a lot of different ways, and can adapt to whatever draft that the opponent team has brought to the table. If the opponent team leaves a but a gap in their draft, Vladimir can really fly off. I’d say Vladimir a really good pick. There are so many different possible ways for him to be played, he simply can’t be dismissed by the enemy team.

You don’t just have a large champion pool, but you seem competent in every champion you play, too. Can you tell us more about this?

The more you play League, the more champions you try out, you get to experience more things. It’s something that happens naturally if you enjoy playing the game. I was never a person who would spam a single champion. Whenever I’m practicing a champion, I’d quickly want to try another champion out. This makes me dabble in different champions.

Have you tried the Aatrox with the remake?

Yes, I have.

Would we be able to see you play ADC Aatrox?

I’m…not sure. Aatrox is certainly powerful, as a champion in itself. However he’s also a bit slow. The way his skills work, he feels “heavy” in the hands…

I think the bot lane is really a dance of mechanical prowess. Because it’s a 2v2 match, if either of the lane but make a wrong step, the whole balance breaks down. In that kind of an environment, Aatrox might work against some champions, but not so well against other champions.

I’ve been hearing stories of you practicing Pyke ADC in Solo Q.

These stories are true.

Were you merely experimenting?

Everything that I play in Solo Q, I play because I believe it’s a good pick as an ADC. I wouldn’t just play a Shaco ADC…I’m not saying Shaco is bad, but I’m discussing whether Shaco can be good in the bot lane.

Given that the meta is such, the more champion you know how to play, the higher advantage you have during the drafts. If you practice on a champion before anyone else, research on the strengths and weaknesses of the champion, the champion’s power spikes…it just makes everything easier. So whenever I get an idea (For a new pick) I jump on it immediately.

No one now questions that Griffin’s final goal is Worlds, or the possibility of it. You have a difficult schedule ahead of you. (GRF will next be going against GEN, AFS, HLE, KT in KZ.) Do you have any special resolution for the coming two weeks?

I haven’t considered it that way, that the coming weeks are any more difficult than any other ones. For me, every match is precious, and I’ve played every game giving my absolute best. All my games were difficult, all my games were my good games. I’ve taken lessons out of every game whether they ended at a loss or a win. If I play the remaining matches in the same mindset, perhaps we will finally achieve our goals.


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