PapaSmithy and Atlus’s predictions on LCK finals and Griffin’s meteoric debut

Photo credit: Kenzi/Twitter@kenzi131

This is Part 1 of the two-part interview with PapaSmithy and Atlus on LCK Summer Split.

  • Part 1: LCK Summer Split Finals Predictions
  • Part 2: Asian Games 2018, SKT and Kingzone

Let’s get straight to the point. What’s your prediction on KT Rolster vs Griffin finals?

Atlus: I like to do predictions with my gut. For me, I feel like it’s KT Rolster; that’s what my bones are telling me. I’m predicting KT 3-1. That being said, there are a lot of things pointing away from that.

I want to add that I like to talk about match-ups based on what we already know. Yes, things could be happening in scrims and solo Q (Note: Griffin players have multiple accounts in Korean solo Q top 10) but these are not hard evidences of what’s going to happen in Incheon. The hard evidence is that KT has a 4-1 record against GRF. They were always able to get the better of Griffin even when Griffin looked unstoppable.

That being said, who knows what will happen? (Laughs) KT Rolster have been to a lot of finals, but they haven’t necessarily won all of them.

PapaSmithy: This season has been the most unique season I’ve been involved in. This is my 7th season as a caster. There are many different variables to consider. On paper, KT has a better match record against Griffin. Griffin like to play the late game while KT is very good in the early game and it’s a play style mismatch for Griffin. That said, this season has been about taking that piece of paper and putting it in the fire.

There are so many mitigating factors (while making predictions for the finals). There has been a three-week break; during that time there have been Asian Games as well as some action around the world, and the meta has changed. Also, the finals will be played in patch 8.15 while other regions are playing 8.16 and the solo Q is being played in patch 8.17. I truly believe that in the finals we will see a lot of new picks from solo Q even though solo Q is two patches removed because players are used to playing and practising these new picks. The finals will be a one-day meta where it’s a mixture of metas from Asian Games, other countries as well as solo Q games.

That already makes prediction really hard. Then there are other things that suit Griffin; Griffin didn’t have to send anyone to Asian Games while KT Rolster would have scrimmed with Rush instead of Score. Then you factor in how well Griffin players have been playing in solo Q. One of the big reasons why I thought KT would beat Griffin is because Deft and Mata would be better in lane, but just looking at how good Viper and Lehends are looking in solo Q- people think they are in peak form right now – and that wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have three weeks off.

Trying to give you a number based on all of these factors is so difficult. If you ask me today how many times KT Rolster would win the finals if finals were played 100 times, I think KT will win 54 times out of 100. I’m slightly more confident that KT wins, but I’m so excited to find out through reality.

Griffin truly had an amazing run this split…

Atlus: Fantastic, even. (Laughs)

PapaSmithy: OGN style.

Griffin truly had a fantastic run this split. How do you perceive this extraordinary journey of the rookie team, that rose from Challengers to the LCK finals in a single split? 

Atlus: It’s extraordinary. It’s one of these things that are really hard to quantify in mind because this sort of run hasn’t happened before. For a team to make this amount of impact in a league is unprecedented.

The team has never been to the LCK finals before. They haven’t done anything outside the year of 2018, and we don’t know what the ceiling is for this new team. This team has been aiming for Worlds even when there wasn’t LCK; we thought this was ridiculous, but that might really be the fate for Griffin.

PapaSmithy: Whenever someone talks about Griffin’s run this split, it feels like we’re living in an anime story or a book. It’s something that should not be possible in LCK in terms of the scene’s strength, and in 2018 when the League of Legends scene is so much more mature. I think that Griffin’s story is much more remarkable compared to the stories of Cloud9 or SKT T1 in 2013; in 2018 it should just be impossible.

Griffin is the team with 6 rookies and a rookie coach without a good infrastructure. We were all waiting for them to fall, whether that was in the Challengers, or when they just qualified for LCK, or the second round-robin when they went 5-4 and were found to be mortal.

We forget that in this grand final we have two teams with the identical record. Griffin and KT Rolster both have the same amount of match wins and match record. Actually, there’s not much to separate the two teams based on their performance in the regular season. So we should not be surprised that there’s almost nothing to separate them in the finals either.

Whatever the result in the final, I think Griffin’s rise to the final and potentially winning it is the most unlikely thing that happened in the history of League of Legends by far. It’s something that people should make movies and books about.

Atlus: The story of Griffin this year has been where their ceiling is. It’s absolutely ludicrous that we don’t know for sure that we’ve found the ceiling (for Griffin) as we head into the LCK finals. All the story from the scrims and the solo Q is that all the players in Griffin are playing out of their minds, and Griffin still has a high chance of winning LCK finals. What’s after that? Where is the ceiling if Griffin does qualify for Worlds? Then do we go into the Group Stages of Worlds and wait to find out whether Griffin can beat China? Where does it stop?

It’s impossible to find a context to describe the meteoric rise of Griffin, as there’s nothing to compare to it in the history of League of Legends. This is exactly PapaSmithy has been alluding to. I find it hard to get my head around to it.

Photo Credit: Kenzi/Twitter@kenzi131

What do you think about the rollercoaster team of KT Rolster and their surge to dominance in the latter half of Summer Split?

PapaSmithy: I think we’re for sure seeing the best version of the promise of the super-team that KT Rolster first made two years ago. KT Rolster in 2017 was defined by their mistakes; everyone taking turns in making critical mistakes really held them back and they could never fulfil the promise. In the second part of the Summer Split, especially after Rift Rivals, KT really started to deliver on this promise, and you realized that they were really selected to be the best possible team, constructed to be this amazing force.

I truly believe that they might have the best top laner, jungler and support of all time player on their team. How could they not be the best team in the world? It’s only the second round-robin of Summer where we finally see everything falling into places. The mistakes drawn to the minimum, and mostly everyone delivering; Smeb carrying the game on Kennen; Score denying every jungle camp; Mata winning the game with an amazing engage.

Atlus: The juxtaposition of KT vs GRF is so beautiful. When it comes to Griffin, we are asking where the team’s ceiling is. With KT, we know what the ceiling is; that on their best day they are the best team in the world. You watch KT winning an early game and wonder how this team ever lose – but they lose a lot, to teams that they should have not lost to. It’s that inconsistency that has always held them back, but no one ever questioned how good KT CAN be.

KT Rolster could come into the day and absolutely smash Griffin. There is a higher chance then there should be of KT 3-0’ing this final and make it look silly.

PapaSmithy: You say the word “should” a lot, Atlus. This is 2018 Summer. Which of the “shoulds” do you think actually happened this year? Almost none.

Interview continued in Part 2 (Coming Soon)

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