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SKT kkOma: “Faker has stayed as a top mid laner for such an extended time. He would be under unimaginable pressure and stress to maintain himself on this summit, to a level that people simply cannot comprehend. Yet, he overcomes it and always does his best. For this, I’d like to thank Faker.”

kkOma and Faker, at a press conference at 25th of August. Image Source: Ashley Kang for Korizon

On 25th of August, KST, SK Telecom T1 defeated DAMWON Gaming on a 3-0 match score and qualified to the 2019 LCK summer split finals.

After the victory, the press room interviewed coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun and mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.


Congratulations on qualifying to the 2019 LCK summer split finals. We’d like to ask how you are feeling.

kkOma: This has been the case since the beginning of the playoffs; this has been the case even during our losing streak. There has not been a single moment when the players did not work hard. They worked so hard, yet there was a period when this effort didn’t yield results. My heart hurt, not sure how to describe it.

I believe that we were able to qualify to the finals like this because the players, the coaching staff and everyone worked harder compared to the other teams. I’d like to thank every single player on the team.

Today is a joyful day. We have qualified to the LCK finals and 2019 Worlds through today’s result. I’m beyond myself.

Faker: I expected today to be a difficult one. However, our team had a better performance than I had expected. At the time of the beginning of the playoffs, I thought that we would have to put in a lot of effort to get to the finals. Then, to qualify to the finals in this manner … It’s refreshing.

SKT had a one-sided victory on both of the playoffs matches — Excluding the wildcard match, of course. kkOma, did the performance of your team meet your expectations?

kkOma: Yes. It’s true that the players and the staff put in immense work into preparations. It’s also true that the performance has gone up. However, we must not focus on the match score, the fact we had two 3-0 victories. We must instead focus on how we could win the finals, shift our attention towards that direction.

Image Source: Riot Korea

 

Faker, you have picked yet another new champion today. You have been playing a different champion for almost every game in the playoffs. Has this been on purpose or in coincidence?

Faker: It wasn’t on purpose. I guess that the situation called me to play a variety of champions. Also, the meta has changed, and we went into the matches with a mindset that we are experimenting with different drafts. I believe that is why we ended up preparing such a variety of champions.

How was it, Faker, going against ShowMaker?

Faker: ShowMaker had shown good performance throughout the regular split. However, I was aware of ShowMaker’s playstyle as we made preparations for the playoffs. Also, SKT chose an aggressive, in-your-face playstyle and I guess that really worked. 

SKT will soon face Griffin at the LCK finals. This is a repeat of the spring split finals. How do you expect the finals to unfold? Both teams have already qualified for worlds, and perhaps the teams will put on less effort.

kkOma: Every championship you hold up is a new line on your career. I’m not even thinking about the fact we are going to worlds. I would like to win the summer split, win our 8th LCK title. It’s a line that I’m eager to write [on my career].

kkOma, Faker – You have been together for seven years. You have gone to five World Championship during this time. How does this make you feel?

kkOma: Whenever I look at Faker, I am filled with gratitude. Faker has stayed as a top mid laner for such an extended time. He would be under unimaginable pressure and stress to maintain himself on that summit, to a level that people simply cannot comprehend. Yet, he overcomes it and always shows us the best. For this, I’d like to thank Faker.

Faker: I don’t feel there’s a big difference, from when I had first started to now. I am working just as hard as I did when I first started, I guess that is a good thing. And …

When you have just told me that this will be my 5th Worlds appearance, I was reminded that I didn’t get to win Worlds the last time [at 2017 Worlds], and I feel regretful. To win this Worlds will give me immense happiness. So I will prepare for the Worlds with the best of my abilities.

Faker, what are your resolutions for going against Griffin?

Faker: I believe that we did not have a perfect performance throughout the playoffs. We will hone ourselves even harder for the finals. I hope we get a good result for the finals, just like we did throughout the playoffs.

kkOma, Is there any particular area that you are regretful about, heading into the finals? Anything that you believe the team could improve upon?

kkOma: I don’t have much on our performance. However … All of the ten players on our roster have been pouring themselves into the match preparations, and I’m regretful and apologetic that some of them haven’t got to have stage time. They are helping the team immensely behind the scene, and I’m regretful of that as the coach of the team. Because in the end, we must have the victory as the highest priority, and some players will get to play while others not. That fills me with regret. I’d like to add that the coaching staff also have been working immensely hard.

Image Source: Riot Korea

Thank you for the interview. Any final words you’d like to add?

kkOma: I always repeat myself, but it’s the finals after all, so I’d like to say … Today, the players had a very good performance on the stage. However, I’d like to ask them to push ourselves just a little more and show even better performance at the finals stage. The moment we grow complacent, it is over. If we fall slack because we believe we are on a good momentum … It’s over. I’d say that the most important thing for this finals will be for us to not to grow complacent.

Faker: We had a very volatile performance throughout the split. We don’t know which way the coin will land at the finals. So I will play the finals with a mindset that we could very possibly lose it. I will stay focused, and deliver a good result.

 

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