On the 9th (KST), T1 took down Team Dynamics in day 34 of the 2020 LCK Summer split with a set score of 2-0. Unlike their first match up in round 1, T1 showed dominance that seemingly mimicked their dominance in Spring.
Coach Kim joined Inven Global in an exclusive one on one interview to talk about the match, the two mid laners for T1, the superstar rookie Clozer and the legend, Faker, provided his thoughts on the team's progress, and ended the interview with his thoughts on the unhealthy esports fan culture that exists within the community.
Congratulations on the victory. How does it feel to get your revenge for the loss in round 1 against DYN?
We really didn’t think of it as getting revenge (laughter). We just felt that we needed to win no matter what. We’re now on a five-match win streak, and four of those wins were clean 2-0s, so things are looking up for the team.
Did you prepare anything in particular in preparation for the match against DYN?
Nope. Nothing at all (laughter). We just prepared the way we always do.
The Summer split playoffs and Worlds is coming up, and it’s an important time for many of the teams around the world. With T1, some may say that it’s a very bold move to start a rookie in such times. Can you tell us a bit more about your decision in starting Clozer instead of Faker?
There were too many people making in-game calls, and with so many in-game opinions clashing, it actually proved to be detrimental for the team. Since Clozer’s a rookie, his job is to just follow shot calls, and play out the laning phase more aggressively. That’s what’s working for us so far, and our team atmosphere has definitely gotten a lot better.
He’s continuing to win right now, and fans think of him to be very special. However, a lot of that’s inflated, because he still hasn’t played against the top three mids of the LCK yet. I’m still grateful that he’s playing well up to this point.
You stated in our previous conversation that Syndra is a pick that can only be played properly by ShowMaker, yet Syndra was picked for Clozer in game 1. Can you tell us how that came to be?
He had a lot of champions target banned against him. Usually, if someone gets banned out to that extent, you usually don’t want to first pick your champion. However, Clozer told me, “It doesn’t matter if you first pick me Syndra”. I asked him, “Are you sure? They do have Jarvan IV”, and he’s like “It’s okay. I’m confident that I won’t die on Syndra. I just have to play well”. He said all that in full confidence, so I let him play.
In your point of view, how is Clozer different from Faker? How has the team’s playstyle, draft, and it’s atmosphere changed with Clozer starting from the team?
Clozer’s just a rookie, and Faker’s an eight-year veteran that maintained his position at the top, so it’s really hard to compare the two as players. Right now, Faker’s stressed out, and honestly, his form is not at his best. He even struggled when he had few of his champions target banned. He’s practicing really hard at the moment, and he’s doing everything that I told him to do.
We play a lot of in-house scrims, and one thing I can say for sure is that Faker, in no way shape or form, is inferior to Clozer in any way. They’re at around the same level. It’s just that the overall atmosphere is better with Clozer starting right now, so I don’t want to change something that’s working for us right now. Against the top LCK mids, I don’t know who I’m going to start. It’ll all depend on who’s performing better at the time, and I’m very open to subbing the two players in and out.
With Clozer starting, a lot of our in-game calls come from our support-jungle duo. He’s usually not that talkative, even in real life (laughter).
Given the things that Faker’s struggling with right now, did you give him any special homework to work on?
We talked a LOT, but I can’t reveal them in an interview. I can tell you that I scolded him quite a bit, and through it, Faker’s found new motivations to work hard.
In our last interview, you stated that the team’s not playing well at the time. How much did the team improve since then?
We’ve definitely improved since then. At the time, our laners couldn’t even have a proper laning phase. If they can’t even lane, what’s the point of giving them feedback? If you rewatch the games back then, there was no lane kingdom happening from our side, and that was our biggest hurdle. We needed to at least get out of the laning phase to properly play the game, but the reason why there were long and drawn out games was because of our poor laning phase. Since then, not only has the players’ individual performances gone up, but we’re all on the same page in terms of macro, so we’ve definitely improved.
You’ve also chosen the word ‘boldness’ as a keyword for round 2 in our last interview, so has the team been playing boldly?
Yes, I think so. Again, there won’t be a drastic change. It’s impossible to change a playstyle just by telling them a couple of things. There are players where I can tell them to do something hundreds of times, but won’t be able to change. It’s a slow process.
The 10.16 patch has hit the live servers, and Riot stated that it’s a huge patch to prepare for the Summer playoffs around the globe. What are your thoughts on the patch?
I haven’t looked at the patch properly just yet, but I do know that a lot of the champions we use have been nerfed (laughter). In the end, a team that cannot adjust to a new patch is a bad team. It’s an embarrassment for a pro team to underperform because of some nerfs that affect the champion pool. We’ll just need to continue adjusting.
T1’s next opponent is Afreeca Freecs. Which positional matchup do you think will be the point of the match?
Although I haven’t decided who’ll be starting for that match, it’ll definitely have to be the mid lane. While Canna struggled against Kiin for most of the year, I think things will go quite differently this time.
Recently, there’s been a lot of controversy behind unhealthy fan culture in the community. Can you send a message to the fans regarding healthy fan culture?
Both the players and the front office receive a lot of messages, and 80% of those messages are supportive, while the other 20% are those hate messages that are talked about a lot these days. Sometimes, there are messages, where there’s a ghastly picture of a ghost, with red captions that say something like “You fucking die”.
It’s not even about the team’s performance; I even read a message that said something like, “If you don’t start Faker for the match, you can just go kill yourself”. I obviously blocked people like that, but obviously, it doesn’t feel good to receive such messages. Imagine if the players read messages like that. It’s okay to be critical, and even mix some curse words in between, but I hope that people refrain from writing personal attacks, and respect boundaries.
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