On the 20th (KST), Afreeca Freecs defeated kt Rolster 2-1 in the 2020 League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) Summer Split, and secured the last ticket to the playoffs. It was an extremely fierce match, where the two teams fought until the very end. In the longest game of the season, Afreeca Freecs succeeded to destroy kt Rolster’s Nexus and secured the last spot of the playoffs. Head coach Choi “iloveoov” Yun-sung was grateful but not fully satisfied of the results Afreeca Freecs had this season. After the match, he joined the press room for an interview.
How do you feel reaching the playoffs?
I feel good. Every person has a different expectation, but personally, I’m not quite as satisfied with just reaching the playoffs. There may be teams whose goal is to get to the playoffs, but I’m not as thrilled of the fact that we’re a playoffs team.
What was your goal for the season?
The top teams have top-level feedback. I envy them for that. They’re at a state where they don’t need to mention the basics to do those things.
Then you wouldn’t have been too satisfied with today’s match. What was difficult about playing against them today?
I thought Kuro is a great player. When I saw him start today, I thought kt Rolster really wanted to win today. There are endless things to comment on what we lacked today. If we were to have a high threshold, we could fixate on the smallest things. If it’s low, I could say that our performance and teamwork was alright.
Over the season, many Afreeca Freecs players mentioned that they had the mindset of ‘not losing to lower teams’.
Obviously, teams that aim to reach worlds shouldn’t ever lose to comparably lower teams. That’s like a precondition. What’s next is that they have to decide what kind of strategy they want to use to take down comparably higher teams. Since it’s important to ‘not lose’, the LCK tends to play not to lose, instead of playing to win. That may be why some fans say that the LCK is like stagnant water.
What I hope is that everyone plays thinking of the big picture. I’m well aware there’s a gap between what’s ideal and reality. Obviously, we wanted to beat the teams that we can win against, and we’ve been doing so.
You’ll be heading into the playoffs now, where there are only comparably stronger teams. What would you focus on when leading the team?
According to the data, we lost to the stronger teams when we played conventionally. In this situation, there are two strategies. Either we should higher the level of play of when we play conventionally or prepare a specific strategy for the teams we’ll meet. We’ll be choosing what suits us best.
Between the playoffs and the regional qualifiers, which tournament will you be focusing on more?
It won’t be easy for us even if we were to concentrate and give our all every match, so we’ll always be doing our best. I think it’s important to give our 100% in the matches that are in front of us. Even if our performance is rather pitiful, if it’s our best, we wouldn’t be disregarded.
Between Gen.G and T1, which team would you prefer to face in the first round of the playoffs?
T1 is the spring season champions. They’re maintaining a good condition regarding their performance. Gen.G is also a team that we’d like to beat. I don’t think it matters which team we want to face. They’re both very strong teams. It’s just that they’re styles are different. Whichever team we were to face, even if we were to beat them, it’s not that we would win against the other. There’s no advantage against T1 or Gen.G, so we’ll just be doing our best in whatever situation we are given.
Any last comments?
There was something I wanted to say for a while. I didn't have the chance since I don't do many interviews... There’s a part of this scene that I really want to go away. Whichever scene it is, there’s a “fan culture”. The LoL esports scene will grow more in the future.
When a team rebuilds, there are fans that actually curse the team over the whole year if the player composition doesn’t satisfy them. Obviously, it would be good for the team if they could bring in the best player or coaching staff, but the environment or situation is always different for all teams.
If a contract is signed for one year, whether you like it or not, they’re family. So I think fans should trust whoever that’s signed for at least that year. I understand that they want their players to get less criticism and more praise, but the negative reactions affect the players more than you think.
I hope that fans trust the players until the results come out. I see too many players that get hurt from the negative reactions. I hope that this scene can get a positive cycle in that regard.
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