TCL’s Papara SuperMassive took down LEC’s #4 seed, MAD Lions in the elimination round of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship. Behind the players on stage, as the mastermind of the team, stood SuperMassive's former mid laner and current coach, Lee “GBM” Chang-seok. Even before the elimination phase began, GBM was confident that his team had the upper hand against MAD Lions, and now he has the win to prove it.
After the matches today, GBM joined Inven Global for a post-game interview.
Congrats on today’s victory! How do you feel?
We still have another match, so we need to stay concentrated, but I’m really happy that we’ve overcome such a big obstacle.
This was TCL’s first best-of victory over a major region. Was everything “just as planned”?
[Laughs] I thought we had the upper hand against MAD Lions so I was confident with the picks and bans. I saw from previous matches that MAD Lions had a weakness in their champion pool so I thought it would be easy if we focused our strategy towards that.
I saw that video from GBM TV. Speaking of picks and bans, doubts and praises co-exist regarding your draft. What do you focus on the most when you draft?
You’re talking about Ornn, right? [Laughs] I said let’s ban him. The team’s opinion was… Well, I said that it’s alright to let Ornn through, but we would need to play against him with “this”. Anyways, I didn’t want to give them Ornn.
That actually resolves one of the biggest questions from the fans.
That was one of the biggest issues between us. I can’t tell you in detail now, but when I get back to Korea, I’ll try to make a Youtube video to explain everything.
You picked Malphite in the last game. It seems Malphite’s tier has gone up a lot recently. How is he?
Malphite is a great pick if the situation is right. Our top laner, Armut, is really good and he’s been playing out of his mind lately. We had 100% faith in him, so we were able to play that. It was prepared, though. That game could have been our last game of Worlds, so I told him, “I trust you. Bring out a pick that you think is best for our team”.
You’ve been to the Worlds stage as a player before, but this time, you're attending as a coach. What's the difference?
It's more fun as a player. You play the game yourself, so you can enjoy the battles, feeling that catharsis of ripping away your enemies’ flesh. On the other hand, as a coach, it’s like being Zhuge Liang. I sit behind everyone and feel proud when things happen as I anticipated.
Obviously, there’s more responsibility. There are many things that I request from the players regarding picks and bans or strategies. If those strategies fail, I have to take responsibility, but if they win, the satisfaction from that is completely different.
"I don’t think there are that many players in the world that could follow my lead as he did. Armut sacrificed so much for the team"
Back when you were at Worlds as a player, Zeitnot and SnowFlower were there, and they’re here again now. Comparing the current SuperMassive to the SuperMassive of 2018, which do you think is stronger?
[Thinks for a while] It’s a really hard question. I think back then, we were a bit stronger. We were more solid. Right now, we have many weaknesses. It’s just fortunate that our opponents weren’t able to attack them. [Laughs]
Whose role was the biggest in getting SuperMassive to this point?
If I had to pick just one person, I’d say our top laner, Armut. I've asked him to do so many things over the past three to four months. I tried to help him so that he can grow and improve. I don’t think there are that many players in the world that could follow my lead as he did. Armut sacrificed so much for the team and he improved a lot. Thanks to him, we were able to make it here. I give feedback to the solo laners the most, so they improved the most.
You spoke about the mindset in an interview with Park Jee-sun. You said that if you win, you’re happy because you win; if you lose, you’re happy because you get to go home. Could you explain a bit more about the mindset of the team?
Whether we win or lose, we’ll do our best. If we win, it’s good, but if we lose, we can go home and rest comfortably. We don't have any regrets, since we did our best. It could be our last match so we should play or do drafts without regrets.
One of the hardest parts was sharing opinions with our mid laner, Bolulu. Whoever made the pick, we had different thoughts. Later on, I told him, “This is your first Worlds stage, so I don’t want you to regret it because of me. I hope you make a choice that you wouldn't regret. If you leave it up to me, I’ll do my best, and if you have a pick that you want to play, tell me right away”.
One such pick was today’s Zoe in game 2. If it were up to me, I wouldn't want to give him Zoe against Ornn. It was his pick. On the other hand, he played Sett in the last game. Bolulu didn’t want to play him, but I asked him to trust me and play Sett, as I thought we could win through the priority in bot lane in Caitlyn-Morgana.
What do you think about the phrase “the gap is closing”? You won against a major region in a best-of series today.
It's because of the current meta. The minion gold has shrunk a lot compared to the old days and it’s more focused on teamfights. Unless the opponents are really a perfect team, I think any team is beatable. The team that has prepared a better draft and the team that is more concentrated has a good chance to win. I agree that the gap is closing, but more than that, I think it’s because of the meta.
Unicorns of Love is waiting for you in the next round. They also have a unique draft style. Are you ready to face them?
There’s a core pick in Unicorns of Love. I have "big data" that I’ve accumulated during scrims, so I’m confident.
If you were to reach the group stage, which group would you want to be in?
If there’s at least a 1% possibility, I would say that I want group A or C. However, with our current prowess, we’ve already used a lot of chances. If I could choose, I’d choose group B and have an honorable death. [Laughs]
Any last comments?
Please like and subscribe GBM TV. I’ll do my best to reach the group stage so that I wouldn’t disappoint the fans that have been cheering for us.