On Jan. 16th, day 3 of the 2021 LCK Spring split took place, with DAMWON KIA facing off against T1 in the second match of the day. As the 2020 world champions faced off against arguably the biggest team in LoL Esports, the viewership also came at around 800,000 people (excluding Chinese platforms), uncharacteristic of a regular split match in the LCK.
DAMWON KIA was able to defeat T1 with a set score of 2-1. The ‘Player of the Game’ for game 3 of the series, Heo “ShowMaker” Su, joined Inven Global to talk about the match, their luck against T1, and how he thinks about Katarina in Season 11.
First, how does it feel to take the victory against T1?
I felt that it was more meaningful to come back from a deficit to take the victory tonight.
There must be a lot on your mind in defeating the team that’s led by your former coaching staff. Did you feel like it was just another day at work? Or did the victory feel more special?
Not really. It was more about focusing on our own gameplay, telling ourselves to play at our own pace, and just do what we have to do.
Let’s talk about game 1. What were some of the things that went wrong for the team? Did the team feel as if they still had a chance after Gumayusi’s pentakill, 10 minutes into the game?
We had a specific game plan with our draft, but things didn’t go our way in the early to mid game. We fell behind early, so we took a risky teamfight, but that ended with pentakill for Aphelios. I didn’t even realize until I saw the 5/0/0 score after the teamfight. We’re pro gamers, so while we didn’t just say, ‘go next’, we thought of how we could come back from such a deficit, but ended up falling pretty helplessly.
How did the team mentally gather after the game 1 loss?
After game 1, we rewatched why we lost so hard in that teamfight with the pentakill. We were on the red side for game 2, so we readjusted our draft. The pentakill was an unfortunate situation, but the general consensus was that it was just a hiccup.
When did you feel like you’ve won the game in game 2? Did it come after the baron steal?
In the early-mid game of game 2, we never felt like we were behind, so we just thought to snowball and beat our enemies.
On the LCK Media Day, you had a lot of praise for kkOma, saying that he’s very caring, and just a great person overall. Can you describe what kind of a coach he is to the team?
I can feel how kind kkOma is through conversations with him. He’s also very knowledgeable about the game, so even when I try really hard to think about his cons as a person, I really can’t think of any. If I REALLY had to pick something that I don’t like about him, it’s the fact that he smokes. He’s that close to being a perfect coach.
Outside of the game, what kind of a person is Khan? How is he different from his predecessor, Nuguri?
After Khan got here, I feel that our team’s atmosphere has gotten even brighter than before. He’s very amicable, and he works very hard, so I think that he’s a really good fit into our team.
Did he give you any special veteran advice?
Well… Although he’s older, his mental age drops to our level. We joke around in a very childish way, and I appreciate that part about him.
Coming fresh out of the world championship victory, has the mindset changed coming into the split?
Whatever happened last season happened in 2020, so rather than thinking that we have a throne to defend, we’re playing as if we’re back in square one.
People have been complaining about how versatile Katarina is, especially with her item builds in Season 11. As a well-known Kat main yourself, will there ever be a day that you lock in Kat in a competitive match this year? If not, why does she not work in the current meta?
I always say this about Katarina, but even if I was in a situation where I have no other champion to play but Kat… It’d still be very bad. How should I describe this… Personally, I think it’s right for me to just leave her behind as a distant memory. I played her exactly four times in my competitive career, and looking back on those matches, I really wonder how I won all those matches with Kat.
When you play Kat, you have to rely on the enemy making mistakes. I really don’t like to bother others or cause anyone trouble, but playing her will really annoy my teammates. I don’t even know why I decided to main Katarina. She’s a harmful champion to her team, so you should never play her.
There are so many flaws that she has as a champion, but the biggest one is that you absolutely cannot win lane as Kat. If you somehow won lane as Kat, it’s your enemy playing terribly, not yourself playing well. She has no lane priority, and since the current meta is all about having lane priority to contest Rift Herald and Dragon, Kat sucks. To list some more, she’s really weak to CC, she’s a glass cannon, she has no DPS on Baron, has short range… All these cons make me really wonder why I decided to main her back in the day.
However, she’s a champion that I play out of affection, so I feel bad for my teammates when I play her. Katarina’s a champion that you play to get highlight reels for Youtube montages (laughter).
How would you rate your gameplay tonight against T1?
Hmm… I think it’s really hard to give it a rating for our match tonight, because we were very lucky. Although I feel bad for the T1 fans for saying this but ever since last year, whenever we played T1, whether it’s through comeback victory or whatever, we were always lucky against them.
Next match is against NS RedForce. As it’s the rematch of the KeSPA Cup finals, what’s the key point of the match? Who would you have to watch out for?
After watching their KeSPA Cup and LCK matches, I personally feel that their strongest win condition is through their bot lane. However, we trust our bot lane, so if our mid-jungle keeps doing our thing, we’ll have no problem winning.
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say?
Around this time last year, when it was decided that the matches will be held without spectators, I said that I really hoped to meet the fans in person next year. However, it’s the same situation as last year, so despite being unable to personally greet them, I’m really grateful for all their support. I do recognize that our performance tonight was subpar, so I’ll make sure to improve for our next match. Thank you.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports