T1 Daeny: "Losses definitely hurt, but growth comes from our failures."


On Feb. 25th, day 26 of the 2021 LCK Spring split took place, with T1 dominating NS RedForce 2-0 in the first match of the day. T1 is now on a two-match win streak, and they look to continue riding that momentum as they face DWG KIA in their next match. 


After the match, the head coach for T1, Yang “Daeny” Dae-in, joined Inven Global for a post-match interview to talk about the key topics that many fans were dying to know, such as fielding a 10-man roster, meta changes, and goals for this split.

How do you rate the team’s overall performance tonight?


I feel that the bigger picture of our draft and in-game performance was a success overall, but because we have a lot of rookies on our team, a lot of wrong decision making still happens. Even still, I thought that our draft went well, and that we’ve executed the game plan that we’ve worked on during this past week.


Despite all the negative fan perception about T1’s performance this split, the team’s on a two-match win streak and is riding a high momentum. What changed?


Since this question is related to the direction of the team, I cannot go into detail. What I can say right now, is that the synergy between the players has been improving significantly.


Even during matches that T1 lost, the team’s early stats were quite impressive.


If you look at our team, there are a lot of veterans and rookies on the same team. Right now, the team is in the process of learning about the bigger picture, while filling in the details. In that process, players felt pressured when the series goes to game 3, so I should’ve been the one to take care of that aspect a lot better.


This is my first year as the head coach. Everyone’s working toward the same goals, I’m learning to take care of my players better, and I feel that both the players and I are gradually improving.  


How do you respond to the fan criticism on how fielding a 10-man roster is proving to be detrimental to the team? Can you tell us what your standards are in choosing the starting members for a match?


In answering this question, I have to talk about how we choose our starting members. Every Monday, I sit down with our coaching staff and the players to talk about our matches for the week. We talk about how the draft will go, and based on such, we prepare for the week. In this process, I’m able to figure out many factors, such as how the players fit into certain concepts that the team’s working towards, as well as the certain champions that our players are good at. The starting members are chosen based on such, as well as the various things that I want the players to try.


However, there were a lot of things that I didn’t initially factor in. The players that aren’t starting also need to be able scrim, but it was hard for them to get that practice. One of those reasons was because many Korean coaches in the LPL came back to Korea, so we had a hard time booking scrims in the first month. Things would’ve been easier if other teams fielded a 10-man roster, but they don’t, so ultimately, this is a judgement error on my end.


Fielding a 10-man roster comes with clear difficulties. Even if I try to keep them motivated and teach them about the game, it’s not easy. I learned that the hard way.


After I joined T1, players had a chance to find other teams, but there were players that gave me their trust and decided to stay. What I told them was that in order for T1 to go to Worlds, I firmly believe that the 10-man roster will prove to be beneficial. One thing I did promise the players was that coach Zefa and I will lead them in the right direction and contribute to the players’ growth. It won’t be easy, but I want to keep my promise to them and lead them, whatever it takes.


How do you reflect on T1’s performance so far this split?


Before the start of this split, not only did we have a clear understanding of the meta champions, we also played well and felt that we had great synergy. However, it’s regrettable that we went 1-2 early in the split, and if we won just one more match, I feel that the players would’ve been more at ease. Losses definitely hurt, but growth comes from our failures. It’s not the optimal path that I would’ve liked to take, but I feel that things are getting back on track.


Now that round 1 is over, can you share what the team’s goal is for this split?


Right now, our goal is to make it to the playoffs, and I hope to create a team that is strong in Bo5s. It’ll be hard to win every match, but I feel that our wins will greatly help in achieving that goal. From draft to various strategies, we have more room to try different things in a Bo5 scenario, so I hope to create a team that can thrive in the playoffs.


Over the last two patches, there have been a lot of changes in the jungle. Many experts have foreseen a potential shift in the meta, with aggressive junglers and tank junglers potentially taking over the meta. How do you foresee the competitive jungle meta changing?


It’s a sensitive question to answer, as it is heavily interconnected with our team’s strategies. However, I do agree with a lot of the points that you made in the question; with these nerfs to the jungle, tank junglers and aggressive junglers may find their spot in the meta, while carry junglers that thrive in the current meta may still be picked.


To avoid confusion, we’re focusing on what’s in front of us. Ultimately, it’ll all come down to trial and error. We’ve yet to practice on patch 11.4, and we still have a match left on patch 11.3, so at the moment, I don’t have an answer. 


Your next match is against DWG KIA. Can the fans expect something unexpected for the match?


All the players on DWG KIA are geniuses, and they’ve received the proper training to become that good. Although I respect our players to the fullest degree, the fact remains that DWG KIA is the stronger team. They beat us 2-1 in round 1, but there were moments in that series where we had a clear lead. As long as we prepare well, anything can happen. It’s not going to be easy, but that won’t stop us from working hard to win.


Due to how you declined interview requests during this split, there was also criticism in the lack of communication with the fans.


I feel really bad. To be honest, I only declined once. At the time, I was feeling mentally down, so I told the team that I’ll start doing interviews after a week, regardless of the results. I wanted to do an interview before the Lunar holidays, but the management told me to take it slow. Honestly, I really wanted to do an interview. 


Regarding this matter, I want to extend my apologies to the fans as well. I can take all the criticism regarding the team’s performance from our fans. However, I know that I’m in a position that comes with a lot of responsibilities, and I want to become that responsible person. I’m very sorry that I seemed irresponsible, and want to emphasize that this was out of my hands.


Lastly, can you please say a few words to the fans?


Whether it’s Spring, Summer or Worlds, I want us to do well in everything. Not only is it great for my personal career, it’s a goal that everyone on the team is working towards. I can only ask for your support at this time. We’re working very hard, day and night, so I hope to make it to Worlds through great performance and record. We’re way past the point of looking at things in the long run, so we’re going to prepare as hard as we can to win in round 2. Thank you.

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