On August 24, the media day for the 2021 LCK Summer Split Finals was held. Players and coaches from DWG KIA and T1 joined the media to talk about the finals and answer questions. From T1, interim head coach Son “Stardust” Seok-hee and mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok joined the Zoom meeting.
[To everyone] Can you tell us how you feel about the finals?
Stardust: We’ve also had our ups and downs in getting here, so we’ll do our best to get the best results. DWG KIA’s looking to capture their 3rd consecutive win, but records are meant to be broken. We’ll do our best to end their streak.
Faker: It was a tough journey to get here, so we’ll make sure to play better than we did in the playoffs.
[To everyone] Who’s the player that you think will prove to be the biggest obstacle?
Stardust: DWG KIA prides in having a really strong mid-jungle duo, so my choice is ShowMaker and Canyon.
Faker: I’m not really thinking too much about other lanes. My biggest focus is on ShowMaker.
DWG KIA’s looking for their 3rd consecutive championship victory, while T1 looks for their 10th total championship victory. Heading into the finals, what’s each team’s mindset like?
Stardust: As a lot of people already know, there’s been a lot of ups and downs that the team went through this split, so the biggest payoff for all our hard work is to become champions. We have to win the finals to do well at Worlds; everyone on the team’s ready to become the champions, so all we need to do is win.
Faker: There’s a lot of record-setting on the line. I’m not too interested in those records; my goal is to showcase my best performance. Winning the championship will naturally follow.
Either kkOma or Faker will get their 10th championship victory. Is there anything you’d like to say to each other?
Faker: I wish good health for him as well, and good luck in the finals.
[To Stardust] How does it feel to lead the team as the interim head coach into the finals? How do you reflect on the split overall?
Stardust: From taking over as the new head coach of the team to actually leading the team to the finals, one thing I’ve learned is that you never know what the future will be like. All the credit goes to the players and the other coaches, and I don’t really think I’ve done anything out of the ordinary. The biggest lesson would be to always give it your all, and if you do, results will naturally follow.
As the head coach who came into position quite unexpectedly, what are some of the things that you focused on from a leadership standpoint?
Stardust: It was a drastic change that did shake up the team. However, no matter what our situation was, we still had matches to play, so I focused on taking care of my players in any way possible and made sure that the people still on the team understood that we need to work as a unit to overcome the obstacles ahead.
Are there any responses from the players that were memorable?
Stardust: There were players that questioned the decision, and there were those that said, “I trust the coach”, just like Faker. All the responses were somewhat expected, so it was the moment I realized that I need to set good examples for my players.
This finals will be the first time that many of the players on the T1 will be playing in the finals outside of LoL Park. What advice would you give to them?
Stardust: Ever since the huge change in our roster, I feel that we’ve gained an extra life. Matches like the finals is something that every pro player dreams of playing in. A little bit of nervousness can actually be beneficial to the players, and I think I can lead them well.
Do you think DWG KIA has T1 all figured out because of Daeny?
Stardust: It’s true that Daeny left us with a lot of knowledge, and that he still is an integral part of our gameplay. However, because he was on DWG KIA in 2020, we’ve learned a lot about the team as well. We know a lot about each other, but after round 2, I believe that we’ve changed a lot as a team, so I think that our gameplay will seem similar, but also unfamiliar at the same time.
Gumayusi started for T1 for the majority of round 2, while Teddy started for T1 during the entirety of the playoffs. Who is scheduled to start for the team during the finals, as well as for Worlds?
Stardust: We’re still talking about who will be the better bot laner to start for the finals. Gumayusi’s an irreplaceable part of our team, so at the very least, he’ll be a part of the 7-man roster for Worlds.
[To Faker] Tell us what the atmosphere within the team was like after defeating Gen.G in round 2 of the playoffs.
Faker: We won three games in a row after dropping game 1, so the comeback made the atmosphere that much better. Locking in our Worlds spot from that win definitely boosted our morale as well.
Who would you say was the happiest on the team?
Faker: I think Keria was really happy. Even though he didn’t play in that match, I remember Gumayusi being very happy and congratulating everyone after the match.
Each split, you’ve always said that your goal is to become champions, but you didn’t say anything like that this split. Can you tell us a bit more in that regard?
Faker: I don’t think there are a lot of interviews where I didn’t mean what I said. I felt that we weren’t good enough to win the championship during the start of the split. However, not only do I think we’re good enough to become champions, we’re a lot more confident since then, so our goal is very clear now.
If you win the finals, it’ll be your 10th championship. Does winning the championship still motivate you?
Faker: In the past, winning was the main goal of playing the game, but now, I’m more focused on being satisfied with my performance. Becoming a champion is a pro player’s ultimate goal, so I’m playing to achieve the best results.
Are there still things left that you want to achieve?
Faker: I want to perform on a level where I can be satisfied with myself. I don’t know how other analysts and experts evaluated my performance, but I was personally dissatisfied with my own performance. There were problems that I faced that I cannot talk about in a public setting, but I think that I can perform my best from solving such issues.
T1 finally made it back to the LCK finals after three splits. Does the upcoming finals feel different in any way?
Faker: It was almost easy making it to the finals in the past, so I felt that as long as I worked harder, things would work out naturally. Nowadays, I feel that opportunities to play on a grand stage don’t come by as much as before, so I yearn for the win a lot more.
How do you currently evaluate your former teammate/DWG KIA’s top laner, Khan?
Faker: I saw Khan yesterday; he’s gotten a lot chubbier [laughter]. I think he’s eating and sleeping well, so I really want to get that chubby fella.
What are your predictions for the series?
You predicted a 3-0 victory. What’s your basis?
Faker: My biggest basis is that I think it’ll happen. Our team performance has improved much recently, so I said that because it’s possible.
You’ll be getting a championship ring designed by Tiffany & Co. if you win this time. Are you going to wear it all the time?
Stardust: I think I’ll be wearing it to some places once in a while. I’ll decide what to do based on the reactions after that.
Faker: I think I’ll just keep it since I don’t wear any jewelry.
Canna said it’ll be his first time on an airplane. Any tips to give him?
Faker: Everyone now knows they have to take their shoes off before they board the airplane, so I don’t need to tell him that. I’ll say it’s better to sleep a lot while in the air.
What can you promise to the fans if you win the championship?
Stardust: T1 fans still would have many questions to ask me or the team. If the team allows me, I’d like to take some time to answer their questions.
Faker: There seems to be another climbing platformer game. I’ll make sure to beat it on my stream.
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