In its first League Championship Series finals appearance since the spring of 2018, 100 Thieves has won its first domestic title and will attend the 2021 League of Legends World Championship as North America's #1 representative seed.
After hoisting the LCS trophy, the players and coaches of 100 Thieves joined members of the media for a post-match press conference hosted by The Story Mob's Miles Yim to discuss the 3-0 win over Team Liquid, reflect on each member of the team's career road to the title of LCS champion, and look ahead towards Worlds 2021.
What are you going to be working on looking towards Worlds?
Reapered: It makes me really happy to come back to the LCS and go to Worlds as the #1 seed. This week, there was lots of pressure on our team. Lots of people were doubting us, and of course, we had been slumping in our previous week. We've been trying to clean up our play, and right now, I can clearly see that we can do a great job on the Worlds stage, so I'm really happy about that.
Closer, TL gave you Veigo in game 1 — you smashed them. They did it again in game 2 — you smashed them. Then in game 3, they ban Viego and two other junglers, take another away, and then you smash them on Lee Sin. What's it like to be jungling at such a dominant level in the LCS right now?
It's just team diff and coach diff. We knew that they were going to try to ban me out and we were ready to answer in our draft with any champion. It didn't matter what I was going to play, but our drafts were really good and my teammates set me up for plays really well. I'm really happy to show off a good performance.
Huhi, your journey back to the top of the LCS has been filled with ups and downs since you won your first title in 2016. Now that you've won an LCS Championship in two roles, what has been your biggest source of inspiration to keep working hard and grinding to become the best?
I think it's just the people I work with. Every single time I've played on a new team since roleswapping to support has been with Closer and FBI. The people I'm working with on this roster and this coaching staff give me the motivation and the confidence that we could do it, and I think that's why we clapped the other team today.
Ssumday, this is your first LCS title. How do you feel, and what are you looking forward to most about going to Worlds?
It was a really long journey for me. Even when I was playing on 100 Thieves Academy, I was always trying to do my best. I'm really happy that I got the trophy. The next step is going to Worlds to compete with really strong teams.
Closer and FBI, what are your feelings on your North American title after you both won titles in your respective home regions of Turkey and Oceania in 2019?
FBI: It feels pretty nice. When I first came here, people really looked down on players from minor regions, especially OCE. I feel like a lot of people were really negative about wildcard region players and I'm glad that Closer and I could shut them the f**k up. [team laughs]
Closer: To be honest, the first day I came to North America, I was joining a pretty bad team, but I just needed some pieces to work with. I saw FBI play, and this guy was crazy good. Luckily, huhi was on the same team, so we ended up creating the pieces that we knew could win the LCS. The main question was when it would happen. This group of people came together at the perfect time to win the trophy. I'm really happy.
huhi, you were previously a mid laner on 100 Thieves in 2019. After being away from the organization for almost two years, what's it like to help give the organization its first LCS championship?
It feels really good and really refreshing for me, too. My first time playing for 100 Thieves wasn't pretty for me or the org. After one split, I got kicked. They had a higher expectation of me. When I got the offer to play on 100 Thieves this season as a support, I was kind of scared that it might happen again somehow. It feels really good that the relationship got better and that I'm now giving them their first trophy. It means a lot.
Reapered, you accomplished a lot as Cloud9's head coach. What does it mean to you in the context of your career to take a split off only to then come back and win the LCS with a new organization just one split later?
Last year, Cloud9 was dominating in spring, but come summer, we didn't make Worlds. Someone had to take responsibility, so I did. It happens. I took one split off to refresh myself, and then after coming back here on 100 Thieves, it was way too easy to conquer the LCS once again. [team laughs] To be honest, I never imagine myself losing to anyone in any match, even against top teams at Worlds. I'm glad that I have good pieces to help my players win it all.
Abbedagge, your season has taken a pretty wild road to this point. What does it say about your individual performance as a player for you to go from EU to NA mid-season and then win a title that same year?
This win means a lot to me because I had lots of ups and downs. I finished 10th in the LEC and people were calling for me to get kicked. They said I'm not good and that I'm a choker and all of these things.
I'm really happy to show that I'm able to win it all with this team. I don't think anyone expected a year ago that I would be here now. I'm just very grateful for this opportunity.
huhi, what were the hardest things for you in transitioning to the support role? What did you have to study and improve on the most to get to where you are now?
As you were asking that question, FBI and I looked at each other and laughed because I think we both have the same idea. I think my hardest point was getting along with FBI. [team laughs]
In the beginning, I wasn't that good, and FBI was very good and aggressive in lane. He had some sort of expectation, and in the beginning, my biggest thought was learning about all of the matchups. He taught me a lot about the matchups, but that also means I didn't know a lot about the matchups previously, so I felt bad for him.
Back then, I would say he was showing a lot of that emotion outwards, and that was affecting me as a player. That was causing some difficulty, but whenever I voiced it towards him, I think he also improved a lot — not only as a player, but as a person, friend, and teammate. I think that's why I'm here today.
FBI, at the beginning of the year, I asked you if you were going to save NA. Now that you've won the LCS, are you ready to fulfill the promises you made on the record?
Yeah, I would say so. I think this team can actually do really good things at Worlds. Jungle diff; we have the better jungler; that's all.
Are there any teams you want to face at Worlds, and do you have any words for them today?
Closer: Personally, I want to face MAD Lions. [team laughs] I think they're a really good team and I want to play against my old teammate Armut. I know it will be a really good game because MAD Lions is a really good team right now, and I want to play against the best.
Reapered: Freeze, say something, you Rogue fanboy.
Freeze: [laughs] I really want to play versus MAD Lions. Two of my good friends from the Czech Republic Humanoid and Carzzy are there as well, and it's my old team since I used to play for them in 2019. I really hope we get to play versus them and show them what we've got.
Abbedagge: I hope I get to face Faker...he's kind of a fan boy of mine nowadays. People call him after me since I'm Fakerdagge. I'm hoping to face some good teams and get some good practice against them. I hope you guys watch us at Worlds.
The 100 Thieves Discord wants to congratulate you guys on the win and ask huhi that despite winning the LCS, do you regret not pulling out Aurelion Sol during this summer?
Thank you for the kind message! The last game of the regular season didn't matter and we let our academy players play, I was trying to hint my teammates for me to play Aurelion Sol mid. I kind of wanted to play it and see how my Sol is and also play it on stage to let the fans see it one more time. That's the only regret, I guess.
Ssumday, the last time you won a major region championship was the summer of 2014 in OGN Champions Korea. How have you changed in the seven years in between both domestic titles?
I think the biggest change was that I grew up a lot as a player and a person. Seven years ago, people were calling me washed up, but I'm still winning, so I'm not.
Freeze, you debuted in the EU LCS on Copenhagen Wolves, now six years later, you're an LCS champion. Talk to me about transitioning into a coaching role and what this LCS title means to you.
That's a long journey. I played for eight years — two in LCS and two in LEC — these past two years, I told myself I would do everything in my power to come back to the LEC as a player, and if I didn't make it, I would retire. I gave it my all, and I didn't make it. I had really nice memories along the way because I won Spain twice and was named MVP twice, which was really nice before retiring.
Transitioning into a coaching role and being able to work alongside one of the best coaches in NA, if not the best, in Reapered, and then winning a split one year into my coaching career means so much for me. It's incredible and I'm so excited to see what the future is for me, what else happens, and what we do at Worlds. I'm enjoying coaching so much.
Reapered (to Freeze): I'm one of the best coaches in the WORLD, brotha.
Closer: [laughs] Let's goooooooooooo!
Abbedagge: [laughs] He only won NA like twenty times, so he might be the best.
FBI, now that you've won the LCS, are there any bot laners that you're looking forward to playing against at Worlds?
I want to play against T1's bot lane. When I was in South Korea bootcamping in the past, I would duo a lot with Keria. I think he's a really good player and T1 has a really strong bot lane, so it will be fun to play versus them if we do at Worlds. I'm pretty confident that huhi and I could take them out, so we'll see.
Ssumday, this championship has been a long time coming since you first came to North America for the 2017 season. What was the biggest thing you learned in this time, and what can we expect from you at Worlds this year?
Worlds 2018 wasn't that great because we had a Group Stage in the same group with both of the eventual finalists that year in Fnatic and Invictus Gaming. This time, we will be much stronger and we've proven ourselves by getting the #1 seed to represent NA.
Earlier in the summer, Upcomer ranked 100 Thieves as the seventh-best team in the world and were heavily criticized for it. What are the chances of 100 Thieves getting into the Knockout Stage so I can have my just desserts, and where would you rank your team yourself?
Closer: [laughs] I don't think we were 7th when you ranked us 7th, to be honest. When I look back, I think we improved a lot. Even from the start of the LCS Championship until now we have improved like crazy. I think we legitimately have a chance against the top teams. I just want to start scrimming and playing against them in solo queue to see, but I'm confident regardless of who I'm playing against, so bring them on.
Reapered: NA solo queue is behind solo queue from other top regions, but I'm confident that if we are going to go bootcamp, scrim, and play solo queue in Europe, we can level up to match the other top teams. I'm the only coach in NA who's gotten out of groups multiple times, so trust me. We will get out.
Freeze and Reapered, not only did you win the title, but did so in back-to-back match days, only losing one game in the process. What about 100 Thieves' prep made it so easy to sweep Team Liquid after beating Cloud9 less than 24 hours earlier?
Freeze: This week, there were only three teams left, so practice was not that great for us. We did not have very good scrim partners, so I have to say I was completely astonished by how much we improved just by watching clips, talking about the game, and watching VoDs.
We were basically able to pick up the things we needed to work on and the players did that without practice. They showed today that they're incredible at learning fast. Yesterday, VoD review was really helpful as well. I'm shocked. [team laughs] I would never have expected you guys were THIS good.
Closer (to Freeze): C'mon, brotha!
Reapered: We showed off some LPL-style dives in multiple games that we practiced a lot in our scrims. Even when we lost against TL last time, I knew we lost because we played badly, not because they were better than us. I knew they were scared of some of our drafts and styles, so I came into this week pretty confident that we could win it all.
All images by: Tina Jo/Riot Games via ESPAT