KT Hirai: "Frequent patch changes allow better teams to win more."


On Jul. 13, in the 2023 LCK Summer Split, KT Rolster defeated Hanwha Life Esports 2-1. KT hadn’t lost a single game since week 2, and they set a new LCK record of 17 consecutive game wins after winning game 1. Although the record came to a stop, they managed to win game 3 and continue their match winning streak with 9 straight wins. After the match, head coach Kang “Hirai” Dong-hoon and jungler Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan joined the media for an interview.



How do you feel about winning 9 straight matches?


Hirai: I’m happy we won. There were some worries about the draft today, and it showed a bit in the match. I thought we should deal with it better from now on.


Cuzz: Hanwha Life Esports had a good flow, and Grizzly played well quite stably. I was quite worried, but I’m happy that we won today.


When you said worries about the draft, was it about game 2?


Hirai: It wasn’t that we lost. The risks and worries we had during the draft happened exactly in the game. It’s still positive since what we anticipate happens.


In a previous interview, you said that it’ll be difficult once your winning streak ends. You lost game 2 today. What was the feedback after the loss?


Hirai: I thought we would win. I had faith in the players that they won’t lose. I thought if we played on the blue side and make a good composition, we would win no matter what, so I just discussed the key points for game 3, and talked about keeping pace and controlling the tempo.


What was the reason for the loss in game 2?


Cuzz: We lost the early mid-jungle fight, but more than that, their comp was stronger than we expected. We underperformed as well. I thought it would have been better if we prepared other champions too.


Hirai: To add, the draft was a bit regretful. There were two scenarios, A and B. We picked A, and that was regretful. We should have picked B. The play was alright, but the draft was regretful.


You still broke the team’s longest winning streak record with 9 wins.


Hirai: If I have my mind on the winning streak, it shows, and that goes to the players. I’m doing my best not to think about it. I’m rather relieved that we lost a game. We’ll be able to prepare for the next match with an easier mind.


You’re playing on the 13.12 patch for another week.


Hirai: We were preparing on the 13.13 patch, but after we heard, we changed the version starting from that evening. I wanted to change the draft direction, but it’s regretful that we weren’t able to. It was comfortable playing on the previous version, but that goes the same for any other team. I think frequent patch changes allow better teams to win more.


Cuzz: The patch suddenly changed, but I felt that our main picks weren’t that different. The coaching staff and players all work hard and spend a lot of time preparing. Thanks to that, we were able to prepare comfortably.


The opponent got ahead in game 3, but you dealt with it well.


Hirai: The early game was a bit difficult, but we thought our composition synergy was good. I don’t think the players felt anxious. Also, I felt more comfortable when I saw Akali’s item build. The Kai’Sa we picked as our first pick did her role well. Everyone did what they needed to do, and they communicated well, sacrificing when necessary while focusing on the key points of the game.


What do you need to improve for the next match?


Hirai: I’ve said this several times, but it would be better if we can use more champions and more compositions. Also, I hope the players could control the tempo better when we have a comp with a high ceiling. Since we’re strong and confident, we sometimes overextend. If we improve that, we can keep showing good performances.


It seems clear there are champions you like in the 13.12 version. Why is that?


Hirai: First, the win rate is good. It’s stable when they play the champions they want. We’re also confident that even if there’s an accident in the early game, we can deal with the situation through macro or teamfights. If those champions are banned, we would play our plan B, but they usually go through the ban phase. We’ve been trying to play other champions during practice. In official games, we usually go with plan A. We’ll need to improve the comp and picks, and try more things in the LCK.


Any last comments?


Cuzz: Thank you to the fans who always cheer for us.


Hirai: The players are all working hard. They’re doing great. Thank you to those who cheer for us.

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