On Aug. 19, in the 2023 LCK Summer Split playoffs, T1 faced KT Rolster. It was a blockbuster series to decide the team to qualify for the finals, and after a full five-game series, T1 managed to win. After the match, KT Rolster head coach Kang “Hirai” Dong-hoon and bot laner Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram joined the media for a press conference.
How do you evaluate today’s match?
Hirai: We worked hard and thought we prepared well, but we must have lacked something. T1 did well too. It’s regretful, and I’d like to apologize to the fans.
Aiming: I always play thinking this year is the last. I really believed that this roster was close to winning the championship, so it’s really regretful.
Many fans have expressed disappointment about the draft in the first two games.
Hirai: There were definitely some regrets, so we changed the direction starting from game 3. We’ll give our all to the regional qualifiers now. The most important thing is to reach Worlds.
As you said, the draft changed as you banned Azir.
Hirai: We prepared for most bans, like the support role, but it didn’t work out well, so we needed to change the direction.
There were tough teamfights after teamfights in game 5 around the major objectives. How was it?
Aiming: The opponent’s comp was one that goes for the bot laner. I tried to keep that in mind while focusing on the fight. What was regretful was that we allowed them to take the initiative in the early game.
Although you lost, do you think you’ve improved compared to the previous match?
Hirai: If we won today, we would have brought back a lot. The biggest change was that we played on a much bigger stage. I was able to make my players more stronger. Aside from the losses, the players gave each other a lot of feedback and were able to improve another level. I believe this experience will help us much in the regional qualifiers.
How will you face the qualifiers?
Hirai: It’s the most important series. Since last winter, we all aimed to reach Worlds, and it’s right where we could reach. Although the players’ heads are down from the loss today, I’d like to tell them that there’s no need. We’ll learn what we can from today’s loss and make sure we get to Worlds. I’d like to tell the players to keep their heads up.
I do apologize to the fans, though, who trusted us and cheered for us. I feel responsible, grateful, and sorry. I’ll make sure that we reach Worlds.
Aiming: Before game 5, we said that we should play a game without regrets. But since we lost, there are some regrets. I’d like to tell my teammates that we’re really the best. It was a great season, and I’m grateful that I’m your teammate. We still have more left, so I hope we can all smile in the end.