The gap isn't closing. Why are LCK teams doing so well?
Kkoma: I feel the gap actually is closing, Foreign teams are gradually getting better, and it is easily observable in scrims. While they are yet to display the same in the matches on stage that matter, it is still true that the gap is closing. Next season should be more fun.
In an interview early on in the season, Faker expressed his doubt of SKT's chances to make it to Worlds. Now you're in the finals. Thoughts?
Faker: Looking back, I think my performance has always been shaky at the start of seasons, but great by the time Worlds rolls around. I worked very hard to improve my level of play for Worlds.
What do you think is the reason Korean teams perform so well in best-of series?
Kkoma: It is because Korean players are more professional compared to foreign [players]. They possess greater mental fortitude and are more desperate to win. In addition, Korean players are pressured to a much greater extent during practice. I believe this stress turns into a source of drive in best-of series.
Any celebratory shenanigans you're preparing for the finals stage?
Faker: I did the Tumble last year because the stage was long. I haven't had a chance to check out this year's stage yet, so I haven't decided. I may or may not prepare one. [laughs]
Did watching the SSG-H2K series influence your match preparation in any way?
Kkoma: No. We don't switch strategies based on the opposition. Our approach is playing our own game at the highest level possible. We did feel we should work harder, however, as Samsung's level of play was impressive.
Faker and Bengi have won many tournaments over the course of their careers. What would change if you were to win tomorrow as well? Would new career goals arise?
Bengi: My career is the best [in the world] as it is, and I can top that if I win tomorrow. I always only focus on getting over the next hurdle and winning the next game, though. I don't think about career goals.
Faker: Winning as many tournaments as you can is important to a professional gamer. While I did feel, over the course of my career, that winning isn't everything - that there are other things that go into becoming the best professional gamer one can be - the most important objective still is winning tournaments. I want to keep on playing well and winning.
NBA's LeBron James invests a lot in his physical form. Does Faker do something similar?
Faker: I believe physical form matters little in eSports, so no. [laughs]
Other Korean coaches are predicting an SKT victory. Any pressure?
Kkoma: No. I do not care for outsider predictions. We have won once at the STAPLES center and we don't want to lose this time. I believe our experience will also help Faker and Bengi play better. I predict a 3-0 if we win Game 1, but a very close series if we don't.
Faker: I'm quite confident. Things could change on stage, but as long as we play as usual, good things will come our way. The prize pool for this year's tournament is much larger than those of previous years. If we lose, Samsung will have made more prize money from one Worlds win than our two Worlds wins combined. I'm not sure how that makes me feel. [laughs]
Bengi: We had the harder route to the finals, so it would be quite sad if we lost. I am determined to win the tournament.
Have you been injured over the course of your career? Do you think there is anything league organizers can do about player injuries?
Bengi: I have wrist and lower back problems, which the team is helping me take care of. Most players will have wrist and lower back problems. I don't know what the league can do about it.
Faker solokilling Ambition in his debut match catapulted him up to instant fame. Now you face him again in a match of the greatest gravity. Thoughts on Ambition as a player?
Faker: Ambition was a great midlaner back then, and I did well in my debut match because I was in great form. It's been a long time since he has played mid, so I can no longer evaluate him as a midlaner, but as a jungler, I believe Ambition is playing as well as he did when he was a midlaner.
Staying for so long overseas must be tiring. What do you want to do after the match?
Kkoma: I want to go home immediately. I'm tired beyond belief. The stress, the food, lodgings... everything was difficult to handle, and I'm probably not alone in thinking this way. I just want to go home, rest, and start preparing for next season.
How do you help your players cope with stress?
Kkoma: Dealing with stress is part of being a professional player. Winning is the only way to relieve that stress. So I teach them how to win.
What efforts have you made during your career to grow as a person, not a player?
Faker: That is an area I've always felt unfulfilled in. I believe the stress that comes from being a professional gamer prevents one from having the time to grow as a well-rounded person.
Differences between Season 5 and Season 6 Worlds?
Kkoma: The only thing that has changed is the prize pool. I was disappointed that the prize pool wasn't increased last year, so I'm grateful that Riot Games decided to do it this year. I would be overcome with jealousy if we were to lose this year. I am determined to win. [laughs]
Kkoma is looking at a potential third Worlds victory. Secrets behind your successful career?
Kkoma: My career was made possible by our team's players. I am always grateful.
Thoughts on Miss Fortune support? Are you prepared to deal with it this time?
Bengi: Our botlane struggled against it because it was a counterpick. I'm not worried because our botlane will have prepared well against it. I have faith.
Thoughts on your long-time partner Bengi's style of play?
Faker: Bengi-hyung's style of play is optimized for our team.
How did you prepare for the finals with most teams on vacation?
Kkoma: All the good teams on vacation. Back in 2013, we tried scrimming challenger teams to prepare for the finals, but it didn't help much. We're mostly relying on solo queue for practice.