The long awaited LCK Summer Playoffs finally began. The first series, a wild card match featuring 'SK Telecom T1' and 'Afreeca Freecs', took place on the stage of 'Seoul Esports Stadium' on the 12th of August(KST). And as expected from the World Champions, SKT redeemed themselves from their fluctuating performance in the regular split, by completely dominating the Freecs and ending the game with a score of 2:0.
During the series, 'Bang' and 'Peanut' received the title of MVP for games 1 and 2 respectively. Dealing just as much damage as all of his teammates combined, Bang led the team to victory in the 1st set. Peanut, on the other hand, displayed a mind-boggling play; stealing Baron from the Freecs, despite having Cho'Gath and Sejuani as his oppositions.
After the series, the proud victors climbed up the interview stage to share words with the casters.
(To Bang) How do you feel after that victory?
Bang: We only have 2 to 3 days to prepare for the next series. So we'll have to hurry and do so.
(To Bang) How do you feel being on the other end of the Playoffs[being a wild card team]?
Bang: It really feels different. During the Spring Split, we were no.1, so our team waited for the others to climb up to challenge us... So it's putting a lot more weight on our shoulders. But in a way, it's kind of fun...
(To Bang) Any thoughts on Afreeca's draft during the 1st set?
Bang: It was a composition that even our team thought of utilizing. From watching games from other regions, we saw how often 'Ardent Censer' was used. But when we actually put it into our practice, it didn't work out.
(To Wolf) 'Afreeca Freecs' pushed a lot of their resources onto their support on the 1st set.
Wolf: When 'Ancient Coin' first came out, I played Alistar; only to come to the realization that I made 600g while the enemy support made 1200g later on in the game. I honestly thought of the item as 'overpowered'. But today, I really didn't expect the enemy ADC to go even further and begin the game with Targon's. In my honest opinion, I don't think that was a great choice on the side of Freecs because it can severely weaken your laning phase. To prove my point, we pushed down the botlane tower first, and Bang collected much more gold than Kramer.
(To Wolf) You played Blitzcrank today, which is a champion out of your preference. Did you prepare for it?
Wolf: It was a decent pick during practice. But on the actual stage, I don't think he was that great. During the first gank, I noticed the enemy ADC and support standing in a straight line from me. I could've most likely hooked at least one of those players and forced them to burn 'Flash'. But they dodged the hooks and shattered my initial plan. From there, things started turning bad for us in the botlane...
(To Untara) To the no.1 ranked player in KR Solo Queue, Untara! What's your opinion on Wolf's statement?
Untara: Peanut died to Kramer on a failed gank attempt and gave double buffs to the side of Afreeca... Although I'll need to see the VOD to make sure, I think that happened because Blitzcrank played badly. [Laughs]
(To Untara) That was a rather... strong statement from you. You seem a lot more confident.
Untara: I'm a lot more confident now that I have reached the top of the ladder in Solo Queue. Even coach Kkoma is very happy about it.
(To Untara) Before the start of the 2nd set, through the booth cams, we saw your coach giving you direct feedback.
Untara: He was telling me how it could've gone better. And so, he told me to play better.
(To Untara) This was your very first "big" stage. Were you nervous at all?
Untara: I just imagined the games as a regular group stage game. My teammates have a lot of stage experience, so I remained calm and played the series out as if it was a scrim game.
Peanut: Untara changed a lot since the last interview - I think people really change easily. He used to be shy and low-spirited, but now he is filled with confidence. And to be honest, I prefer the new Untara.
Peanut, you received the MVP title for the 2nd set.
Peanut: I was actually really surprised, as I expected Cassiopeia[Faker] to receive it - especially because I died to my failed gank attempt in the botlane. I think Faker deserves it more than me.
(To Bang) Did you have any "greed" for the MVP title during the 2nd set?
Bang: If our team had lost that game, I was going to get on my knees and apologize to everyone. I was playing badly... my performance was far from anything MVP worthy.
(To Peanut) You stole yet another game-breaking Baron.
Peanut: A lot of players from other teams are really starting to play cautiously because of my frequent Baron steals. And because of that, I have been getting a lot of confidence. But today's steal was caused by Afreeca's mistakes. I got lucky.
(To Peanut) How did you guys prepare for today's series?
Peanut: Our practice results were fantastic this week. I didn't even think about the possibility of losing. Climbing from the wild card games all the way to the finals will be a good experience for me.
(To Faker) Do you really think that you deserve the title more than Peanut?
Faker: I'm actually pretty upset that I didn't receive it. [Laughs]
(To Faker) It was actually CloudTemplar that nominated Peanut for the title.
Faker: Well of course... junglers tend to favor other junglers.
(To Faker) You blindly picked Galio during the 1st set - without any hesitation. Why?
Faker: First of all, Kuro is a great Galio player. So we took Galio away from Afreeca and based our team composition around the champion. Although we lost many past games with Galio, we would've most likely have lost those games regardless of what I have played. It's mostly because my level of performance was low at that time... I honestly think that I don't have a single champion that I am necessarily bad on. I want to be a flexible player that can play whatever is necessary for the team.
(To Faker) You rushed 'Abyssal Mask' on both Galio and Cassiopeia.
Faker: 'Adaptive Helm' was nerfed, and Abyssal Mask seemed like the most proper replacement for it. As for when I was playing Cassiopeia, I usually build 'Rod of Ages' on her - so I had 'Catalyst' sitting in my inventory. I just decided to build it into the mask because the enemy team had many AP champions.
(To Wolf) Are you satisfied with today's interview?
Wolf: Our immature friend, Peanut, seemed a lot more mature today. Also, our boring friend, Untara, became more fun! Everyone changed for the better... except me.
(To Wolf) Final words for the fans?
Wolf: Despite the victory, I still feel uneasy because it could've gone a lot cleaner. We are currently working very hard during practice to return to our original form. Our fans may have concerns regarding our drop in performance... but fans who support the other teams will have bigger concerns... because they will witness SKT climbing back up to the top. So please, don't worry about us.