Brought up from the Bottom: Interview with Ssong, the NA LCS Coach of the Split

On the 23rd of August(KST), Immortals' coach, 'Ssong', claimed the 'Coach of the Split' award in the NA LCS.

In 2012, Ssong played for Najin as a midlaner. In 2015, after his retirement from the scene as a player, he coached both 'Rox Tigers' and 'Longzhu Gaming'. Then, near the end of the Spring of 2017, he departed from LZ to take command of Immortals. During the Spring Split, before Ssong's arrival, Immortals was 7th in the LCS standings. However, Ssong was far from discouraged, and with his leadership, Immortals was able to end the regular Summer Split in 2nd place.

Through Invenglobal, Ssong shared his thoughts regarding the award. "I'm honored to receive such an award despite being in NA for such a short amount of time. I'll continue to stay in NA and show what I'm capable of."

Ssong was then asked what the first thing he wanted to change in Immortals was, to which he responded, "The team had a bad record during Spring, and in turn, the team atmosphere became dark. I tried my best to help the team in that regard without trying to come off as a "hard" and "strict" coach."

We wanted to hear more details, and Ssong obliged us. "Not only was the team lacking macro management skills, but the element of "team synergy" was missing as a whole. Individually, they were all great players, but they didn't know or understand what they needed to do for one another." 

Ssong continued, "I made sure to have every player recognize and understand the strengths of their individual teammates. There were things that needed to be sacrificed, and I helped the team understand my point by telling them of all the positive outcomes such a change could bring." He also mentioned that he is a "coach that puts emphasis on the strengths of individual players," and that he "likes to educate players in a way that they will enjoy."

Ssong also shared his opinion on what he believed the biggest difference between Korea and NA teams is. "Practice time," he said. "Korea, in particular, sacrifice a lot of their hours into practice time compared to the teams of other regions. Therefore, Korean players in NA feel a lot more comfortable, but deep inside, they also feel uneasy because of it." However, Ssong mentioned that "NA is not falling behind," and that "they are not lacking in practice."

He also shared his input on the upcoming series between 'Immortals' and 'Counter Logic Gaming'. "The biggest strength of CLG is their synergy. Every player aside from the jungler has been playing for the team and with each other for a long period of time, and they utilize that said synergy to snowball. To win, we will have to keep up with CLG's pace."

Currently, IMT's jungler, Xmithie, is also rated above the current jungler for CLG. Regarding the jungle matchup, Ssong stated, "Xmithie is a veteran player that used to play for CLG. He's also displaying top performance..."

Ssong gave his final words. "I'm more than thankful for receiving such a meaningful award. I want my team to win the current LCS Split and qualify for Worlds." He ended the interview after another expression of happiness for his award.

■ 2017 NA LCS Coach of the Split Award

1st: Sangsoo "Ssong" Kim - IMT (89 Points)
2nd: Parth Naidu - TSM (47 Points)
3rd: Tony "Zikz" Gray - CLG (40 Points)

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