On August 26th (KST), Longzhu Gaming wrote history in the 2017 LCK Summer Split Finals as they defeated SK Telecom T1 3-1 and won a championship for the first time after 1938 days since the team’s formation. With today’s victory, Longzhu has not only won the title for this split, but they’ll also go into the World Championship this year as the first seed from LCK.
The following is the press interview with players and coaching staffs of Longzhu Gaming.
Congratulations on winning the finals. Please briefly share how you feel.
Dongha “Khan” Kim: I'm happy to have won the finals. I'll try harder to become a player who has a shot at winning the next split and the one after that.
Woochan “Cuzz” Moon: I'm glad that I won the championship with the team that I have started my pro career with. I’ll do my best to become a good player.
Bosung “Bdd” Kwak: I’m glad that we are locked into the Worlds. It feels like I could have played a bit better today. I know I could have. I’ll try much harder and promise that I’ll do better.
Jongin “PraY” Kim: I’m glad that we managed to win today’s series with good performance. It was our rookies’ first time playing in a big stadium, but I think we managed to win today because they didn’t get a stage fright.
Beomhyun “GorillA” Kang: I’m glad that I could win this year’s summer split after winning last year’s summer split. It feels good to have strong teammates in other lanes. Now, instead of memeing how KT is the Summer team, say that PraY-GorillA is the Summer duo. (Laughs)
Head Coach Donghoon “Hirai” Kang: I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. I can’t really put my feelings with words. I’m elated, and I keep thinking about what we’ve gone through to get here. I’m really happy, and I think this will be our new beginning.
Coach Jungsoo Kim: This year’s spring split hasn’t been very good. I’m glad that we managed to find good players in the summer split. I’m glad that we are in the Worlds, the tournament that all teams dream of. We’ll take our much needed break and do our best in the Worlds.
Coach Seungmin Choi: It’s my dream coming true. I want to keep this momentum up until the Worlds. I’m grateful for our players for putting faith in the coaching staffs for the draft.
(To PraY-GorillA) When did you know that you were going to win today’s series?
GorillA: I knew we were going to win the series after Game 1. I thought today was our day after winning that game.
PraY: I do agree that we had the upper hand after winning Game 1 and 2, I don’t think we’ve won that cleanly. After being caught off guard at Game 3, I think we won Game 4 because we drafted better.
(To Bdd) You stood your ground well against Sanghyuk “Faker” Lee in the laning phase.
Bdd: I felt nervous since I was going into a match. However, I thought we still needed to play with guts. I always thought Faker was a very good player - he puts heavy pressure on the midlane and jungle, but I wasn’t too intimidated by him in other situations.
(To PraY) After winning a split with Najin and ROX, you’ve now won yet another split with Longzhu.
PraY: I thought this year wasn’t going to be year that I could reasonably expect to win. However, I think I managed to do it because my teammates are very good.
(To Khan) You didn’t play with tanky toplaners that are currently in meta. Instead, you played with Jayce, Jax and Camille.
Khan: Even in a metagame that favors tanky toplaners, there are only a few viable champions. Since we can ban five champions, I think it’s possible to play bruisers as long as viable tanky champions are banned. Since I was pretty confident with bruisers, that’s how we approached our draft.
I thought we’d win Game 4 if we could do what SKT T1 did in Game 3 but with Jayce.
(To Cuzz) How does it feel to have won your first split as a pro?
Cuzz: I felt nervous before the start of split. I didn’t know much about team-based games. I think I managed to learn quickly because of my experienced and strong teammates. It feels like I’ll be able to become a great player quicker thanks to today’s victory.
(To Cuzz) Apparently you asked for a pause “by mistake”. How did that happen?
Cuzz: I made a mistake of pressing Tab to see the scoreboard while holding Alt to ping, so I was focused out from the game. It takes time to return to game from being alt-tabbed when playing in a fullscreen mode, but that was also a crucial moment as Bdd asked me to cover the midlane. So, I quickly asked for a pause.
(To PraY) You’ve been a pro for a long time. How can you perform consistently after all this time?
PraY: While I was taking a long break from being a pro, I realized how much I was grateful for having been a professional LoL player. I wanted to play the game while being surrounded by cheers and passionate fans once again. I vowed that I wouldn’t ever be in hiatus ever again. I cut back on my sleep when I feel like I’m playing even just slightly worse. That’s why I think I’ve been able to stay in shape.
Why did you decide not to ban Maokai in Game 4 after banning him throughout Game 1 to 3?
Coach Kim: Khan isn’t too good with Maokai or Cho’Gath. That’s why we kept banning them. Instead of trying to fight against a player’s weakness, we tried to play to our strength through the draft. For Game 4, however, I thought Faker’s LeBlanc would be crucial to SKT T1’s plan to quickly take the game's initiative, so we decided to ban LeBlanc instead of Maokai.
(To Hirai) It’s your first win after becoming a LoL coach - You’ve came a long way after transitioning from being a SC2 coach.
Hirai: I personally had to overcome a lot of obstacles while managing the team. We were not well off financially, so we had so much that we wanted but didn’t have. We couldn’t sign strong players, and even when we did sign strong players we had to go through a lot of difficulties. I’m happier since our win this split was achieved despite all the hardships. I think PraY and GorillA especially had a hard time this year. I always feel guilty towards those two.
In your opinion, what is Longzhu’s strengths and weaknesses?
Coach Choi: Our biggest strength is our mentality. It’s easy to get mad after a bad losing streak in scrims, but we are always in good mood when we give feedback to each other. We need to improve our champion pool though. I think we’ll be able to do well in the Worlds if we can solve this problem.
Hirai: Our teamwork between veterans and rookies are very good. Experienced players do a lot for the rookies on things that coaching staffs don’t realize that are necessary. It’s a strong pillar for our team. Also, I like how our rookies are gutsy and cheerful.
So, what was the ‘secret plan’ that you hinted during the media day?
Coach Choi: Taeil “Frozen” Kim told us how Kayn could be a strong choice for the midlaner and wanted us to try it in the SoloQ. However, it wasn’t very good. Bdd tried him out for 8 games and lost almost all games. So, I thought we might as well try misdirection. (Laughs)
With both Longzhu and 1907 Fenerbahçe in the Worlds, there’s a chance that you might face Frozen in the Worlds.
Hirai: I’ve always been in touch with him. Today, he told us how he’ll be waiting for us in the World Championship and asked us to join him. He even came today in person and gave us his uniform as a lucky charm that’ll take us to the Worlds. I think it worked. I’m glad that we both are in the Worlds.
Now that you are locked into the World Championship, let’s wrap up the interview with how you’ll go into the Worlds.
Khan: I’ve heard a lot about the Worlds because of my teammates. I still can’t believe that we are going there, but I want to do well when we get there. I’ll do my best to be able to play well with tanky champions.
Cuzz: I’m happy that we are going to the Worlds. As a representative of Korea, I’ll try my best and do well in the tournament.
Bdd: I’m really happy. I think midlaners in other countries are very good, so I can’t wait [to face them in matches]. Since SKT T1 is also going to the Worlds, I want a rematch against them too.
PraY: I’m glad that I’m going to the Worlds with Longzhu. This year’s Worlds will take place in China, where Khan and Cuzz used to play.
GorillA: I’m going to be in the Worlds for four years in a row. I’ll try to keep myself in a good shape. It feels fresh and motivating whenever I go to the Worlds. I also told the others how the Worlds are really different in a way that you only know when you go there in person. I’ll do my best to do well in the Worlds.
Hirai: I’m excited. We always took time off during the Worlds because we’ve never been to the Worlds. However, we’ve been to plenty of overseas tournament, so I think we’ll be able to take good care of our players until the Worlds. We’ve been to China a lot, so I think that’ll help too. We should be able to do well in the Worlds by keeping up the momentum.
Coach Kim: Teams that are going to be playing in the Worlds are stronger than ever. Three of our players will be going to the Worlds for the first time in their life, so I’m looking forward to how much these three can grow as players. We’ll do our best to prepare and do well in the Worlds.
Coach Choi: SKT T1 had been the favorite to win, so I’m glad that we managed to show how we can also play very well. I think we’ll be able to do just as well in the Worlds. If we face SKT T1 again in the Worlds, I want us to defeat them once more.
Cuzz: Before we wrap up, I feel like I’ve gotten a bit carried away while doing the interviews after winning the finals. I think I need to clear this up: I’d like to say sorry for the fans who took offense from what I’ve said.