It was a match that showed the results of the ‘practice’ which Afreeca head coach Choi “iloveoov” Yeon-seong always talked about.
On the 17th of January (KST), Afreeca Freecs defeated KeSPA Cup winner, kt Rolster 2 to 1 in the LCK spring split.
In the close match that went to game 3, Kuro carried the team with Azir, a champion that meant loss for him in the previous year. Spirit also played well with an unpopular champion, Shyvana and was picked as MVP.
The below is the players’ interview with OGN.
※Some questions/answers were edited for better comprehension.
Q. You weren't able to beat kt a single time last year. How did you prepare?
Kuro: Last night, we were talking and discussing pick & ban up to 5AM. When we played against kt, we always won at the first game. Today, again, we won the first game, but I became tense after losing the second game, it was my fault. Anyways it’s a relief that we won after all.
Q. You always lost when you picked Azir, but you won today.
K: My Azir was always good. There were games that I wasn’t that good, but today, it was good.
Spirit: Kuro always said there’s no problem with his Azir, I think he has no shame.
K: But today, we would have lost if it wasn’t for my Azir, don’t you think?
S: That’s true. (Laughs)
Q. In the first game, you initiated a fight and picked off two players. How did you make that decision?
K: Someone said that they don’t have flash so I just rushed in.
S: I took out their flash. (Laughs)
Q. Rumor says that Spirit is doing the main shotcalling this year?
S: Yes, somehow it became me. Everybody, let’s do well.
K: There’s nothing special to it. (Laughs)
Q. When Spirit played Zac, you sometimes died without much outcome, but afterwards, stole some objects and somehow, ended up well. Did you die intentionally to keep them off guard?
S: It wasn’t intentional, but it sure seemed like it. (Laughs) I think Veigar is the counter pick to Zac, and I had a hard time. Still, my teammates were good and I think that’s why we won.
Q. In game 1, it was Veigar vs Azir. What do you think about this clash?
K: If the two champs meet, I think Azir has the edge. Azir is more advantageous.
Q. In the third game, you did well with Shyvana, but didn’t your teammates not like it because you had to continue to roam around in the jungle?
S: Since I had to ignore all the calls for help and continue to grow, my teammates didn’t like it, sure. Still, we won, and I’m happy about it.
Q. Kiin is new to the team in the top lane. How is he?
S: He’s a rookie, and it hadn’t been even a year since he first played in the pro scene, but I think he’s playing well. Although he is a bit whiny, he’s a good player that dedicates himself to the team.
Q. Who helps Kiin adapt to the team the most?
K: Spirit does that the most. Normally he makes funs of Kiin, maybe that’s why Kiin is so whiny.
Q. This year, Afreeca has the biggest roster. What changed from before?
K: Since there’s so many people, it’s always noisy. We need two cars to go somewhere… I don’t know how the fan meetings will go afterwards, too. The good things are, that we can find good picks faster than others, and we get used to the meta quicker.
Q. (To Spirit) You are close with some of the kt players, what did you think when they picked Vayne?
S: I thought ‘Does Deft want to go down again?’ But he was really good and Vayne was fearsome during the match.
Q. Lastly, to the fans?
K: We prepared a lot since we weren’t able to defeat kt last year. The practice didn’t always go well, but by winning an official match, these worries all go away. I’m happy to win the first match and I’ll do my best to keep up the good work.
S: Our team isn’t one of the best teams, but I’m very thankful to the fans who support us even though we aren’t the best. Last season, we won the first match and fell into a losing streak. We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.