The 100 Thieves are still at the top of the standings after five weeks of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split. They’ve had their ups and downs; although they lost to FlyQuest in a base race in Day 2 of Week 5, they’ve managed to stay at the top.
One of the main reasons 100 Thieves are at the top would be their top laner, Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. His performance has been outstanding over the split. Unless he falls into a bad slump, he could be arguably one of the strongest contenders for the season MVP.
After their win against Echo Fox on Day 1 of Week 5, we had a chat with Ssumday.
Your performance has been really good recently.
My performance is satisfying enough, but I don’t think it’s perfect yet. I need to improve more, and I think our team also needs improvement.
In which part do you think that you’re not perfect?
(Thinks for a while) I just need to put in more effort into everything. (Laughs)
Is there a reason that you’re doing so well? Does the team support you more in terms of picks & bans?
During scrims, there were several times when the opponent persistently hit the top lane. We often were helpless against those strategies, so recently, we thought that we should do the same and lay more strength in the top lane. I think that was effective. Although we were on a funnel comp today, the top lane went well.
AnDa was called up. How is he?
I think AnDa’s doing better than we expected, but he’s rather quiet during the game.
AnDa likes Korea a lot. He's really into K-Pop and likes Korean food. Since I like Korean food too, we go to Korean restaurants together, and when they play K-Pop, AnDa knows all the songs. Although I don’t like K-Pop that much, I know enough to have a conversation, so it was easier to get closer to him.
How is the synergy with him?
Well… It’s not that good or bad yet. It’s just normal.
What do you personally think about AnDa’s prowess?
When he wasn’t in our team, I didn’t think he was that good because he wasn’t a full-time starting member. However, his solo queue rank is decent, and he was the first to hit challenger in KR when we went to boot camp; he even went up to 11th. I think he has potential. I’m looking forward to how he’ll change after our coaches do their magic on him.
What do you think will make him better?
When we play as a team, AnDa doesn’t have much of an opinion; he just does what the team wants him to do. This could be a good thing, but there are times that he needs to be selfish. If he just does what the team wants him to do, he won’t be able to make the game; it’ll be harder to snowball.
Aren’t selfish people better at solo queue? (Laughs)
Maybe he’s selfish when he plays solo queue. (Laughs)
AnDa is playing almost only supporting champions in funnel comps.
Actually, that’s not intended. The draft just went like that. It seemed like the opponent didn’t care if we were on a funnel or not during picks & bans, so we just used it often. It’s like a must-win strategy for us now.
How do you think he is as a standard jungler?
He’s better than expected.
Let’s go back a bit and talk about the Rift Rivals. You didn’t play and watched the team play there.
That was really disappointing, yes, in several ways. (Laughs) EU played really well. I think we would have lost even if I played. It’s still regretful that I wasn't able to play, though.
How did you think of Levi’s performance?
Apart from the Rift Rivals, Levi is good at playmaking. However, his performance is hard to predict. It’s kind of different all the time. It should be easy if you think of his performance at GAM Esports. Still, his English is a lot better now.
Then will Levi be playing more often in the import slot? Or is the team still on Ssumday-Ryu?
As far as I know, the team isn’t thinking of playing Levi during this season. Unless there’s a problem, or unless Ryu or I fall in a slump, we’ll stick to the current roster.
The NA LCS is in chaos. Is there a team that you think is still strong in that chaos, or is there a team that you think would be difficult to play against in Bo3/Bo5s?
It could be an obvious answer, but I think Team Liquid and TSM would be good in Bo3/Bo5s. At first, I thought our team would dominate this summer split. It’s regretful that we lost to Golden Guardians, but I think we’re very strong as well.
Why do you think Team Liquid and TSM will be strong?
You know, they say 'form is temporary, but class is permanent'. It’s because their team and players have class. The players that have been to a certain level are different, and they have experience. If they find their style, they’ll be able to rise again in no time.
Also, I think we’re rather weak against Team Liquid. I’m not sure about the reason, but we just fall into their pace when we play against them.
Is there a situation or position that’s tough to handle?
I really don’t know. It’s different all the time. Because of that, we feel pressured.
Do you feel a lot of pressure?
The team feels a lot of pressure. For me, it varies, but there are times that I do feel pressured.
How are the academy players overall?
There’s a prowess gap between the strong and weak teams for the academy as well. I think the strong teams’ academies are almost as good as the lower tier teams in the NA LCS.
Then are they good enough to scrim against?
Yes. Playing scrims with them is quite effective.
Teleport has been nerfed in 8.14. Do you think we can expect top laners holding Ignite instead of Teleport?
As a top laner, the TP nerf is kind of annoying. We were able to make up for a play with TP when we play a ‘losing pick’; it might not be possible anymore. Maybe if mid or bot laners hold TP, we might be able to pick Ignite. I haven’t tried, so I’m not sure yet.
I think this patch can be a positive change for the strong teams. Even if making a play fails with TP in the mid-late game, it takes only five minutes for TP to be back up, but now it’s six. That one minute is precious in the mid-late game. The high-tier/strong teams play the macro game well using TP. For example, they pretend to start a teamfight and put the opponents’ TP on cooldown. Many things are possible. The teams that have more systematic use of TP will be advantageous.
Do you think it will affect the bot lane? The AP mages often used Teleport to make up for their weak laning.
You’ll never know until it hits, but it’s more convenient for the bot lane to figure when to recall because there are two people. However, the top or mid lane has to use their jungler. It could be better if bot lane uses Teleport.
Any last comments?
This year’s Worlds is in Korea. We still have a long way to go, but I’ll do my best to go meet the Korean fans. And to the NA fans that send us endless support; I’ll do my best to repay you by getting to Worlds. Thank you.