SKT Teddy Speaks about the Finals, his Teammates, and the MSI

People with talent are bound to be spotted. Park “Teddy” Jin-seong started off in a place that doesn’t draw much attention, but his presence was too big to be passed unseen. Now, he has reached the top as his talent was recognized by many. 

Teddy was often considered as the living Nexus of Jin Air Green Wings. Last winter, he started the second stage of his career by joining SK Telecom T1. His performance in SKT was amazing and ended up winning the 2019 LCK Spring Split, himself becoming the MVP of the final series against Griffin. 

In the cold-hearted esports scene where winners take all and losers are forgotten, Teddy proved that if one does one’s best in their spots, doing what they’re capable of, their efforts will be recognized. After the season was concluded, we met up with Teddy and listened to his thoughts about spending a season in SKT and his thoughts in heading to MSI 2019.


A Rather Dull Finals

Honestly, I didn’t know we would win 3-0. I thought that if Griffin pulls out a unique comp, we may lose the first game; sure enough, they brought out Taliyah-Pantheon in bot lane and also picked Olaf in the jungle. Frankly, I was scared at first. Fortunately, all our lanes played safe and endured the early game so it went easier than expected. We were telling each other to play slow since we would be more advantageous the later the game goes. I was extra careful not to fall to the Taliyah-Pantheon comp. 

They brought out the same Taliya-Pantheon bot lane again in Game 3; I think I actually understood their intentions pretty well. They had practiced that comp many times, and they were confident that the comp would work out, so they picked it again. We did the same thing in that game and stayed on our toes to keep them from taking any benefits from the early game.

I gained an enormous amount of confidence from the playoffs - that I can win against any opponent, and that I could do even better in the future.


First Championship of Career

The moment we confirmed winning our championship, I wanted to enjoy that moment with my teammates, but the headset cord got tangled on my hand. When I got up, the headset fell to the ground and I wasn’t able to stand up. That moment, Mata came, smacking my head telling me to get up. (Laughs) Yes, I saw the GIFs of Mata smacking my head; the reason I wasn’t able to get up wasn’t that I got too emotional. (Laughs)

Before the finals started, the noise of the crowd was so loud, I got really excited. Listening to the crowd made me feel good. Oddly enough, I didn’t really feel that when we won the championship. I was rather calm after we won, but it was an awesome feeling when I won the MVP title. It was really satisfying because it made me think that I really did well in the finals. (Laughs) Although I was awarded the MVP, I think all my teammates had splendid performance.


Early Struggles of the ‘Dream Team’

I think the teamwork wasn’t very good during the KeSPA Cup and early in the spring season. None of us ever played together yet were gathered to play on the same team. We weren’t aware of each other’s playstyles so we needed some time to learn. For example, some players go in when they say they will go in while some don’t according to the situation. As we went through the process of knowing about each other, our teamwork got better.

Early in the season, all five members had the ability to make plays so we talked a lot. We all talked way too much which made our teamwork tiptoe at the edge of a cliff. However, after a while, that all came together and we gained something that could be called teamwork.


Moment of Awakening

I think the problem was more with laxity than being pressured. There was a slight feeling that I was too absentminded and lacked concentration. I often play better when I’m angry; maybe it was because I didn’t get angry. I often screamed while streaming, so sometimes I felt more like a streamer than a pro player. It seemed that the name, Teddy of Jin Air used to have some hidden strength in it, but that wasn’t very visible in SKT Teddy.

Still, the more we played together, I felt more comfortable. The moment I was really awoken was losing to Hanwha Life Esports while playing Vayne. I picked Vayne but was solo killed by Jinx-Thresh. After losing Game 1 like that, I got extremely mad. Afterward, I would say I was awoken and gained a lot of confidence. My hidden strengths came back after that match where we came back from behind to win the match.

Early in the season, I wasn’t very concentrated because I screamed too much while streaming; after that point, I try to stay in a serious manner while I stream so that I can keep up my concentration. As a matter of fact, when I play solo queue alone, I seldom talk.


The Best Teammates

I was able to play the game comfortably because of Mata. There are places that supports need to be during the laning phase; Mata was well aware of those spots. I often have a lot to say to the support about their positions, but he excelled at positioning. He always made me feel comfortable. 

I usually don’t think much about the opponent jungler when I lane, but Mata always cared for what I lacked in and made good calls for me. It felt good because it was like Mata made me an ADC that doesn’t die much. He’s also good at making plays that contribute to other lanes; for shotcalling, I think he’s the best support I’ve ever seen. Thanks to him, I was able to gain more confidence to make good plays. Yeah, I think he is a good ‘tamer’. (Laughs)

Khan was very reliable as well. When I play, I like it when the jungler tends for the bot lane. In that matter, Khan plays aggressively even when our jungler doesn’t look after top, and at the same time, he focuses on surviving as well. Khan’s also good in teamfights and making plays in side lanes as well. There’s nothing he can’t do; he even has an awesome personality, is eloquent, and is extremely fun to be with. Khan is Khan. (Laughs)

Clid seems to play according to his instincts, but he does everything he has to do. The pathing and skillshots are very good and accurate. It must be his talent. Although there were bits to improve during the finals, he usually uses Smite very well too. 

At first, it was hard to get close to Faker. I wanted to be good friends so I tried to talk to him often, and he was very open. He’s a very nice guy. When in game, he likes taking charge over things and is splendid with calculated plays. Faker thinks of all the possibilities, reducing mistakes, and tries to make the most benefits out of situations. There’s a reason that he has so many championships.


What I Gained from Jin Air Green Wings

I first played an LCK season in 2017 as the ADC of Jin Air Green Wings. Frankly, I didn’t do that well in 2017. We had long losing streaks and even went to promotions/relegations after the spring season. I even shaved my head as a symbol to express my devotion to concentrate more. It was a hard time that I even cried because gaming felt like hell. That was the hardest time of my career.

In the summer of 2017, we had better results and ended in 6th place. Still, it’s true that I wasn’t very good in 2017. Back then, I didn’t know well about the game LoL. An ADC has to be confident, dealing damage while moving forward, but I wasn’t able to do so. I was an average, or below average ADC that year.

After 2017 summer, the Ardent Censer meta came. It was a meta that started and ended with the ADC - every single scrim. I lightened up at that time. I became confident and learned to shotcall. My map reading ability improved as well. Through what I learned during the Ardent Censer meta, I think I was able to do well in 2018.

It’s not that I went to the playoffs in Jin Air, and only to promotions/relegations, but there’s a lot that I learned. I learned ‘showmanship’ as a pro gamer and leadership as well. UmTi usually led the early-mid game, and I led the mid-late game. Honestly, I was the only one that could do the play-making in the late game. But since I’m greedy when it comes to carrying, there wasn’t any pressure and that kind of situation was enjoyable. 

In SKT, everybody has the ability to carry and lead the playmaking, so there was no pressure at all in carrying the team and I was able to concentrate on my own plays more.


Heading to the MSI

Frankly, I don’t really watch any other leagues; I don't know what to expect. I just see some unique picks, laning, or teamfights, so I’m not sure how it’ll go. I’m pretty sure that if we just do as we always did, there’s a high chance for us coming out as champions.

There are some fans that have concern since the schedule is quite tight, but I’m alright. As a pro gamer, I’m being paid while doing what I enjoy. If someone's unable to concentrate because they're tired, that should be the end of that person's career. I think it’s a good chance to stack better results in such a big competition like MSI. I’m going to be putting in more effort and be more concentrated.


Teddy’s Goal

I signed with SKT for 2 years; it’s only the start. I want to do my best so that we can win as many championships as possible. I only did what I used to do in the last spring split finals - I could do better so I’ll be thankful if all of you fans have faith in me.

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