Going into the year 2021, 100 Thieves rebuilt their whole team around Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. It seems to be working out as they are in 2nd place behind Cloud9 with an 8-4 record. Just a few days before their week 4 matches, Inven Global contacted Ssumday to talk about the team and a few issues.
*This interview was conducted on Feb. 26
You’re halfway through the season. How is it up to now?
Our results up to now aren’t that bad, but it’s slightly regretful because I can see many things we could have done a lot better in the game.
As you said, you’re in 2nd place at the moment. 100 Thieves played well in the Lock-in as well but was reverse-swept. What was the problem back then? Was it lack of concentration? Or was it that C9 was simply the better team?
I think it was lack of concentration. The team spirit was low and I saw that everyone’s energy was drained. While we were going up to game 5, we lacked concentration compared to C9.
How was the Lock-in?
It was kind of like an exhibition tournament since they only gave prize money to the champion. Obviously, we prepared and practiced like any other tournament, but looking back, it didn’t feel like it meant much. Also, because of the Lock-in, the spring season started later. We’re playing three games per week because of that, and this gives us less time to practice. I think there are parts where things could be improved.
How is it during the spring season? Is the team maintaining good concentration?
We play one game per day, so it’s alright, but sometimes when we play games too late or too early, it affects our conditions a bit. However, all teams are in the same situation, so we just have to adjust to the circumstances and deal with them.
It seemed that 100 Thieves’ game duration is the longest. Is that intended?
[Laughs] Actually, our team style is rather focused in the early game and we’re better in the early game. But when we play official games, we often make mistakes in the early game and the games get longer due to those mistakes.
You’ve been with Zikz for a bit over a year now. How is he?
Zikz respects the players’ thoughts and opinions. He keeps asking what the players think and sets goals for us.
What do you mostly talk about? Do you discuss any personal matters or is it just in-game?
We don’t discuss any personal stuff. Since the top lane needs more comprehension compared to other lanes, that’s usually the main topic.
You said that the current results are a bit regretful, but are you satisfied with the standings and the number of wins you’ve collected up to now?
Personally, it’s really rare for me to do this well early in the season, when I was in Korea or here in the US. The results on the outside look alright, but since we lost our most recent match, the atmosphere is down. I think now is really important. We could win and find the momentum to burst through the season, or we could lose and fall. Hopefully, we can get our motor running again.
That loss was against GGS. The other four players would have had mixed feelings after the loss.
If they made fewer mistakes, they would have been able to end the game much earlier. In that regard, we saw the angles to keep the game close well. After the game, I reviewed it, but in general, they were just the better team. Their performance wasn’t that of a team that was 1-7 in the season. Of course, we didn’t play up to our expectations either.
Now that you’re halfway through the season plus a Lock-in with a new squad, how are the players?
It seems that Closer and FBI are really close. They both quite playful so they enjoy kidding around in and out of the game. Especially, Closer has a lot of energy. He’s very free in talking about his feelings or thoughts as well.
Damonte isn’t as energetic as Closer, but he’s good at boosting the team spirit. Huhi and I used to be on the same team, so I already know him well. Since we all play different lanes, there would be problems, but I think we’re still in 2nd place because we get along generally well. [Laughs]
Recently, hot discussions come and go about changing the import rule. What do you think?
Frankly, I don’t really know. But looking at the situation in fans’ shoes, if they lift the import rule, the identity of the league could be lost, so fans would lose teams to cheer for. If all five members are brought in, the players’ fans might follow them, but the teams with original fan colors, especially with teams like TSM or C9 could lose their original fans.
Watching your performance this season, it feels that you feel much less pressure. Is it just me?
The current situation requires me to support my teammates more, so I’m doing that, playing more of a supporting role within the team. But whenever the situation requires me to do a more carrying role, I’m always ready.
As much as you’re a “top laner”, you would want to carry…
All the games are still online. Don’t you want to get back to the LCS Arena?
Even before the COVID-19, I used to be better in front of the crowd than I was during scrims, so I really want to return to the arena. I hope COVID-19 is over soon so we can return.
Any last comments you’d like to share?
Up to our game against GGS, we had been doing really great, but I think there were problems starting from that point. I think we need to regain our confidence. We need to think back about how and what we did when we were good and return to our initial state to work on our fundamentals. I believe that we would be back on our feet real soon.