Within a month since his debut, Chan-ho “Ssumday” Kim proved that he could hold his own against other prominent top laners of the time. Aptly called “Mad High Schooler” by fans, Ssumday now plays in the NA LCS as a top laner on Team Dignitas.
This Summer Split marks his second season in the NA, and we were able to catch up with him right before the first half concluded. Though things were looking down for Dignitas due to a recent losing streak, Ssumday’s serious expressions indicated deeper problems were in play than expected. Perhaps it was because nothing could substitute the fix of winning for these competitive players. As the interview went underway, he kept the somber demeanor, but his occasional smiles reminded us that the old Ssumday, who knew no bounds, was just below the surface, looking to break out. Here’s what he shared regarding the team’s trailing performance, Rift Rivals, and more.
As the first half of the split is wrapping up, Dignitas has recently suffered a losing streak. How has it affected you, if at all?
I’m a bit bummed out that we fell off around the middle, despite our strong start. I always believe in a strong finish, so it feels like I didn’t finish what I started.
When Dignitas got 5 wins in the beginning, the team looked convincing enough to compete for the first place. Why do you think it wasn’t the case since the middle?
I personally thought that we would struggle after the midway point. We have some internal issues we’re working on, and I feel bad because they won’t easily be fixed. If we address those issues, I’m certain that we could perform better in the second half.
Were there any specific teams that gave you the most trouble so far in the split?
Actually, I was more concerned about my team’s inconsistent form rather than worrying about what the opponent was doing. Right now, we don’t have much team synergy between top and jungle, but I believe we can easily improve with practice, not to mention it being my priority.
You’ll get a week off, thanks to Rift Rivals. Do you have any plans?
July 3rd is my birthday, and it feels different since it’s the first one I’ll be having in the US. I guess I still have my fans wishing me happy birthday. I was thinking about taking it easy, instead of practicing non-stop. It’s also become harder to find scrims because three teams have traveled abroad. I plan to rest up and get my head straight.
Which struggling teams do you think will rebound in the second half of the split?
I don’t really know which teams will rebound, but I personally hope P1 would be the one. I wish they would do well against other teams — oh, except when they’re playing us, of course.
TSM, C9, and P1 will be participating in Rift Rivals as NA representatives. Without playing favorites, which region — NA or EU — has an upper hand?
In terms of comparing NA and EU, I think NA has a little more edge. It could be because I’m playing in NA, but, objectively speaking, I sense that EU has more loose ends than NA does. Again, I don’t know if it’s because of the influx of Korean coaches in the league, but NA LCS matches these days seem to have fewer mistakes on both sides as well as clean closures with early snowballs taking effect. EU games, on the other hand, are still more of a disorganized ruckus.
Do you have any top laners in NA whom you consider a threat or those you don’t like to play against for any reason?
I believe I can win against anyone, and all top laners probably think the same. Call it a virtue of being a top laner, if you will. I’d like to keep playing against strong top laners in the future. On an unrelated note, I’m rooting for Ray, who transferred to C9, to do well.
Would you like to tell us about your mindset going into the second half of the split as well as any messages to fans?
It feels like someone slammed the breaks after starting out on a good foot. We’re stagnating. I’d like to promise that I’ll give my 100% whether we go up or down. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who feels this way, but I think Dignitas doesn’t have as many fans as other teams do. Still, I’m able to draw energy from those who remember me and cheer for me. Lastly, I’d like to ask the fans who have me in mind to not forget about me because it’s your support that keeps me going.