On the 8th of April (KST), Afreeca Freecs (AFs) defeated kt Rolster 3-1 in Round 3 of the 2018 LCK Spring Split playoffs and headed to the finals. AFs had an unsteady performance in game 1, but recovered their performance in the following games by playing champions like Malphite, Kai’Sa and Yasuo and won games 2-4.
The following is the interview with AFs head coach, Choi “iloveoov” Yeon-sung.
Related: AFs Kuro: "When the coaching staff told me to play Yasuo, I became so nervous."
Q. It’s the first time in AFs history to reach the finals. How do you feel?
I’m heading to the finals in three years as a head coach. I’m really happy because I haven’t been to the finals in a while. I think I’m happier because the process wasn’t that easy.
Q. You had a bad start by losing game 1.
We fell without putting up a good fight, but we tried to control our minds to be calm. I told the players to do what they can do without thinking of the outcome of the match too much. I tried to have the players maintain the mindset of before the game started.
Q. Do you think substituting Spirit with Mowgli was a good way of changing the flow?
One of the biggest aspects aimed for on substituting a player is changing the atmosphere. I make the decision thinking of the players’ style or condition. If I think substituting the player makes the possibility of our team winning by even just 1%, I change them.
Q. Why did you place most of your bans in the mid lane?
Ucal is a rookie. Rookies tend to have a good run and have a short slump before they rise again. I was wondering of how he’ll do when all his best mid lane champions were banned.
Q. Were picks like Malphite and Yasuo prepared?
Yes. Picks like Malphite and Yasuo are just a small piece of what we’ve been preparing. The draft went just right for those picks today, so we played them. Most of the time, the composition isn’t good for what we prepared. I thought Yasuo was a champion that can tear down the opponent when they’re starting to stumble so we picked him.
Q. Was playing Banner of Command as Karma’s first item also something prepared?
That was all prepared. We tried that repeatedly while we were practicing laning against Taliyah.
Q. You sent mid-ranked team to the finals in no time. Wasn’t it difficult?
At first, the most difficult thing was persuading the players to practice. It was my first time in the LoL scene. Still, I tried to have them understand the need of practice continuously; after they saw prowess and results getting better with practice, they understood and agreed. I was going to resign if I don’t get good results within this year. I think all went well because the players helped me a lot.
Q. The last game is against Kingzone DragonX. You didn’t have good results against them during the regular season.
I can put it this way; we had the unfavorable record against kt Rolster, too. He who laughs last laughs best.
Q. How will you prepare the remaining week to the finals?
We’ll always do as we’ve always done; we’re always overtraining so ‘as always’ is the maximum we can do. The players do feel tired, but I’ll have them full of energy through the results.
Q. Any last comments regarding the finals?
As the head coach, I always want to become champions, but when I say that, the people near me don’t react very well. (Laughs) So I always say that I’m aiming a bit higher than where we are. This time, we’re aiming a bit higher than 2nd place.
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