On the 11th (KST), in the final match of the 2020 LCK Spring Split Promotions/Relegations, Hanwha Life Esports defeated Jin Air Green Wings 3-0 and managed to stay in the LCK. In the postmatch interview during the broadcast, head coach Kang “OnAir” Hyun-jong became somewhat emotional. OnAir and Gwon “Sangyoon” Sang-yun visited the media room to talk about today and their plans for next year.
How do you feel winning and surviving today?
OnAir: It was my first relegation match. I thought that preparing for such an event is really difficult. I talked with a coach today, and he said that preparing for promotions/relegations is harder than preparing for the finals. In the final, even if you lose, you’re runner-up, but if you lose in promotions/relegations, you head to Challengers Korea. It was a hard time, but my players did well so we were able to have positive results.
You became emotional in the broadcast interview.
OnAir: The tears I shed weren’t tears of joy. Today’s match was against Jin Air’s head coach H-Dragon and top laner Lindarang - people who I’ve been with for a long time. Rather than being happy for winning, I was worried about my friends. They were beside me for long, but thinking that they’re now going far away, I suddenly became emotional.
What did you ask your players to do before the match?
OnAir: Our match ended late last night; it was past midnight when we arrived at the team house. For today, I said let’s just think we’re going to a scrim. I told them to think about today’s match as just another routine everyday schedule.
What was the most regretful during this entire split?
OnAir: From the first match to the last, there isn’t a single match that I have no regrets in. I think it was the most difficult season for me. Not because we fell to Promotions/Relegations, but that this summer split itself was too fierce.
Sangyoon: The first thing that comes to mind is our game against SANDBOX. We were winning but the game was turned around. Before that match, our coaching staff told us to utilize all three lanes, but we weren’t able to do so in the match and lost as a result. That match suddenly comes to mind.
It was difficult from the first match in the Promotions/Relegations.
OnAir: Team Dynamics had signed GgooNg and they only had old matches for us to analyze. I thought it would be easier to face APK Prince who had played until more recently. Ikksu is also a player that I had experience with, along with Sangyoon. We knew about his versatility, but we thought we would be able to deal with it well, so we picked them. It’s true that we lost because APK Price was good.
Sangyoon: Preparing for the Promotions/Relegations wasn’t that hard, but the pressure after losing the first match was insane. I think it was because of the thought that we would be REALLY falling if we lose again.
What did you think after having to go to the losers’ match?
Sangyoon: I watched Team Dynamics’ matches but I didn’t think they were very good. I thought if we win that match, and stay concentrated, we would be able to survive. Dynamics suddenly changed their mid… Personally, I don’t like players being changed whether it’s our team or the opponent team, and for them, it seemed like a bad choice. Actually, our head coach wanted to pick Dynamics because he likes textbook macro, but the players wanted to pick APK.
Were you confident in facing Jin Air?
Sangyoon: Before today’s match, our head coach asked us if we would have feared Jin Air if it was the regular season. After hearing that, we thought that we wouldn’t. We were ahead in the actual match record against them, so we gained confidence.
When you were setting up, Sangyoon was acting as the mood maker.
Sangyoon: I wanted to have my teammates relax more, relieve them from the pressure of it being the last match. I tried to cheer them all up.
OnAir: Sangyoon tried to liven up the mood more than other days.
How will you be preparing for next year?
OnAir: We would have to prepare for next year actually from now. I think we’ll open many doors in preparation. I’ll be talking with the team office and the players a lot so that our preparation can be solid. As for changes in the roster, I do have some ideas. It’s not that I’m opposed to signing players. There are many things to consider to sign an A or S class player such as time or ideas.
Any last comments?
Sangyoon: I want to thank the fans that cheered for us even though our results were bad. I felt that being 6th is a very happy thing. For next year, I’ll really do my best, put in more effort so that we can get higher up than 6th. Since we’ve experienced the bad, I’ll do my best so that it doesn’t happen again. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
OnAir: Happy Thanksgiving. I’m sorry for getting emotional during the broadcast today. I’ll prepare for next season well so that you won’t be too anxious while watching Hanwha Life Esports.