On the 20th, DAMWON Gaming took down all three of their opponents in the group stages to qualify for the quarterfinals of the 2019 LoL World Championship as the 1st place team in group D. With today’s results, all three of the LCK teams have made it into the quarterfinals as the 1st place team in their respective groups.
Bang, Inven Global’s special correspondent had a chance to chat with the ADC for DAMWON, Sin ‘Nuclear’ Jeong-hyeon backstage to talk about today’s victories, and how far his squad hopes to make it in the tournament.
Congratulations on your victory. How do you feel to make it into the quarterfinals as the 1st place team of your group?
We really didn’t expect to make it as the 1st place team among such tough opponents, so I think we were very lucky. Also, my teammates were very composed while on stage, so that played a big part in producing such results.
You’ve mentioned that there were a lot of strong teams, so which team did you think was the toughest?
As everyone knows, IG is the defending world champion, so I thought they were the toughest.
You’ve defeated IG 2-0, but you went 1-1 against TL. Did you also expect TL to be as strong as IG?
We knew TL were strong, but we didn’t think they were as tough as IG, so we knew they were a team we could definitely beat. We were confident, but since the first match against them was our first match in the group stages, there were a lot of mistakes both in draft and in-game against TL.
Is there a game where you felt like you’ve performed the best?
I can’t really say for sure, but today, I didn’t die as much and everything went smoothly. It’s been hectic, so I can’t exactly remember.
Coach Kim was with IG last year, so how much of a help has he been in preparation against IG?
He took extra care in our match vs IG. He told us that he knew them very well, and told us to just have complete faith in him.
As of today, all three LCK teams have advanced to the quarterfinals as the 1st place of their respective groups, and I’m sure that you’ve all been a big help to one another through scrims and what not. LCK, as a region, underperformed last year at Worlds, so did you expect all the teams to move on as the 1st place team?
I can’t go into details about the scrims, but generally speaking, I felt that the LCK teams were performing at a higher level than the other teams, so I kind of expected such results.
*Note: This interview was conducted before the quarterfinals draw*
Since all the LCK teams are 1st in their group, you won’t meet them until semis or finals. Is there a team you’d like or hate to meet in the quarterfinals?
I think SKT’s really strong, so I’m glad I’m not meeting them in the quarterfinals. As for the team I want to meet, definitely Fnatic, because back when I was in Europe, I lost to them in the gauntlet, so I want my revenge.
Speaking of the gauntlet, you’ve made it to Worlds for the first time via the gauntlet. How do you feel about being here, and how far do you hope to make it into the tournament?
To be honest, we kept saying that it’s a big achievement to just make it into the quarterfinals, but our journey so far has been easier than we initially thought, so I want to now aim for the championship trophy.
On a scale from 1 to 5, how happy are you to make it into the quarterfinals?
4.3? I think you’re definitely going to make it all the way to the finals! Usually, strong teams go, “We were expecting such results.” Is that how you feel at the moment? Or were you initially aiming higher?
(Laughter) Well, during the first 3 days of our group stage games, we somewhat expected to advance to the quarterfinals, so I’m not overwhelmed with joy, but I felt that at this rate, we could aim for the finals. But if I say this, I might jinx myself, so I’ll just say that I want to make it to the finals.
Although there’s still a long road to the finals, if you were to take this time to reflect back on your tenure at Worlds, who’d you like to thank?
I want to first thank Coach Kim, who’s been a big help, especially against our toughest opponent, IG. Although our Head Coach, Micro, couldn’t be with us here, he gave us good advice in mentally preparing all the players and the coaching staff. I want to thank him as well, and the rest of our coaching staff has also been a big help. Lastly, our handler has been very accommodating to our needs in Europe, so we were able to adjust here very quickly. I’m really grateful for all that work as well. Thank you very much.
What about your fans (laughter)?
Ah! Sorry, there were too many people to thank… As for the fans, there are some that even came all the way here from Korea to give us their support. I want to especially thank them for coming to Europe just to cheer for us. I want to also thank the fans back home for their support. Without you, we probably wouldn’t have made it all the way here.