SK Telecom T1’s undefeated run at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational ended on Day 4 of the group stages when Taiwan’s Flash Wolves handed them their first loss of the tournament. SKT bounced back in their second game, beating Team SoloMid handily. Having already qualified for the knockout stage on Day 3, SKT are still indubitably the strongest team at the event and easy favorites to take the tournament.
After their win over TSM, Yahoo Esports caught up with mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok to talk about their loss, making mistakes, and why Flash Wolves seem to have a favorable matchup against SKT.
Today you lost your first game of this event. Take us through your loss to Flash Wolves.
We just made a lot of mistakes overall and that’s why we lost.
A lot of your teammates had said that SKT would go undefeated at this tournament. Did you agree with them and in a tournament where you’re this heavily favored, is it difficult to keep up your mentality?
I agree with my teammates that we could have gone undefeated if we didn’t make mistakes. But it’s really hard not to make mistakes, so it was hard for me to really believe that we would win all of our games. And in terms of our mentality, we just have to embrace that pressure and overcome it.
The Flash Wolves are one of the only teams in the world with a winning record against SKT. What do you think it is about the Flash Wolves that gives them the favorable matchup?
Flash Wolves’ gameplay is very stable. They know how to close out games, and against them we usually make mistakes. We make mistakes anyway, but against them it seems like we make more mistakes than other games. They’re really good at realizing them in order to beat us.
In your next game against Team SoloMid, you picked up the Fizz. Initially, since you lost to top Fizz against Flash Wolves, I thought it was something that Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon would pick up, since SKT are known for turning around picks that they lose against and playing them the next time. But you flexed the Fizz mid with a Galio top. We’ve seen more of this assassin/Galio combination today. Do you think this will become popular or standard pick in this meta?
We didn’t have any special reasons for picking the Fizz with the Galio in this game. In the current meta there are actually a lot of champions to choose from so we’re just trying to pick the ones that suit us the most in order to win.
At the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational, SKT struggled in the group stage but picked it up to win the entire tournament. This year, even with today’s loss, you’re still overwhelmingly favored. What is the largest difference from last year to this year?
Last year, every game we lost, the pressure built so we were under a lot of pressure to qualify. This year, we’ve already won enough games so I feel very relieved and comfortable.
Emily Rand’s love of the 2013 KT Rolster Bullets will never die. You can follow her on Twitter.