Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Dignitas’ Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho during the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS). They talked (in Korean and translated to English) about his play style, adding Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-hoon and being telepathic with his teammates.
Andrew Kim: The top lane has changed a bit in the summer split, as tanks were dominating the top lane in the spring but now we see some more damage dealing champions mixed in there. Do you feel more comfortable in the current meta?
Kim “Ssumday” Chan-Ho: Not just this season, but also last year saw tank top laners in the spring and carry tops in the summer, and I’ve been through it all of those times, so I think I can do whatever my team needs me to do. It is a bit more comfortable because I can be a bit more proactive.
AK: If you had to make a choice on which type might be more your style, which one is it?
KCH: Winning comes first, so it doesn’t really matter what champion I end up playing. But I do find it more comfortable on champions I can make things happen with.
AK: Your brand of competitiveness is unique because you may not give flashy or gutsy interviews, you always show up with your performance. Do you keep in mind the kind of mantra of doing, not talking?
KCH: I think the biggest part of that is just not being over-confident. There are examples of some players acting overly cocky and not doing all that well, and my personality is just one to try and not inconvenience someone else and focus on what I’m doing.
KCH: They are similar yet different. Chaser, for example, is much more fond of fighting with the other jungler and knows how to make good calls in the jungle. For Shrimp, he’s willing to sacrifice his own game for the lane.
AK: When we talked before the goal for communication in the team is just team-wide shot-calling. How do you feel about communication this split?
KCH: Compared to last split, I got better in English, we’ve spent more time together, so we know what we’re saying to each other, and we can even understand what we need almost telepathically. I think it’s much better this split.
AK: You mentioned telepathy, so was there a moment when you felt this unspoken connection with your team?
KCH: When we team fight, I feel that. If an opponent is a step out of line, someone on our team would immediately grab onto them and other things without having to be told what to do.
AK: The new scrim schedule has been pulled up to start at 10 a.m. and with two scrim blocks instead of three. Is it more comfortable for you to start at an earlier time?
KCH: When I was in Korea, there was a moment when they wanted to change the scrim scheduling, but it kind of fell through because it was too difficult. In NA, though, all the teams commit to that change, so I have to get used to it. I think it’s pretty good because after scrims there is some more time to play solo queue or stream. I also think it’s good health-wise because I’m kind of being made into a morning person.
AK: You streamed a lot in Korea with Afreeca, and now you stream on Twitch while in NA. Are there any differences between the two streaming platforms?
KCH: In Korea, there are many streams that ban emoticons because it can quickly be spammed, but in Twitch the viewers love to use emoticons like Pogchamp or lul. It’s kind of fun to see those pop up, and I think the Western audience is much more straightforward in the way they talk. It’s fun.
AK: Are you acclimating to it well? Any issues you had?
KCH: Of course, English was the largest (obstacle) in that regard, but I got a lot of viewers after winning as Lucian top. It feels kinda of good, and I want to stream more, but because of practice I haven’t been able to. I feel a bit sorry to the viewers.
AK: Where does your unique brand of competition come from?
KCH: I don’t want to be a burden to other people. I think it comes from that. Since this is a game of five people against five people, you can be a burden. Not only to the other players but also to the team as a whole, including myself. I also love to get praised, and when you do well, you naturally get praised. I think I’m balancing myself with the carrot and the stick.
AK: The team’s start for the summer split is certainly better than the spring, with coordination on the rise so far. Do you feel that kind of improvement personally?
KCH: Honestly I can’t really feel it that much, but the games are certainly going well. I think the meta change had a hand in that, and last split we started out 2-7 but climbed to 9-9. So I think maintaining this is the most important.
AK: I have this feeling that you don’t go on tilt or kind of looking like you’ve given up in the middle of a match. How do you keep yourself in check?
KCH: There was actually one time where I did go on tilt in the middle of a game, but I can’t say the reason in full. I have had situations where I go on tilt, not because of what happens in the game, but more so outside of it. I think I need to fix that part of myself, and I think my maintenance comes from experience. I am a quite open person, so I’ve been under a lot of criticism before, so now I am already ironclad in my mentality.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/Slingshot illustration