Longzhu Gaming’s AD Carry Kim “PraY” Jong-in said that he had a feeling the team’s rookie top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha was going to carry the team to a championship in Game 4 of the LCK summer split finals.
Longzhu defeated the returning champions SK Telecom T1 3-1 on Saturday, securing a qualification for this year’s world championship with a first place finish. In a video interview with Fomos after the match, PraY said that after some good plays in the top lane he had a feeling that Khan was going to carry.
“After losing Game 3 we were adjusting our drafts, and we had a positive feedback session,” he said. “We thought that it would be quite good for us if the drafting went as planned, and I felt like we won after we taking some advantages in the top lane. I was suddenly reminded of Huni dying a bunch of times as Rumble, so I had a strong feeling that Khan was going to carry us.”
Khan’s Jayce in Game 4 was a monster, crushing the Cho’gath pick from SKT, which is much more in-line with the current tank meta. With consistent gank pressure in the top lane to get Khan more ahead, Khan was a threat throughout the game, dishing out massive damage in individual and team fights. Khan ended the game with six kills and one death, compared to Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon’s zero kills and four deaths.
Longzhu’s top lane drafts also bucked the current tank meta, as Khan didn’t play a single tank in all four of the games. According to PraY, it’s not unhealthy to pick lane-dominant champions in the top lane as long as the team is drafting to make a strategy work.
“The meta right now is commonly referred to as the ‘Tank Meta,’ but I don’t think that means you have to play a tank,” he said. “For instance Smeb (Song Kyung-ho) was bucking a similar trend when we were a part of the ROX Tigers. I think we focused on bottom lane picks that can stand their ground so that we could create a strategy of funneling resources to the top lane today.”
For PraY, much more was on the line than just a second LCK championship and qualification for this year’s worlds. Winning the finals against SKT also meant that he would be able to take a small vacation before the team goes back to the grind, thanks to an automatical qualification to worlds.
“What made me want to win so badly today was my want to take some time off,” he said with a relieved smile. “We’ve been playing for a long period and if we lost, we would automatically have to enter the regional in order to make it to worlds, giving us very little time to rest. I was thinking that I really wanted to take a much needed vacation, and I think that added to my desperation to win.”
The climb of Longzhu as a team was also accompanied by the individual growth of the bottom lane with PraY and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyun. PraY said that the 2017 season gave him the motivation to improve his communication with his support in particular, following the transfer period after last year’s worlds.
“I’ve been playing with GorillA for two seasons now, but I’ve never thought we needed to communicate that much,” he said. “This season though, I think that we were able to become the bottom lane to a strong team thanks to improved communication. I felt like I was being pushed down in terms of priority during the transfer period, and I didn’t like that feeling at all. So I worked on my communication a lot so I could show everyone how good I can be. GorillA was able to work with me very well, which led to better synergy and great games, and I’m very thankful for that. I hope we can continue to do well and win worlds.”