Afreeca’s Sangyoon on coach’s message against SKT: “Smile and keep a poker face even if we lose.”

The Afreeca Freecs have done it again with a shocking 2-0 sweep against SK Telecom T1 on Saturday, solidifying claims that  head coach Kang Hyun-Jong is SKT’s kryptonite. The Freecs showed their aggressive fight-centric play style and managed to beat down SKT, and the MVP nods went to AD Carry Kwon “Sangyoon” Sang-Yoon and mid laner Son “Mickey” Young-Min. In a live post-match interview with caster Lee “CloudTemplar” Hyun-Woo and Kim Dong-Jun,Sangyoon talked how made his surprise Kog’Maw pick.

“We didn’t practice Kog’Maw at all,” he said. “Exactly two days ago, Ku “Imp” Seung-Bin changed his item builds on Kog’Maw and he looked really good. Yesterday I told the team I would try him in a practice game, and I functionally only played one scrim as Kog’Maw. However, I got this feeling today that I should play him so I told the team that I was really feeling it and that I should play Kog’Maw.”

With head coach Kang, now with a reputation as the man who took down SKT again, Sangyoon said that the head coach’s magic was very psychologically influential.

“He just told us to play what we prepared and go into the game comfortably,” he said. “Rather than saying that we have to win, it felt like he was telling us to show them everything we got and play with confidence. He told us to smile and keep a poker face even if we lose.”

He also talked more about the benefits of playing Kog’Maw as an ADC, citing that Kog’Maw’s damage per second is incredibly high, and can “melt his opponents like ice cream” after a certain point in his build.

Mickey also showed some solid play as Vladimir in the mid lane, and even he had some similar reasons to Sangyoon as to why he chose the blood mage.

“I wasn’t planning on going for Vlad today,” he said. “But I had a gut feeling that (Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyeok) was going to pick Azir. Being very confident in my Vladimir play against Azir, I told my team that I was going for it. I feel that as long as you don’t give your opponent a blue buff, Vladimir wins out in fights.”

Another memorable moment in the game was the sneaky baron with only two members of Afreeca, while both carries were not present until SKT went for dragon. The acting job of Sangyoon in particular was impressive.

“(Nam “LirA” Tae-Yu) made that call,” Sangyoon said. “He told the team that only two people need to start it out (until SKT goes for something else). I made sure to act like nothing was happening while bobbing in and out of top lane and hitting a nearby pink ward. Hitting that pink ward was the key (to my acting).”

Slingshot staff writer and Korean League of Legends expert who also owns a Pikachu-themed iPhone case. You can reach him at Andrew@slingshotesports.com

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