CoreJJ on SKT, reaching the world finals and NA solo queue

Samsung Galaxy has reached the finals of the League of Legends World Championship and will play fellow Korean team (and defending champion) SK Telecom T1 in Saturday’s final at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Samsung’s Cho “CoreJJ” Yong-In (in Korean and translated to English) after SSG’s 3-0 win against H2K to talk about the victory and set the stage for the grand final.

Andrew Kim: Congratulations on making it to the grand finals. How are you feeling right now?

Cho “CoreJJ” Yong-In: After seeing the bracket for quarters, I thought as long as we didn’t slip we could make it to the finals, and as we make it to the finals with back to back 3-0s, I feel that maybe we could even win the whole thing.

AK: On the topic of the support Miss Fortune, some pros have said in interviews that they have encountered it in Korean solo queue. Have you encountered it as well?

CYI: I’ve never encountered it nor have I ever played it. I just saw it yesterday and thought, “Hey that’s pretty good,” and played her. I’ve never tried her in scrims or anything, just solo queue because it seemed good and in game she played just as well.

AK: There was a lot of attention in the bot lane match up between Samsung and H2K. How did you survive such pressure in lane and win?

CYI: I think it’s because we’re straight up better. As I played I felt that there was a clear gap in skill. I remember FORG1VEN saying that we should play the game in a 2-v-2, but I think we played against a 2-v-3 and it wasn’t that tough.

AK: You took the match in a commanding 3-0 today. Did you expect to win in such dominating fashion?

CYI: If we could take Game 1, it would be because there is a clear gap in skill, so I didn’t think we’d drop a single game. If we were to lose, we would lose 0-3 because our opponents are that much better. But if we could win one game, I predicted a 3-0 victory. H2K is known for their strong laning phase and early game, and I thought if we could take one game off of them we would win no matter how the game would play out because we are much better at management. If we lost it would be because we got blown up in the early game, making the day difficult, but I think they’re just a one-pattern team so if we were to win, I thought it would be one sided.

AK: How was the practice regimen as you went further and further into the tournament?

CYI: I feel like the farther we go, the more motivated our players become. We start thinking, “Are we really in quarters? Semis? Finals? Could we even win?” And we then put even more effort in practice.

AK: Samsung has the image of a team made up of hard working new talent. How is it possible to create such results with a fairly new roster?

CYI: It’s true that we have a lot of new players, but that doesn’t reflect their skills. They always have the potential to become better players. As I was watching the summer split games as a sub, I learned how the team plays, how to make the team stronger, and what the team excels in. Even against strong teams, I think we’re a team that can not fall behind if we can play our own game. I think we got better as we started to realize this.

AK: With your experience in both North America and Korea, what do you think the practice environment is like in NA as opposed to KR?

CYI: I believe that a pro does well no matter what the conditions are like, so I don’t want to blame the environment or anything. When it comes to ping, it got a lot better as we moved closer to Chicago, and the differences in patch can’t be helped but is still disappointing.

AK: Who did you predict would win between SKT and the ROX Tigers?

CYI: I expected ROX to win because they looked so strong, but I feel like their usual skill wasn’t on display on the big stage, and SKT was also much stronger than we anticipated.

AK: SKT is very well know for being strong in a best-of-five series. How do you evaluate Samsung’s skills in a series?

CYI: We don’t have a lot of experience in that format, so I don’t really know but since we won both the quarters and semis with a 3-0, I think if we can show a good performance in the finals, I think some of the recognition (SKT has) on a best of series might come to us.

AK: Are you confident that you can win against SKT’s bot lane, one of the best in the world?

CYI: Yes. Even on the bench as a sub, I didn’t think anyone was better than me. When I watch other people’s games I’m not overly impressed either. (Park “Ruler” Jae-Hyeok) is a little rough around the edges, but he’s also very skilled and I believe he can match up against (Bae “Bang” Jun-Sik) so I think we’ll show a good match in the finals.

AK: With SKT vs. SSG locked in, what is the final result of the 2016 world championship?

CYI: It’ll be a 3-1 in the favor of Samsung. We have something special prepared, so I think we have a good chance. We didn’t think of anything specific, but I have a feeling. I think we’ll win.

Slingshot staff writer and Korean League of Legends expert who also owns a Pikachu-themed iPhone case.

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