Dignitas’ new top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho has been part of KT Rolster since 2013, jumping from Bullets to Arrows until the sister teams were banned. One of the more celebrated top laners in League Champions Korea, he played a part in the Arrows winning the 2014 summer split, and was the overall MVP of the 2015 summer split with the most amount of MVP points.
Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Ssumday (in Korean and translated to English) to talk about the move to North America.
Andrew Kim: When talking about Ssumday, KT has always been brought up in the same breath. How did you come to the decision to join North America?
Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho: I wasn’t able to win the LCK in 2016, even though it was a close game in the finals of the regional qualifiers. We weren’t able to make it to worlds, and I thought that both KT Rolster and I needed a large change. Taking all of that in consideration, I chose to challenge myself with a new region.
AK: Why did you choose Dignitas? I imagine you have received many offers.
KCH: Dignitas really seemed to want me, and I gained a lot of faith in both the Korean coaching staff and the Korean player coming with me. They appealed to me a lot. I also expect that Dignitas will be very supportive since they do have the backing of an NBA team.
AK: This is your first region change after years of playing in Korea. Do you have any expectations or concerns about North America?
KCH: I’m not that great at English so I am a little concerned that I will have to spend time learning it, but on the other hand I think it’ll be a fun experience. Also moving to a foreign region gives me a lot of new feelings as well as experiences. I was also curious what abilities or potential I can show in a different region as well. I also look forward to meet the fans of the NA LCS.
AK: The NA LCS rosters are almost all locked in for the next season. If you looked at the top lanes of other teams, how do you think you’ll measure up?
KCH: I don’t think it would be that difficult. I think I can win against anyone as long as I concentrate on what I’m doing and focus on winning.
AK: You mentioned English concerns before, so how do you plan to study English?
KCH: I find that learning new things are fun and interesting, so I don’t think the process will be that difficult. The team also told me that they would look for a teacher, and I also plan to better my skills by communicating with foreign fans as I stream in NA. I have experience streaming on a platform called Longzhu TV, and I learned basic Chinese with that, so I’m not giving it too much thought.
AK: You are a very popular player in Korea, and I feel that some fans might be disappointed in your move. Did you give that perspective of your region switch some thought?
KCH: Of course I thought a lot about the fan’s perspective. Playing in the NA LCS away from Korea could obviously result in fans losing interest in me, and I find the idea of being forgotten very terrifying. Although I have those concerns, I think that the people who will remember me will do so no matter what, and because I will meet the fans in the NA LCS, I think it’ll be OK if I actively talk with my Korean fan base even when I’m in NA.
AK: The new Super-KT Rolster lineup has been gathering a lot of expectations from domestic and foreign fans. What were your thoughts when the new lineup was revealed? Did you look back at all?
KCH: KT Rolster isn’t an organization that has bad support, so I think it’s natural for them to sign on god players. Since they will still have Score at the center of the team, good players attract other good players. Of course you will have to see how they will play, but I did read a lot of the articles about it.
AK: Do you have any goals as you come to a new region and a new team?
KCH: The obvious goal is to make it to worlds. Outside of that, I want to study English enough that I can have a fluent conversation with anyone here. I hope I get along with the rest of the team, and I look forward to talking with the fans.
AK: Do you have anything you’d like to say to the NA fans?
KCH: This is my first venture into NA, and although I have a lot of things to learn I hope the fans look at me favorably. I’ll be there soon so hang tight.
Cover photo courtesy of Team Dignitas