Although SK Telecom T1 had its back to the wall after a 0-2 start to its League Champions Korea semifinal match against KT Rolster, Bae “Bang” Jun-sik said the team’s spirits were still high.
SKT pulled off the reverse sweep, coming back to defeat KT Rolster 3-2 on Saturday to qualify for both the LCK finals and the League of Legends World Championship. In a video interview with Fomos after the match, Bang said the team joked about doing just that before turning it into a reality.
“Faker, Wolf, and I made a lot of mistakes in Game 2, but we still said we thought we could win the match,” he said. “We joked around, saying, ‘Oh we already won this. We should stay on our toes since we can make it to the finals if we win one game.’ Everyone had the same feeling and we told each other that if we win one game, we’ll have the reverse sweep. We just had a great feeling about the match.”
Despite being one game away from dropping in the semifinals, Bang said that he found the series against KT to be thoroughly entertaining. With the whole team preparing for the match as much as possible, Bang said some pressure was lifted from the team’s shoulders, and that he’s been able to find the joy in playing professionally during this season. He famously said last year he was sick of playing League of Legends, but that no longer appears to be the case.
“I thought the games were fun today,” he said. “Playing with our prepared picks and bans was just strangely fun. I think it was so because we prepared the match to not have any regrets afterwards, which relieved us from some pressure…I think it was after the 2016 world championship, I was asked if I regretted becoming a professional gamer. At the time that was something I seriously thought a lot about, and I felt like I fell into a routine that year. I really just loved the industry as a whole, and I thought about how tough other professions would be if I had such trouble in the field that fits me so well, which I think turned into something positive for me.
“Gaming still does feel like work from time to time, but my mindset is still the same, that I need to do what I set out to do. Preparing for games and actually playing them can be tough and stressful, but winning matches — especially important ones like today — and doing interviews like this afterwards, is still a lot of fun for me in the end. I think games are fun.”
Going into the playoffs, the road for SKT wasn’t smooth. The reigning world champions would have to climb every rung of the SKT playoff ladder, as it entered the postseason in fourth place. Bang said the practice regiment was strict.
“Recently I’ve been living like a zombie, focusing only on the game,” he said. “I thought about and did nothing but play games, and weirdly enough, doing so actually reduced my stress. Just playing the game and thinking about the game all the time didn’t really allow me to think about anything else. With all of the main matches concluding in about two months, I want to show the fans good performances until the end, and I hope a lot of people feel happy while watching us play.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games