In the finals of the regional gauntlet, Samsung defeated KT Rolster 3-0 to grab its second worlds qualification in a row. In the post-match interview on stage, Crown was asked about what he thought about his own dedication this split, and he fought back tears while giving his answer.
“I started the summer thinking that I would work very hard, but looking back it seems like I didn’t work hard at all,” he said. “I think I was rewarded with today’s victory thanks to me telling myself that I should work hard again like the way I used to, perform well, and make it to worlds.”
Crown is the icon of hard work in the LCK, as he had a similar story last year when his team had to fight through the gauntlet for a spot at worlds. Often praised by his head coach and teammates for his dedication, his consistent performances have been considered the result of work ethic. Crown’s performances have been under suspicion recently, following Samsung’s underwhelming 3-0 loss against SK Telecom T1 in the playoffs. Despite his good performances in the regional, Crown made a bitter smile and said he was happy he “played like an actual human being” against KT.
Samsung’s mental leader Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong gave a brief look into how Samsung was able to pull off the 3-0 victory against KT. It all came down teamwork and a lot of mental exercises to stop the pressure from getting to the team.
“I think we don’t perform well when we’re under a lot of pressure, so we spent a lot of time on mental control,’ he said. “I kept trying to think that if we lose, we lose and that’s it. My team also adjusted themselves to my more defensive play style, and by playing on the same page I think we were able to have good teamwork.”
Ambition played tanky junglers with heavy amounts of crowd control in all three games, keeping the enemy back line in check by marking them. As Sejuani in Game 2, he was particularly effective in keeping Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho’s Kennen at bay, pushing him back. As one of the main factors that allowed Samsung to succeed in gauntlet this year, Ambition shared his thoughts on making it to worlds.
“It feels great, even more so than making it to the finals of worlds,” he said. “So much was on the line so the match was all the more thrilling, and I think it’s good that I can experience this feeling every year.”
Samsung’s entry into worlds this season is almost identical to last year’s, qualifying after a highly competitive regional final against KT, which was the favorite to win the past two years.
“If this was just a 3-0 stomp it would be different, but it was quite a dramatic victory like in the last game, so I almost cried,” Samsung support player Cho “CoreJJ” Yong-in said. “I guess I don’t feel like I have to cry today since we made it work last year too.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games