He's been hailed as many things, but the head coach of SK Telecom T1 has a road of recovery ahead of him after a rough 2018 for the most famous League of Legends team in the world. And so far, Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun has managed to start 2019 off on the right foot. We sat down with him to get his thoughts on a win over Kingzone, Sylas and more.
ESPN: Congratulations on the victory against Kingzone DragonX, kkOma. How do you feel about the victory?
kkOma: Kingzone was a team that has been riding the momentum of positive performances recently. It feels good to reverse sweep a formidable opponent.
ESPN: Let's talk about the Frostmancy strategy, which has been a central topic in the LCK this week. In the first game against Kingzone there were five players at a given time building Spellthief's Edges. What do you think about the Frostmancy strategy?
kkOma: We had considered and prepared for the Frostmancy strategy as we came into the match. When the lane phase [for Game 1] had ended, however, the opponent team was able to ward around the map and clear the sight with multiple Frostfangs. It was difficult for us to initiate against such a team. I believe that the game was tougher as a result.
ESPN: Riot will soon be hot-fixing the Frostmancy, and the strategy will no longer be viable from next week. However, you will have to face Gen.G before the hotfix kicks in for the LCK. Have you thought about how to prepare against an opponent if they decide to flex the Frostmancy strategy again?
kkOma: I believe that we immediately found ways to counter Frostmancy after Game 1. During the period leading up to the next match, we will have to continue to research so we may find even better ways to counter such a strategy.
ESPN: The champion Sylas has debuted for the LCK. He made two appearances at today's match, once for Kingzone and once for SKT. Both times, the team that locked in Sylas lost the given match. What are your thoughts on the champion in the current meta?
kkOma: We are open to the possibility of using Sylas in the future, so I cannot go into too many details about him. I do not think that he is a bad champion. He is a champion that I believe is worth continuing to look at. He is, however, a champion that does require some prerequisites in order to be utilized correctly, I believe.
ESPN: Despite losing Game 1, SKT kept its composure and was able to reverse sweep the match. It looks like SKT's teamwork and ability to close out games has been improving recently.
kkOma: I can confidently say that the teamwork between the players has been improving with time. That is one aspect that I am very satisfied with. However, there are still bits and pieces that we are lacking [around teamwork]. I believe that will have to keep improving in order to climb higher in the LCK ranking.
ESPN: At this point, you may regret the two losses SKT had at the early stages against SANDBOX Gaming and Griffin. How do you plan to close out the remainder of Round 1 of the spring split?
kkOma: No, Round 1 has not finished just yet ... Looking back to [Round 1] and looking at our losses, I believe that we will have to improve even further in order to have our revenge against these teams during Round 2. It is very important to think about how we will continue to improve our teamwork and progress further as a team during Round 2. As for the remaining matches at Round 1, I am of the opinion that we must win all of them.
ESPN: The 2019 Mid-Season Invitational was announced recently, the tournament taking place in Vietnam and Chinese Taipei in May. Has the announcement provided any motivation to the SKT squad?
kkOma: Long before the regions were announced, MSI was already an event that we wanted to attend at all costs. We were already working towards MSI even before the announcement was made. MSI is a privilege that is only given to the team that wins the spring split. The mere existence of MSI itself is already a powerful motivation for us.
ESPN: Thank you for the interview. Would you like to add any last words?
kkOma: I'd like to thank all the players that are listed on our roster. They are helping us in many different aspects ... Crazy, Haru, [Effort], Leo ... the players are all working hard to help the team, so I'd like to use this opportunity to thank them. These players are a big part of the recent improvement you have seen in the performance of [SKT].
Also, to the fans, the international fans -- I am aware of the amount of support that they always send to us. I'm working hard, so we may give them more reasons to smile with good performances from the team.