KT Rolster have caused the upset of LCK Summer 2020 so far, taking down DRX without support Park “Tusin” Jong-ik. For super sub Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong though, he felt more comfortable with the replacement they prepared though, despite him not being a support main.
KT Rolster were hamstrung in their matchup against ladder leaders DRX on LCK Summer 2020 Week 4’s opening night. Without star support Tusin, the team felt destined to a 0-2 loss, especially without an adequate substitute. However, SoHwan stepped up to the plate in style.
In his second appearance of LCK Summer 2020, the top laner filled in for Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, who played support in Tusin’s absence. With the odds stacked against them, the veteran KT lineup managed to pull out their third victory of the season — and hand DRX their first loss.
Smeb was forced into the bot lane due to Tusin being sick. However, he looked like a professional from the get-go. Getting Maokai all three games — a comfort champion for a top laner like Smeb — certainly helped. However, he did manage to pilot it to perfection alongside Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram’s Ashe and Senna.
This gave SoHwan another chance to show the magic he once had on Jin Air and Hanwha Life. Up against young star Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, on paper it should have been a landslide towards DRX. However, Doran was having an off night, and SoHwan capitalized.
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In Game 1, his Kennen was key in helping decimate DRX in teamfights, as he claimed his first POG for the season. While he had a rough Game 2 into Doran’s Camille, he bounced back in Game 3 by shutting down the enemy Volibear repeatedly.
It wasn’t just a big night for SoHwan, who got his first win on stage this Summer, but it was also huge for Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon. The mid laner prodigy of yesteryear managed to put together a POG worthy performance in Game 3 on Twisted Fate, with the global pressure of the Card Master partnered with Senna being too much for DRX to handle.
It wasn’t just one game the one-time Worlds attendee popped off on. His Karma in Game 1 helped keep DRX’s dive-heavy composition at bay, while despite losing in Game 2, his Orianna was serviceable.
The victory was extraordinary. In arguably the biggest upset this year in the LCK, a middling KT Rolster without their expert support managed to role swap their way to victory against an undefeated DRX, and SoHwan let everyone know about it in the post-game interview.
“It feels really good to take the victory. Never in a million years did I dream of playing with Smeb, so it’s quite a new feeling,” he told the casters, as translated by Inven.
SoHwan, who was struggling earlier in the split, and also in Spring before the move to online play, finally showed his true colors on the LoL Park stage. Given the high-stakes nature of the game, and the daunting proposition of DRX to overcome, it was expected KT would just kneel over. But SoHwan, with a fresh new mindset, had other ideas.
“I am managing myself quite well, both mentally and physically. I think I felt more comfortable in today’s series. Perhaps it’s because I was playing with Smeb,” he said.
“There’s a clear difference in playing with an actual support player. I’m not going to flame Tusin in any way. Smeb did find the right angles to go in, he gave me the right TP calls, so I definitely was comfortable.”
Ucal took a much more conservative approach to the result. Despite the team’s nerves heading into the game without Tusin, they managed to rally together and just focus on hitting the Nexus without looking at the nameplates.
“Because DRX was undefeated coming into this series, I think that the entire team was quite anxious,” he told the casters.
“Before the match, our head coach, Hirai, told us, ‘If you’re going to be scared to face a certain team, you’re not qualified to be a pro. I don’t care if you win or lose, as long as you gave it your all, that’s all that matters.’ That really helped us gather ourselves mentally.”
Now, KT find themselves in the unlikely position of finishing the first half of Summer 2020 with a positive record. While they were seemingly destined to go potentially six games down, with Sandbox and T1 on the horizon, anything is possible off the back of their DRX victory. Although, if SoHwan has anything to say, Tusin may not have a spot when he gets better.
“Tusin, I hope that you do get better really soon, and you better be on your toes when you recover,” he laughed.
KT Rolster take on Sandbox on July 10.