Before Worlds 2017, Riot Games set off around the globe to capture video stories of the best players competing at the event. Each video was titled after a word that encapsulated the emotions of the player.
For Samsung Galaxy mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho, that word was “resilience.” His team had come up just short the year before, losing a heartbreaking five-set finale to fellow LCK squad SK Telecom T1. But after resiliently fighting through another season, Samsung did it—they dethroned the two-time defending champs in a three-game sweep.
For Crown, though, that victory didn’t bring much solace. In an AMA on Reddit last Thursday, he revealed that after winning Worlds, he fell into a state of depression that he couldn’t explain. It got so bad that he couldn’t concentrate in practice, or even on stage.
This year, he’s been in-and-out of the lineup as the team, now renamed as Gen.G Esports, has brought in a new starter: longtime KT mid Song “Fly” Yong-jun. That hasn’t caused too much tension for Crown though, who’s focused on improving his own skill level.
“With Fly’s success in Gen.G., I really thank him for our team as [a] teammate,” Crown said. “It is really good for me to have him in the team. Outside, people might think that we are rivals and we check each other too much, but personally I don’t think [of] it that way.”
It hasn’t just been Crown who’s been inconsistent for Gen.G. After losing 0-2 in the playoff tiebreaker to Afreeca, the team has an uphill climb to make it back to Worlds. Crown compared their Worlds chances to the weather: Unpredictable.
The AMA wasn’t all serious, however. When asked which League champion he would date, he replied, “LeBlanc. The reason is because, if LeBlanc [existed] in reality I think her personality will be tough. She will lead me.”
Crown also had an interesting opinion of the best mid laners globally, noting that his top three would consist of SKT’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, along with Song “Rookie” Eu-jin from the LPL’s Invictus Gaming and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg from North America’s TSM.
Rookie is an easy choice for that list: He’s been styling on LPL foes all year. Faker makes sense as well—despite a down year for SKT, Faker proved he’s still amazing at the Asian Games last week. Crown noted that he used to envy Faker’s worldwide fame, but now he actually feels sad for how much attention his fellow mid laner gets.
But Crown’s respect for Bjergsen is interesting, especially with so many other LCK mid laners—Kingzone’s Gwak “BDD” Go-seong comes to mind—playing well. Crown has played and scrimmed against TSM for each of the last two Worlds. Maybe Bjergsen earned Crown’s regard in those meetings, or maybe Crown’s just trolling, as some Koreans are known to do.
We’ll see in the LCK gauntlet in September whether Crown and Gen.G can make it back to Worlds for the third year in a row. With TSM finally playing well again in North America, maybe we could even see more battles between Crown and Bjergsen.