On 6th of January 2018, it was announced that SKT will launch a new PUBG team, and it will be led by former SKT T1 head coach Choi “cCarter” Byung-hoon. After 2017 World Championships, cCarter resigned from SKT T1 League of Legends team.
In his interview with FOMOS with Choi “Minimaxi” Min-sook, cCarter talked about his time in SKT T1, the reason for his resignation, as well as the fateful Worlds finals between SKT T1 and Samsung Galaxy. Ashley Kang translated cCarter’s FOMOS interview for the English speaking SKT T1 fans.
It’s been more than a month since you resigned as the head coach of SKT T1 League of Legends team. “It’s been a year.” How have you been?
I spent time with my kids at home. People might say I’m taking a break, but looking after kids is actually harder. (Laughs) I came to coach a LoL team soon after I got married, and this time I managed to find a time to travel with my wife. My wife is happy to see that I’m at peace. I was originally going to resign from coaching after 2016. At that time, my wife told me that maybe I should give it another year. But this time, when again I told my wife that I’d like to resign, she told me to take a break without worrying.
Why had you decided to leave League of Legends after 2016?
2016 was personally a difficult year for me, and the team needed a change. Partially because of my wife’s wish, and partially because of other factors, I decided to stay another year. The management wanted me for another year, and the players still wanted to win again.
2017 continued to be another difficult year. The players were still passionate to win, but I personally was burnt out. It was during the spring split that I gave the management my resignation. No matter how many titles we were winning at the time, I felt like the team itself was stagnating.
Now that I look back, I feel apologetic to the players and the coaching staff. SKT T1 fans were disappointed in us this year, even though we had made it to every single finals except for KeSPA Cup. If I had been more desperate and worked harder and better, maybe the results would have been better.
When did you tell the SKT T1 Players that you will be resigning?
During the spring split, I told no one but the management that I will be resigning; during the summer split, I also shared the news with Kim “kkOma” Jung-gyun. I only told the players the moments after the World Championships final. Both the players and the coaches had suffered mental collapse after the results, we weren’t o.k. I don’t remember everything in full detail, bu I remember Kang “Blank” Sun-koo crying. I had a time to catch up with him and talk through with him when we returned to Korea.
Many things happened for SKT T1 in 2017. Bae “Bang” Jun-sik was publically criticized for his behavior in his personal stream and his performance in Worlds. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk burst into tears when he lost Worlds.
For Bang – Even if it was in his personal stream, he had to show a better behavior, something that the coaching staff also let slip. I don’t think his performance dropped because of the public criticisms, though. I think he was just weary overall. If you keep whipping the horse to make the chariot go faster, at some point the horse will be hurt and tired. Players could not keep up with the demand and the push of the coaching staff, their passion drained away and their motivation became blurry – many factors came into play. Maybe the coaching staff had to do something; but if we had pushed the players any further, they may have actually decided to retire. SKT T1 players are under a lot of spotlight, and criticisms hit them harsher; so I think it’s amazing that even now the players are practicing hard.
Of Faker – I think he shed tears for many, many reasons. I think Faker had times in the past when he felt just as frustrated, but I think it had been building up all this time and exploded right after the finals match. Maybe he wanted to blame someone in his moment of overwhelming regret, asking himself if we had been more prepared as a team the outcome would have been better. Maybe he was finally showing a glimpse how weary he had been feeling all this time. I’m not a psychic, I cannot speak for what is inside Faker’s head. Faker is a player who practices a lot of self-restraint, around his life and his emotions, and he finally managed to let his emotions go; he’s a kind of player who will do even better from now. He will show great performance in 2018.
You came 2nd place in 2017 World Championships, it was your final result as SKT T1 coach. How did you feel about that final mark?
I do believe that we were well prepared for the final match, so I was regretful of the results. For our previous final matches, maybe we were lucky, we managed to avoid bad variables; but in 2017 World Championships final, all the variables played against us and everything we had been worried about came to reality.
But I wasn’t angry or felt the results were unfair. Samsung Galaxy showed a good performance, the better team won the day. I was only regretful for the players; the player who were trapped in the hotels rooms for a month during Worlds, doing nothing but practicing LoL; the players who had game 5 matches even up to Semi-finals and had climbed to finals so difficultly. I was regretful that they were not able to show their full potential and performance for that particular match, but was not upset about the lose itself.