The best team in the world became even better. Samsung Galaxy looked indomitable in its 2-0 victory against MVP on Tuesday in the 2017 League of Legends KeSPA Cup quarterfinals.
"Even better. How did you guys get even better?" OGN caster Kim Dong-joon asked Samsung's coaching staff after the match, shaking his head in awe. "The team has become even more assertive and smart."
The coaches politely disagreed, causing Kim to snort loudly with an exasperated grin.
"I can't believe it!" he said. "You guys just won Worlds and you're still trying to be like that."
The coaching staff's self-effacing attitude seemed to be shared by the squad, particularly their mid laner. In his post-match interview with ESPN, Lee "Crown" Min-ho barely smiled as he recounted his Worlds experience.
"I wasn't satisfied with my performance at Worlds," he said.
He was still unhappy about his lackluster form at the start of the event. While he did improve as the tournament progressed, he said that only made him relieved, not proud. He was just glad that his long slump from summer onward had ended.
"My first thought after we won the whole thing? I don't think I had one. I sort of celebrated in a daze," he said. "I guess the first one was, 'We should go and shake hands.'"
When he went into SKT T1's booth to do so, he met the sight of Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok crying, crumpled in his chair with his face in his hands. But Crown wasn't too taken aback by the tears.
"In the sense that someone who had never shown much emotion was crying for the first time in public, yes, it was unexpected," he explained. "But I wasn't too surprised. All passionate people have those kinds of moments. I've cried a lot backstage, too."
Last April, Crown declared that he wasn't going to buy into public praise until he had won something truly meaningful. One would expect that he'd now be open to giving himself at least a pat on the back, having won the most meaningful championship of them all. But when asked about this, he firmly shook his head.
"One day. But not right now," he said. "I was only good in spring this year."
Perhaps he will be prouder of his accomplishments once he has had a while to think about them. Crown said he had really wanted to go on a long vacation after coming back from Beijing, but had yet to find the time.
"We did get some time off, but there were many scheduled things we had to come back for, like meetings and events, so I don't feel that well-rested," he said. "My parents live outside of Seoul, so I didn't get to spend that much time at home, either."
But despite his lingering fatigue from Worlds, he still was very happy to have met many of his foreign fans.
"I still remember the group of Chinese fans who made a huge 'Let's Go Samsung' LED sign, then brought it to every single game we played, all the way from the group stage to the grand finals," he recalled. "After we won, they were waiting for us at the front of our hotel when we got back, holding that very sign."
"I want to sincerely thank everyone who has cheered for us -- from Brazil, from America, from China, from Vietnam, from so many countries, from all around the world. I don't know how well we will perform next year, but I promise to continue to do my very best."