At the 2016 League of Legends World Championships, Group D looked tough for Samsung Galaxy. They were up against the enormously talented Royal Never Give Up and the great Western hope in Team SoloMid.
Yet despite all the pressure on their shoulders, Samsung Galaxy played their own game. They roamed heavily, skirmishing and picking up small leads throughout the map, snowballing them to victory.
And at the center of that was mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho and his legendary Viktor. In their Week 2 wins against both TSM and RNG, he got the Machine Herald and crushed everything in sight. He’s likely the best Viktor in the world at the moment, and it was even a shock to Crown that his opponents allowed him to play the champion.
“If I choose Viktor, I win,” he told Yahoo Esports with a smile.
The highest profile lane victory for the up-and-coming Korean star (who started his career playing in Brazil) was his absolute dominance over Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. The TSM mid may have made mechanical mistakes, but it’s rare that a player manages to give him as much trouble as Crown did.
And, he says, because he got so crushed in lane during their first matchup, the outplays were that much sweeter.
“He’s obviously a very strong player,” Crown said. “And facing him in the laning phase, it’s obvious that he is very skilled and strong in the laning phase… [Beating him] was a relief in my mind. I enjoyed myself. [laughs]”
He regrets being a key player in knocking the North American favorites out of the tournament, but mostly because he won’t get to play Bjergsen again.
“I personally like TSM, so I was looking forward to meeting them later in the quarters or semifinals,” he says. “I wanted to face Bjergsen again, but since he’s out, there’s no one left that I particularly want to face.”
He does believe that Group D went as it should have, though.
“I believe that the winner is always the stronger team,” he says. “RNG won, so that means they were the better team in that match. I want to compliment them properly.”
Now, he and the rest of SSG are looking forward to the knockout stages. Like any smart player, Crown knows that he will have to be prepared as the tournament wears on. He says that they have to stay humble, even after their 3-0 Week 2.
“I thinks my team is still low in the overall ranking,” he said. “I’m always reminding himself that we need to climb up high, but slowly… I don’t think that Korea is the best region for sure. I’m just not certain of it. I think that the overall level of play has grown by far.”
When asked about SSG’s chances going forward into the knockout stages, Crown took a moment and shook his head.
“Looking at this year’s Worlds, it’s really hard to predict anything as things go on,” he said. “Anything could happen.”
Taylor Cocke has never seen lasers that deadly. Follow him on Twitter @taylorcocke.