Once thought of as the second-place team in pre-MSI 2017 power rankings, Taiwan’s Flash Wolves were the final team to qualify for the bracket stage of the tournament after playing a tiebreaker match against Team SoloMid. After the match, Yahoo Esports caught up with top laner Yu “MMD” Lihong to talk about his performance and their upcoming series with SK Telecom T1
Congratulations on making it to the knockout stage. How are you feeling now that you and your team made it?
I feel very relieved. I don’t know what my teammates feel at this point but I think over the past few days, I was very conservative about my playstyle, very stressed, and I wasn’t able to play the best that I could. Going into semifinals I feel very relieved and happy. We’re definitely going to try our best and win.
Today was a very long day for you. You lost to Team SoloMid, then won, then had to play the tiebreaker, how did you stay positive after the loss and such a long day?
I think the reason that we’re always able to stay so optimistic is SwordArt. He always cheers us on during games. In hard matches he always is cheering, giving us hope, and telling us that there’s still a chance. I’d really like to thank him for that.
Is he the one that starts the famous Flash Wolves singing?
Actually no. We’re not singing this time. I was humming a few songs during champion select but I think it was messing up our tempo.
You were targeted by a lot of teams early in this tournament. How did you turn that around and improve your individual play?
I was very nervous and stressed in the early games. There were a lot of things I was able to do but decided not to do. In return, a lot of teams focused on me. I’d really like to thank the top laner from G2. One night I talked with him a lot and we played against each other, he taught me a lot and it helped build back my confidence. I’d really like to thank him.
Going forward, the Flash Wolves will face SK Telecom T1, who you have a winning record against in best-of-one matches. It will be a really tough match but are you excited at all to prove yourselves in a best-of-five against SKT?
I’d say that they’re very strong. They’re like monsters! We’re not going to let go of any chance of winning. As long as there’s hope we’re going to try our best.
We saw a lot of inconsistency across the group stage, including the Flash Wolves’ performances. Why do you think that was?
The level of play in this tournament, outside of SKT, for teams was all really similar. There’s also not very many counters to late-game ADs.
I’ve heard that you and your team are huge anime fans. If so, what is your favorite anime television series?
Haikyuu!! The whole idea of team spirit and being excited about actually playing the game is something I really love about it.
Emily Rand’s love of the 2013 KT Rolster Bullets will never die. You can follow her on Twitter.