One of the standout performers at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship has been Samsung Galaxy top laner Seong-jin “Cuvee” Lee. Playing in his first-ever Worlds, he helped lead Samsung to a surprising 5-1 group stage record and back-to-back knockout stage sweeps against Albus NoX Luna and H2K.
His 3.58 kills per game leads all top laners in the tournament, as does his involvement in 33 percent of First Bloods. He’s performed well on all of the meta champions in the tournament, playing Ekko, Kennen, Rumble, Poppy and Jayce, and has stood out for the sheer number of solo kills he has amassed against his opponents.
The Rift Herald caught up with Cuvee after Samsung’s sweep of H2K Saturday,
TRH: Did you expect at all for this series to go the way that it did?
Cuvee: I did anticipate that we would win, but I did not expect the games to go so easily.
TRH: Why do you think it ended up going the way it did?
Cuvee: We thought their laning was actually really good, and that they would not lose in lanes, but once we get to the mid-game and the late-game, our management of the game is just much better. So we just thought if we can get there, then we can win.
TRH: What was it like for you to be able to play at Madison Square Garden?
Cuvee: It was unbelievable to be playing the semifinals at such an awesome venue, and the crowd cheering was so loud. It actually put me under a lot of pressure.
TRH: Now you get to play at another world-class venue at the Staples Center, a place where SKT has won the final before. What does it mean to you to be able to play in a world final?
Cuvee: It’s only my first appearance at Worlds and I’m in the finals, so that’s unbelievable, and I want to consolidate good memories by winning the whole thing.
TRH: What do you think your team has to do to actually win against SKT?
Cuvee: In the laning phase, all our lanes must not lose, and in regards to game management, we want to move around the map more actively and try to capitalize on the enemy’s mistakes.
TRH: Let’s talk about the matchups from the H2K series. In the first game, it was Ekko vs. Kennen. What do you think is important to winning that match on the Ekko side?
Cuvee: The point is to just survive the laning phase and get to a point where you’re well-equipped with items and you’re split-pushing.
TRH: There was one point in that game where you teleported from the bottom lane to the top lane, but there were a lot of enemies there so you ulted back to the bottom lane and took the tower. What was going through your mind when that happened?
Cuvee: I think what was happening right then was the opponent was trying to pick off one of our players, and we wanted to counter that by joining faster and actually killing one of their players. But what happened was they dealt so much damage, that was unexpected, so I was like “Oh man, this is not going to work,” so I was like “get out, get out,” and my teammates were like “get out,” so I just ulted back and went back to split-pushing.
TRH: The second game for you was Jayce vs. Rumble. Were you surprised the Jayce was left open?
Cuvee: I wasn’t really surprised by the Jayce being open, because my mindset is I can always counter the opponents’ champion, and because I have something that I can blindpick as well.
TRH: Is the secret to the Jayce-Rumble matchup just that Jayce is broken right now or is there a specific tactic that you used?
Cuvee: I think it’s just that Jayce counters Rumble in mid-to-late game. As they get bigger and get items, Jayce beats Rumble, so I think I beat him just because of that.
TRH: In the third game we saw Poppy vs. Trundle. Trundle is often used as a counter pick against Poppy, but you somehow managed to win lane. How did you do that?
Cuvee: The key point is Poppy loses to Trundle because when Trundle ults, you just can’t beat him. The point is to not fight him when Trundle ults and just like avoid fights.
TRH: Now, I have to ask this as a Sion main. What would it take for Sion to be played in pro play, or is it just not possible?
Sion just doesn’t have any specific strength. His laning’s not strong, his late game’s not strong. For someone to use Sion in professional play, he’s going to need a lot of buffs.
TRH: If you do manage to beat SKT and win Worlds, which skin would you want?
Cuvee: My personal favorite champion is Irelia, so I wish they would make me a skin for her.