The opening match of HGC Korea took place between reigning world champions L5 [formerly known as Ballistix] and newly formed amateur squad Supreme Mixtape (SMT). Most experts had predicted the faceoff to be a blowout, as SMT is considered to be one of the weakest teams in the league. These expectations turned out to be on point, as L5 ran over SMT in a mostly clinical 3-0 sweep.
Since coming back from China with two international championships in hand, Seungchul “sCsC” Kim had confessed to being worried about the heightened pressure his team would play with going forward. During our phone call for the post-match interview, however, sCsC sounded quite jovial and lighthearted.
When asked about his thoughts on today’s games, sCsC burst into joyful laughter. “I really had fun playing – I think we all did, especially after we won the second game,” he shared. Despite concerns of increased pressure, L5 had clearly craved to resume competing.
One of the talking points of the match was L5’s decision to first ban Valla over Zarya in Game 3, and sCsC was happy to provide some insight. “After we won Game 2, we felt we would close 3-0 no matter what unless they got to pick something as flat-out broken as Tassadar + Valla. That’s why we banned Valla instead of Zarya.”
I also had to inquire about the sudden emergence of Falstad as a priority pick in Korea. Knowing how NaCHoJin has been spamming the bird in Hero League lately, I wondered if it was more of a pocket pick than anything else. sCsC explained: “It was actually MVP Black who returned Falstad to the meta. They have been shifting the focus of the game to macro map movements again, and all other teams have been picking up their style.”
It will be interesting to see if the next two days of HGC Korea’s Week 1 will continue to feature this much Falstad.