Ssumday believes in 100 Thieves' future despite second place finish
Ssumday and Closer
Ssumday's victory against Team Liquid. | Provided by LCS

Ssumday believes in 100 Thieves’ future despite second place finish

A painful loss makes Ssumday look forward to the summer split

100 Thieves gave an early 2-0 lead to Team Liquid during the second round of the 2022 LCS spring playoffs. But, in the next stretch of three nail biting games, Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho returned to the champion that helped carry 100 Thieves so far in the first place: Ornn.

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Ssumday had proved he could play Ornn into any matchup, which is why 100 Thieves first picked it in four of the five games they played against Team Liquid.

Ssumday faced a bruiser like Aatrox? No problem. Poked out early by Lucian? Ssumday still found initiations in the mid-game. Even when the enemy Shen could teleport across the map for a key play, Ssumday trusted Ornn because the champion’s consistency is what his team needed. That, according to 100 Thieves general manager Christopher “PapaSmithy” Smith, is Ssumday’s real strength.

“He’ll never have an ego about whichever job he needs to do on the day as long as it picks up a victory,” PapaSmithy said. “So, he makes draft easy.”

Ssumday embodies that attitude outside the draft, too, particularly in that back and forth Game 5 against Team Liquid.

Fans watched more than 30 minutes in as, with the game on a knife’s edge, 100 Thieves mid laner Felix “Abbedagge” Braun secured the win with a Twisted Fate Destiny ultimate that teleported him to Team Liquid’s open Nexus. As Abbedagge jumped from his seat and threw off his headphones following the backdoor victory, Ssumday ran to embrace the game’s apparent hero. However, according to Can “Closer” Çelik, Ssumday was actually the calming force in the tense moments of that win.

“Ssumday did a great job at keeping everyone calm and sticking to the plan,” Closer said. “Everyone knew the plan was always to backdoor them since they had an open nexus against Twisted Fate.”

While Ssumday may not always end up the center of attention, he serves as the comforting void behind the stars that allows the rest of his team to shine.

Eternally second place

Ssumday began building up his League of Legends skills back in Korea before the League of Legends Champions Korea league even existed. He played on KT Rolster Arrows and competed for a Worlds spot against the likes of Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok as early as 2014.

Despite winning the Champions 2014 summer split, his team did not have enough points to qualify for Worlds outright. KT Rolster Arrows then lost in a regional qualifier to Najin White Shield. He’d gotten close, but not close enough. In some ways, that’s the story of Sunday’s career.

Even when Ssumday made the shift over to North America in 2017, another Korean top laner was already waiting for him there: Jeong “Impact” Eon-young. An ex-world champion with SKT Telecom who had moved to North America a few years earlier, Impact had already attended an LCS final and would be representing the region for worlds.

On the other hand, Ssumday joined Dignitas, a middling team that ended their run at fourth that year. Despite Ssumday winning one of their battles in the 2017 LCS playoffs, Impact has always seemed a step ahead of Ssumday.

Impact vs Ssumday
The rivalry between Impact and Ssumday was one of the largest stories coming into the grand final, as both players have been competing against each other for nearly a decade. | Provided by LCS

In Sunday’s series against Evil Geniuses, Impact furthered that narrative by helping his team dismantle 100 Thieves in a 3-0 victory. A contributing factor in that win was Impact neutralizing Ssumday in the draft. He even brought out a Mordekaiser in the second game, a pick that Ssumday said he did not see coming.

“I told the coaching staff and players that if they pick Ornn, I want to play Mordekaiser,” Impact said in the post-game press conference. “I think 100 Thieves’ style is objective control and team fights, so I thought Mordekaiser was strong in those situations.”

On the other hand, while Ssumday did not see the Mordekaiser coming, he said that him and Impact have very similar champion pools. He said he wasn’t scared of the Mordekaiser pick as he had seen it before. The matchup simply came down to the fact that Impact played better on Sunday.

Committed to the future

Despite coming off a rough loss in the spring playoff grand final, Ssumday said he has always believed in the potential of 100 Thieves and the roster signed to the organization.

When 100 Thieves were at their lowest in 2019, getting last place in the LCS, Ssumday continued to stick with the organization. 100 Thieves rewarded him with a three-year contract in May, 2020 and, in an interview with Inven Global, he talked about how loyalty was a big factor in his decision.

“Looking back at my career, I’ve always been in one team, unless the team disbanded or something. In Korea, I was in KT, in NA, I was in Dignitas.” Ssumday said to Inven Global. “Dignitas didn’t make franchising, so I became a free agent back then, so I came to 100 Thieves. I felt that it would be better for me to stay in 100 Thieves. Everyone likes me and is friendly toward me. Personally, I’d like to become a franchise star of this organization, and it would be an honor if I can.”

Despite the loss to Evil Geniuses, 100 Thieves were one step away from being back-to-back LCS Champions, and Ssumday stressed that everyone around him still made up one of the best teams in the LCS.

“It sucks to lose and I didn’t expect it to go this way, to be stomped by EG, but I know we have really good players,” Ssumday said. “We have good coaches and we proved ourselves last summer.”

While 100 Thieves faced another hurdle on the path to establishing themselves as a winning dynasty in the LCS, the team’s future is still bright. They have proven their composure in the tensest situations against veteran teams like Team Liquid. And as the players around Ssumday continue to grow, he will, too.

Author
Image of Kenneth Utama
Kenneth Utama
The resident Dota player of the Upcomer Team that dips his toes into League, Melee and Pokemon. A chinese-indonesian living in Vancouver, Canada. Enjoys food, fashion and movies. Just another adult who decided it would be a good idea to start their own podcast