GAM Esports managed to extend their stay in the 2023 League of Legends World Championship for at least another week by defeating North America’s Team Liquid 2-1 in the third round of the Swiss Stage.
Despite starting off their Swiss Stage showing on the wrong end by losing to both Korea’s Gen.G and Europe’s Fnatic, thanks to the contribution of players like top laner Trần "Kiaya" Duy Sang and mid-laner Đặng "Kati" Thanh Phê, the reigning VCS champions rebounded by dispatching one of North America’s representatives. As a result, they sit amongst the remaining 14 teams that still have a chance towards claiming the Summoner’s Cup in the event’s end.
Following GAM’s series against TL, BLIX caught up with Kiaya and Kati for an interview about how their result became possible and more.
Note: This interview was conducted shortly before the 1-2 Round 4 Swiss Stage draw on October 23 and before their elimination by Dplus on October 27.
Pedro Romero, BLIX: Congrats on beating Team Liquid and progressing further in this Swiss Stage. In defeating a team such as TL, what was the game plan for you and the rest of the team in trying to take them on?
Đặng "Kati" Thanh Phê: We have scrimmed with them before so we knew what their playstyle was going to be like so we were full of confidence.
BLIX: Piggybacking off of that, what was the thing that you identified from playing TL in those scrims that you then put to use for this series?
Trần "Kiaya" Duy Sang: In scrimming against them, we knew how their laning phase and team fighting was going to be so we took that and brought it to today's games and got a victory.
BLIX: I want to cover the headspace of the team as the series progressed, GAM won Game 1 but lost in Game 2 before eventually taking Game 3. When it came to you guys losing Game 2, what was the team's mentality like as you guys moved forward to Game 3?
Kati: We started the series full of confidence so the loss in Game 2 did not really affect us at all. We thought they played pretty well in the second game, but when we looked back at it, it was us who were making the mistakes so we thought it was a winnable game.
BLIX: I want to move the attention now to Kiaya. Your play in K'Sante was stupendous and one that garnered Player of the Series honors. How did you view your performance on that champion in Game 3 against Team Liquid?
Kiaya: I would say my K'Sante performance today was pretty good. As for why it's good, maybe it's because we were full of confidence stepping into this series and my team's confidence boosted my own confidence.
BLIX: Now to Kati, I want to know what was the transition and difference like for you to go from facing Humanoid and Chovy [Jeong Ji-hoon] and then to facing APA [Eain Stearns]?
Kati: Chovy is probably the world's best mid-laner. Facing him, I learned a lot in the laning phase and how to communicate with my teammates. Humanoid is probably one of the best but looking back at it, I would say I was just being unlucky. I'll beat him the next time. As for APA, he played well today and I'd like to send my regards to him. You played well and good luck next time.
BLIX: Of course, this team came off of two consecutive losses early on in the Swiss Stage against Gen.G and fnatic. How did you view the team's performance against those teams and why do you feel you guys weren't able to defeat them?
Kiaya: After the game against fnatic, we went home and looked back at it again and realized we were a bit too rushed and did not keep a cool head and we just fixed that. got out of that. After the game, we learned to play with a cool head and that's it.
Kati: Gen.G is the LCK's number one seed so the loss was kind of expected although we did go into the game with confidence, so after the game, we've learned a lot from them. As for Fnatic, as Kiaya said, we played without a cool head and we were too rushed as we made a lot of mistakes.
BLIX: The final question is a two-parter. Which team do you want to face in the next round of the Swiss stage? Also, what's going to be the biggest thing that you're going to focus on in preparation for next week?
Kiaya: I think I want to face MAD Lions the most because I've met them and have got a grasp of how they're gonna play. I'm confident that we can get a victory off them.
Kati: For me, anyone is fine as long as it's LEC or LCS because there's not a lot of a gap between us and them. Also, we've had scrims against LEC and LCS [teams] and we have a positive win rate against them.