SK Isma talks with about SK Gaming’s first place finish in the LEC regular split.

SK Gaming has been on an unprecedented tear in the organization's history, soaring to a first-place finish the LEC regular play split for Summer 2024. Hot off the addition of a new bot lane, the scrappy roster has impressed LEC fans and analysts alike with their Cinderella run through Summer. We got the chance to chat with Isma right after his win against Team Vitality that locked SK in sole possession of the pole position.

Isma praises Rahel and Luon as the catalyst for SK's success You've just locked first place in the LEC regular split with only a single loss. You guys have outperformed pretty much everybody's expectations. How are you feeling about this accomplishment, and what is the biggest reason that SK has been able to perform at such a high level this split?

I’m obviously very happy that we’ve made it to first place. I think the bottom lane, I think overall when the new bot lane came in, it brought a new air to the team, I think. Everyone was…I think if we kept our old bot lane, it'd keep the bad cycle [going]. With the new bottom lane coming in, it was like a new air, everyone was really, really motivated and wanted to prove that we deserve more than what we did last split. I  think that’s the main reason. 

So, a lot of motivation from the team to outperform last split?

Yeah, yeah, exactly. 

You mentioned your bottom lane, who have been eye-catching all split. What has it been like learning to play with Rahel and Luon, and what are their greatest strengths as players?

I think for Rahel, it’s consistency. He’s very, very consistent on like every ADC and can play everything. That’s for Rahel. And then, I think for Luon it’s that [he doesn’t care if he engages]. I think that’s the main strengths. 

We've been chatting with a lot of LCS players about NA moving to best-of-three. Would you prefer to play best-of-threes or best-of-ones if you had the choice?

I think best-of-three is more fun. I think if you have a bad game in best-of-three, it’s fine. In best-of-one, if you have a bad game, it’s over. It’s kind of annoying. I think best-of-three is more fun, to be honest. 

Riot recently announced the new international event with Fearless Draft. What do you think of the new event?

I think [the new international event] is fun, but I think it’s less tryhard than MSI and Worlds. It’s in the middle of the season, it’s like three days, best-of-threes. It’s fun, but I don’t feel like it does much, you know? I feel like, the additional World Cup thing, I really feel like they put it [in] just to say they have another international tournament. I feel it will be less tryhard than MSI or Worlds. 

Any thoughts on the other announcement of the LCS merging with the LLA and CBLOL into the new merger?

I think it’s better. I think the region will be more competitive like this. Yeah, I think really think it’s better. 

What team is your strongest competitor, heading into playoffs, do you think?

C9 Isma: I think G2 is the best [other] team right now. G2, Fnatic, and BDS, those are the teams that are like really competitive, in my opinion. 

Any junglers you want to face, on those teams or otherwise?

Obviously Sheo is very good, I think he improved a lot. I think Razork is the best one, and Yike is very good as well. So, those three.

How are you feeling about the wild new jungle meta after the midseason updates? Are you enjoying the new flexibility.

I think the jungle meta is pretty fun because you can see a lot of things. You can see AP junglers, tank junglers, bruisers, you know? I think the jungle meta is actually really fun right now. I like AP junglers. AP, tanks, you know? Also Nidalee and Diana, I like. Those sorts of champions, for example. 

Any quick words for SK Gaming fans who will be cheering you guys on in playoffs?

Thanks a lot, guys, for cheering for us. We aren’t the best team on paper so it still feels good that people follow us. So, thank you a lot. Looking to playoffs, I aim to [get] top one, that’s it.

Isma will return to the stage when LEC playoffs begin, in the wake of the Esports World Cup happening next week.