On July 8, DRX finally collected their first win of the 2021 LCK Summer Split. After losing eight straight matches, DRX was able to defeat Fredit BRION.
Before this week started, DRX had made a big roster shift by sending down their starting bot duo and calling up their academy bot duo. After the match, head coach Kim "cvMax" Dae-ho joined the media room and talked about DRX's first round of summer.
How do you feel about today’s win?
Although the result is quite important, if the process or the fundamentals are good, I thought that I’d get good results in the end, regardless of the current ones. So I prioritized the scrims, players’ solo queue, and their performance in official games.
Even if we had lost today with the players I chose, I thought that we’d do better in the future because the calls and directions were good. You might think that I’m too ahead of myself after only one win, but what I felt while scrimming with these players was that even if we were to lose too much and fail to reach Worlds, we’d be pushing the laners in the right direction. Today’s win is a start to the real DRX, so I feel good.
"There were some changes. I was aware that there are things I lack, but I didn’t think of it specifically. I had pride, some ego, and cockiness — I had the best win rate in the world over the past four years."
It must have been a difficult decision to call up rookies and switch the roster before the end of Round 1. How did you decide to do so?
I was aware that calling up two fresh rookies in the middle of the season who had never played in the LCK before was very dangerous, unprecedented, and a gamble. However, as one of my mottos is "get the best out of any given situation", I decided that calling them up and switching the roster was the best way to go.
It isn’t that the original bot duo’s abilities are extremely under par, but there wasn’t that much improvement in terms of synergy with the five players. So we tried the first-string and second-string in scrims [tearms for A team and B team, respectively — Ed.] and I collected data with the academy players playing with the main roster. In the end, I thought the current line-up would be better, so I decided to make the change.
Did the players all agree? How did they react?
Obviously, there was a bit of noise, but I think they were persuaded and accepted being sent down.
Even though I’m the head coach and I have the power to change everything, if everyone else opposes, it would be more negative to the team. I explained a lot about the current situation and process, and the players accepted it, so it happened without big issues coming up.
So there weren’t any problems?
There weren’t any problems. BAO and Becca who had to be sent down were sad, but since they have a good mindset, they were just sad and sorry to their teammates. I think the switching was ideal.
"In the long run, I think this 0-8 run will be helpful in my career and in my life. Even before we won today, I felt that this experience will be positive."
As much as your attempt was rather adventurous, you must have been nervous as well. How did you feel while watching them play?
Everything that tends to happen players who play on stage for the first time came out — some misplays, a bit of ego, carelessness… I’ll be giving feedback as if we lost today’s match. All those mistakes can happen at any time. I’m still relieved that we were able to finish today with a win.
This is the worst season of your career. Were there any changes in your mindset?
There were some changes. I was aware that there are things I lack, but I didn’t think of it specifically. I had pride, some ego, and cockiness — I had the best win rate in the world over the past four years.
I felt so many things this season. It’s hard to describe it in words. The emotions I felt this season were things I’ve never felt in my life. I reflected on myself, tried a lot of things, and thought of how I can affect the players.
In the long run, I think this 0-8 run will be helpful in my career and in my life. Even before we won today, I felt that this experience will be positive. I believe I’ll do better in the future. I’m more confident now.
During the losing streak, the players would have struggled as well. Especially the rookies. For them, they might have been nervous because of playing at LoL Park in front of fans.
There was even a point where we had a 0-36 record in scrims. For four days, we did not have a single win against any team. I don’t think having to play in front of fans had any effect on them. At that time, I got more involved in the draft, entered the comms, and did whatever I could, but we lost everything. The losses were very understandable.
So in that regard, I don’t think having to play at LoL Park in front of fans had anything to do with our losing streak.
What’s your goal for the second round?
Although it’s a long shot, I want to reach the playoffs and aim at Worlds. Although it could be pressure to the rookie bot duo, who is playing in the LCK for the first time, I want that to be our goal.
However, even if we accumulate losses and slip this year, I’m very positive that DRX will grow and do well next year.
Your next match is against Gen.G. How will you face them?
I think it’ll be really difficult but I’ll try to paint a picture for the players where we could win as we prepare for the match.
Any words you’d like to say to the players?
I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to deliver good results even if you’re following me with faith. Thank you for doing well. Let’s keep working hard.
Any last comments?
I know that there are fans that supported us despite our struggles. All I could say to you is that I’m sorry. I’ll do my best.