There was a historic support-carry game last week in the LCK. In T1’s third game against DWG KIA on July 17, Ryu “Keria” Min-seok did everything a support can do to make his team win. From beginning to end, Keria gave a textbook performance on just how much influence a single support player can have on a game of League of Legends. His performance was worthy of all the great nicknames that follow him.
If this was a one-time flash of brilliance from an otherwise inconsistent player, one could attribute it to a fluke or a lucky day. Keria, however, has been the one player on T1 that performed as was expected of him when the team around him struggled and crumbled. Keria leads the LCK supports in wards put up per minute (WPM) at 1.9 and control wards per minute at 0.7 — a testament to his ironclad fundamentals.
Keria’s consistency shines even brighter in juxtaposition to T1’s current ire. Since the start of the season, Keria’s been asked to build synergy with a revolving door of players, where any new roster change essentially resets the team cohesion back to zero. While fans loudly demanded that a change was necessary — leading to the eventual release of coaches Yang "Daeny" Dae-in and Lee "Zefa" Jae-min — Keria remained the one constant amid T1’s chaos. His place on the starting roster was the one thing nobody ever questioned.
Thresh and Keria
Game 3 of T1 vs. DWG KIA reminded us why Keria’s Thresh is something special. Thresh’s skillset gives him a carry potential, but not every support can “switch on”. Keria’s play that day was enough to fill a feature-length highlight reel.
If they knew Keria would play that well, DWG KIA would have kept banning Thresh, like they had done in seven of their last 10 games (games 1 and 2 vs. T1 included). In fact, Keria’s Thresh has had a bad record this summer at 0-3 right up till his first win.
Although it doesn’t immediately pop off the page when one looks at stats tables, Thresh has been instrumental to Keria’s rise. Keria’s debut with DRX last year won him the “Young Player” award off the back of his top lane roams that caught so many LCK teams off-guard. The macro of the “monster rookie” — as he became known — helped inexperienced players like Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon or Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon grow into their role, and Keria truly stood out, even among the best in his class.
T1’s game 3 against DWG KIA was a kind reminder why Keria’s been called a “genius” and a “monster”. From lane kills to deadly roams, his play was much sharper than that of his rookie days and an admonition to future LCK opponents: You need to start banning Keria’s Thresh again.
Beyond the hooks: Keria’s carries-as-supports
What’s scarier about Keria is that you can’t just stop him by banning Thresh. In fact, you can’t even stop him by just banning out support champions. If the opponent takes Thresh first for Aphelios-Thresh bot, Keria is not afraid to counter with Kalista-Neeko — a line-up T1 pulled out in Spring Split to the befuddlement of Nongshim RedForce’s Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil and Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu. “We almost lost our minds,” NS’s duo said.
The Neeko pick isn’t the only off-role carry-as-support choice that Keria plays, however. Earlier this summer, Keria played Lee Sin alongside Teddy’s fasting Senna against Liiv SANDBOX to a fantastic 5/3/2 KDA, despite the loss. He even picked up a solo kill by diving the opponent bot laner, Lee “Prince” Chae-hwan. At that time, Lee Sin mostly played top or mid, but Keria proved his bot lane viability and “unlocked” it as a strategy flex pick for T1.
“I thought that the top-tier champions are good in any lane, so I always practiced them,” Keria said, hinting that this might not be the last we see from his champion pool expansion.
At only 18, Keria has a bright future ahead of him. His sophomore year in the LCK made him the rock in an otherwise unstable and heavily criticized T1. Now, the youngster has one goal in mind: catch-up to the GOAT.
“In the long run, I want to build a career as good as Faker,” Keria said. “I know that it’ll be hard to get to that point, but I want to become the support with the most championships.” And while that’s a dream that every rookie starts with, Keria’s performance so far makes us believe that he just might do it.