The last time I spoke with Maurits "Chronicler" Jan Meeusen, he had just joined the LCK desk and we spoke about him filling the shoes of Christopher “PapaSmithy” Smith and continuing the legacies left by his predecessors.
Chronicler quickly became an irreplaceable part of the LCK. Not only did he seamlessly synergize with his fellow current casters in a short period of time, but his passion and love for the LCK also helped shape many unforgettable moments in 2021. As he readied himself for his second year in the LCK, I had a chance to have another casual conversation with him before the start of the 2022 LCK Spring Split. We took the time to reflect on some of his favorite moments of 2021, his thoughts on the new rosters, and even hot cross-region signing like Cloud9's Kim "Berserker" Min-cheol.
LCK's best moments in 2021
"My favorite domestic moments probably have to be my first casts in general: the online casts when I was still in quarantine. Then it’s followed up by my first offline casts, and then the Summer Split finals. The Spring Finals were good as well, but it was in LoL Park, while the Summer finals were at an entirely different venue, so it stands out to me more.
"2021 was also my first year being part of a huge international event, and I’d say the favorite moment was when I was on the desk for T1 vs. DWG KIA. I think that was the best League I’ve watched all year. It was an incredible series, and it would’ve been better if one of those teams won Worlds, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out for them.
"I've always been a die-hard LCK fan, and I became a bigger fan when I started casting in the LCK. So I was pretty worried about how the LCK would perform heading into Worlds, but then we saw all four LCK teams making it out of groups, with three of them making it into the semis. The end result obviously speaks for itself in terms of LPL’s strengths as a region, and while I would’ve loved for the LCK to win it all, I’m proud of how LCK performed this year."
Who really won the LCK offseason?
"I think T1’s going to win the Spring Split, but I’m pretty sure by the end of the year, DWG KIA will be a top tier contender again. I think both Hoya and Burdol are very strong players. They’re very different from each other, and while I do think they’re strong, they’ll need time. I don’t think DWG KIA’s going to be that good early on, but I think they’ll still be decent because ShowMaker and Canyon will just skill-check people.
"It’s interesting with Hoya because he’s incredible in solo queue. He’s basically always top 10 on the ladder, but he didn’t perform well on Fredit BRION. Then again, I think the team had neither the roster nor the environment to improve a player. Burdol got dismantled by Fiora from Ale, which is understandable because LPL top laners are really strong. I think it was a good learning experience for him, and I’d be shocked if DWG KIA don't make it to Worlds in 2022.
"While I think LCK mids are the best in the world, it hasn’t been the same for the top lane talent pool."
"But for Spring, they won’t be as remotely as strong as they were. I predict they’ll be above the middle of the pack. T1 and Gen.G, however… They’re both teams that are pretty self-explanatory in terms of their strength. Gen.G’s roster’s looking stacked, and T1’s sticking with the same roster that genuinely could’ve made it to the Worlds finals, and the matchup against EDG in the finals could’ve been one hell of a matchup as well.
"As for the teams that are outside of everyone’s expectations but could be good, I think it’d probably be a toss up between Kwangdong [Freecs] and Nongshim [RedForce], and the teams that have no hope are probably Hanwha Life Esports, Fredit BRION, and Liiv SANDBOX.
"While I think LCK mids are the best in the world, it hasn’t been the same for the top lane talent pool. Now that players like Zeus, Hoya, Burdol, and Doran all have a great roster behind them, I’m excited to see how they’ll grow."
What's the deal with C9 Berserker?
"In terms of finding new individual talent, Korea’s probably still the best in the world. The fact that 17/20 players that made it to the Worlds semifinals are Korean should speak for itself. Obviously, players like Scout, Doinb, and even Gori are more closely tied with the LPL. C9 Berserker, for example, is very much above the curve because of the virtue of being a Korean ADC.
"Everyone talks about the big gap between the solo queue in Korea vs. NA, and for good reasons too. I also think it’s a rough task in general to maintain that level of gameplay. This is evident with players like Impact, where he’ll kind of suck in the LCS, but the moment that he gets to the international stage, he’ll flip a switch and just murder people. No matter how good the players are, if they’re playing against weaker competition, I feel that they’re going to drop to their level.
"The moment they start playing against actual good players again, players that were previously performing at a high level will quickly train themselves back up to that point. So I expect Berserker to start off strong, then kind of taper off with that team. However, there’s so many questions behind that C9 roster, so we’ll see! We don’t even know when the full roster will be in NA."
Beans or Bread? (courtesy of Brendan Valdes)
"Bread. I love beans because they’re nutritious, cheap, healthy and very versatile. However, it's bread. I love living in Korea, even with all these COVID restrictions, but one thing that I don’t like about it is that it’s nearly impossible to find good bread here. I don’t want to have to put in all the work just to find good bread! However, I got a bread maker for Christmas, so my life is now beautiful. I’m very happy."
Final shoutouts: Carly Rae Jepsen?
"Listen to “Run Away With Me” by Carly Rae Jepsen! It’s a really good song! Please listen to it [laughter]. I was really worried that I wouldn’t do the LCK justice, but I’ve had a lot of positive reception from the fans, so thank you. I care about the LCK, the league I’ve watched for 10 years at this point. Being part of it is a big honor, and I’m going to keep working hard to live up to that legacy. Please support LCK in their journey this year, both at MSI and at Worlds!"
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports