The ultimate goal when playing League of Legends is to destroy your enemy’s Nexus. To do so, you need to go through your opponents’ towers and inhibitors. There are different ways of achieving this feat, but it usually involves getting more gold than your opponent. Whether that’s through creating a CS deficit or getting fed through kills, the golden rule is to not die.
However, there’s one player that completely flips this primal concept on its head. Simon "Thebausffs" Hofverberg, is a League of Legends Twitch streamer who made a name for himself for making a niche strategy of essentially ‘dying a lot’ work to perfection [or for his opponents and sometimes teammates, to their absolute frustration] on the EUW Challenger ladder. It doesn’t mean that he dies on purpose, but whenever he dies, his enemy’s Nexus is usually being threatened.
He decided to embark on a journey to Korea, due to how the quality of the games on the Korean server is widely considered to be a lot higher than those in other countries. I had a chance to catch up with Simon in Korea, to hear about his journey, his goals in the Korean solo queue ladder, and his unique mindset towards the game.
Welcome to Korea! For those who don’t know you, please introduce yourself.
I go by the name, ‘Thebausffs’. I’m a League of Legends streamer, and I made a name for myself on the EUW server because I’m usually very high Еlo with a very unique playstyle.
Tell us how this Korea trip came about, and what you’ve been up to so far in Korea.
I got here with my good friend YamatosDeath, who’s also a League of Legends streamer, a good work colleague, and a friend as well. From playing with and against each other a lot on the EUW server, we’ve developed this Yin and Yang type of relationship, where I’m pretty chill and positive most of the time, while he’s… really toxic in-game [laughter]. Not IRL of course, but in a way, we balance each other out.
This whole Korea trip came up at one point, so both of our communities started brainstorming about the trip. Eventually, I got in contact with Tim here [Nemesis] to ask about where I’d stay, and he just offered his apartment for us to stay at. This place is really nice, and I’m very grateful for his hospitality.
Mostly, it’s been a lot of grinding, and we’ve yet to go sightseeing or anything like that. Our main reason for being in Korea right now is to play solo queue, so we’ve been doing a lot of that. I don’t know much about Korea, as in what the country itself has to offer, but I did hear a lot about the solo queue on the Korean server.
I heard myths about people trolling and AFK a lot more on this server, and from my experience so far, those myths have all been true [laughter].
Tell me about your journey in League of Legends. How did it start, and when do you think your streaming career really took off?
I grew up in a very happy family. My parents are still married and their marriage is still going strong, and with my three siblings, I was able to experience a lot when I was young. I’d say I was very fortunate to be able to travel to different parts of the world growing up.
In terms of gaming, my brother played all kinds of games, and I’d always watch him play those games growing up. He introduced me to World of Warcraft and I became very good at the game. After WoW, I transitioned into League of Legends, while he focused on playing more FPS games like Counter-Strike.
My brother’s been a huge influence on my gaming journey. He’d always be the one to teach me how to play video games. Any game that involved strategy really, even genres like card games. He’d always teach me the best strategies to win. Although he wasn’t part of my learning curve in LoL, his influence over the countless games he taught me definitely played a part, to the point where it didn’t take me long until I reached high Elo. He also was the one who convinced my parents in terms of me pursuing a streaming career, so he’s been there a lot for me.
How did they react to your success as a League streamer?
They obviously think it’s great and are super proud of me. My mom’s very happy that I get to do what I want to do for a living, but she still thinks it’s a bit stupid for me to stay inside all day and play video games, so she keeps telling me to eat healthier and touch grass [laughter]. My father’s very supportive as well, always wanting to help me with anything I need.
Do they fully fathom how big you are in the community?
I think they’re starting to understand. I wouldn’t say I’m that big, to the point where I go around and call myself a big shot, but they’re starting to get how big profiles are respecting my name and how my job is a very serious one.
Talk to me about which capacity you were involved with G2 Esports. Can you share some fun interactions you had with the org?
The way I joined G2 was that back then, Riot had a rule where each team in the LEC needed to have a sub in the roster. They didn’t have one back at the time, and I was very good friends with some of the players on the team. They recommended me to G2, and next thing I knew, I was talking to Carlos. There weren’t any tryouts or anything like that involved; I’d say it was pure luck.
The times I hung out with the players were always memorable. Especially with Mikyx. I remember watching LCS with the players, and I remember just talking shit about how badly they were playing.
Last year, you were brought onto the LEC as a guest on the broadcast. People gave you a lot of shit because they thought you were essentially underqualified. In terms of getting involved in the professional scene, whether as a player or caster/analyst, can you tell me where your headspace is at?
Before I started streaming and around the time when I was contemplating what to do in my life, I did think about going pro. I think my biggest motivator at that point in my life, which technically still is due to being lucky enough to have the best job in the world, is to show off my playstyle to the world. I wanted everybody in the world to see my gameplay and playing competitively fit the MO.
I remember when I downloaded OBS to start streaming, my initial goal was to get recognized enough to perhaps become a pro. All my paths were open for me. It was Season 8 back then, and I hit rank 2 at the time, so if there were offers from pro teams, I maybe would’ve taken some of those and I’d be a pro player right now. However, being a semi one-trick and all, I didn’t get any offers at the time, so I naturally gravitated towards becoming a streamer. Plus, streaming is essentially free.
At which point would you say did you figure out that you were naturally good at streaming?
I wouldn’t say I’m naturally good at streaming. I watched hundreds of streamers all the time, and I think all of them are at least 10 times more entertaining than I am. One thing I can say that’s good about my streams is my content, which is my gameplay. I wouldn’t say I’m a natural entertainer, especially in the beginning.
I had a very hard time getting used to people watching me. I started talking to my viewers without a webcam, and it was incredibly hard. I’m a very shy guy, but I did get a lot better at socializing and just interacting with others, you know? I think I can be a bit entertaining now, but that just comes from learning through time. It’s not easy to put yourself on the internet for people to watch at first, but now, it’s a normal routine in my life.
Viewers and other figures in the community absolutely love some of your catchphrases. I want you to explain a couple of them I picked to explain to those that may not know.
— WPGG. Why is it flipped from GGWP?
Most of my catchphrases are… pretty stupid really [laughter]. It also comes from me having a heavy Swedish accent, and in terms of “WPGG”, I just wanted my own unique version of what everyone types after each game. I just said, “Let’s just turn this ‘GGWP’ phrase around”! No one else was saying it like that, and everyone seemed to love it. I also wanted everyone to know that “WPGG” was unique to me. It was a business move, you could say.
— A ‘Good Death’. What does it mean?
Well… It basically means COPIUM [laughter]. It’s basically when you die but make the best out of the situation. It’s a coping mechanism by telling myself, “It was a good death”. I just kept telling myself that, and the community picked up on it.
There's a Tik Tok of someone imitating Baus saying his catchphrases
— Solo Bolo. How was that one created?
This actually came from my good friend, Don Arts. We used to play together a lot back in the day, and I remember him always saying “solo bolo” after a solo kill. He’s actually the one who started saying it first, and I just stole it [laughter].
— Single Dingle? [Even I don’t know this one]
When “Solo Bolo” became a big thing in the community, my viewers started creating alternate versions of it. The more dedicated viewer base started just spamming the chat with “Single Dingle”, and it’s a multiverse version of the phrase “solo bolo”. It’s rarely being used right now, however.
— Babus. I presume it’s just another way of saying your name as well? Tell me more about this one.
There’s a whole backstory to this. A viewer of mine in a stream was just asking a normal question on stream about the game, and he ended the sentence with the word “Babus”. He told me it was a spelling error, but he didn’t realize what he created at the time because everyone loved calling me “Babus”. I created an account with that name as well, and everyone loved it.
To dive deeper into your playstyle and your experiences in solo queue: First of all, why Sion? What drew you to that champion?
I mean, I play every champion, right? People always thought of Sion as this big, tanky champion, so I just felt it would be unique and niche to build Sion AD.
How has your INTeresting playstyle been working out in the KR server so far?
I have about 500 games on my main account in EUW, and I average about 9.4 deaths per game in EUW. My Korean account already averages that many deaths per game, and I’ve been smurfing in my games here so far. I seem to be definitely dying the same amount, or even more in my climb on the KR ladder, so the players are definitely a lot more aggressive here. In terms of my playstyle, it seems to be working out so far; I think I’m definitely getting Challenger, and can guarantee top 50 on the ladder. The goal is to be in the top 10, and I think I can do it. If I don’t, I’d be very surprised.
In terms of my experience with toxicity, I don’t know what the people are typing in chat because they’re talking in Korean, obviously. Maybe they’re talking about me because I’m 0/4/0 at 4 minutes [laughter]. I’ve definitely run into the mid laners that buy mobility boots and run it down in the bot lane for sure [laughter].
What I will say is that I don’t think I’m getting trolled a lot more because of my INTeresting playstyle. YamatosDeath here [who was sitting in the room during the course of the interview — Ed.] also gets the same people in his games, and he does a lot better than me in the early game.
It’s been widely considered that the overall level of the players on the KR servers is a lot higher than in the West. What’s your take on this?
I think the biggest difference, without a doubt, would be the level of mechanics. I don’t know if it has to do with the ping or some other reason, but the average mechanics of these players are much better than those on the EUW server. The EUW server is at least considered to be the best out of the servers in the West, but Korea’s just another level.
It’s crazy how good these guys are and how smooth they are with their combos. Not just that, the spacing, their movement… These players are built different. They’re just straight up better.
My take on the KR server is that players here aren’t afraid to make mistakes. They’ll go for 40 different plays, with 30 of them actually working out and 10 failing. EUW players would play a lot more defensively, where they’d go for 20 plays in their games, and have about 15 of them actually working out. They’d try to not make mistakes, but they don’t make any good plays either. Korea’s definitely more aggressive and better mechanically, but there’d be more mistakes.
Because a good chunk of my job is to cover the LCK, I always try to find the connections between solo queue and pro play. Do you see, in any capacity, your playstyle being implemented in pro play?
Hmm… It’s a good question. I think that my playstyle, if utilized correctly, has its unique strengths, so if I think that on the surface level, I think there’s a lot more that can be achieved in pro play, mainly due to being able to vocally communicate with your team.
I tend to watch at least all the Sion games in pro play in all the major regions. I can definitely see the flaws that pros are making. This may sound stupid, but I do feel that the pros need to be dying a lot more and utilize their passive better in their matches. Feeding, is of course, not the best idea, but they could be doing SO much more with this champion if they knew what this champion was capable of.
There's an argument to be made on whether or not my playstyle is too aggressive, but the same can be said in that others are playing too passively. I definitely think if a good enough pro player replicates my playstyle, they can also make it work in pro play.
Whenever I talk to some of the bootcampers that travel to Korea, I always tell them to make the most out of their trip by going out of their comfort zones and try the local food here. Today, I’ve prepared three Korean drinks for you, so I want you to taste each one and give it a rating.
ㄴ Hmm… It tastes like banana yogurt. I don’t like bananas, but this isn’t too bad. I’d give it a 7/10. I can see myself drinking this, but not a lot of it. The three points knocked off are due to my distaste for bananas.
ㄴ It’s good! I think it’s pretty similar to that banana milk, but I’d give this an 8/10.
ㄴ Whatever’s inside is very slimy. It’s a cool drink! I’d give this a 9/10.
League is a game that can sometimes brew a lot of toxicity. Despite this, you always remain positive, and the community has praised you for it. What’s your secret?
If I’m to take pride in anything about myself, I’d definitely say it’s in my positivity. My mindset towards the game is that I don’t queue up to “win” all my matches, but to “play well”. When I queue up, I always want to tell myself that I queue up to have fun. Yes, you can argue, “Why not just queue up for normal games then?” For the first five to six years, I’d say that 90% of my games were normal games. I’d reach Challenger in like 90 games, then just play normals for the rest of the season.
Sometimes, it is, of course, hard to force yourself to have fun. I learned that the best way to have fun is by not caring whether you win or lose. Again, it sounds silly, but there’s a clear difference between this mindset and not caring about your game and either griefing your games or flaming your team.
Especially when it comes to ranked games, people have this mindset where your LP actually matters at the end of the day, but it certainly doesn’t. If you’re Gold 1 at the start of the day and finally managed to promote yourself into Platinum, does it really matter? I firmly believe if you stop caring so much about what color your tier is, you’re actually going to play better. I believe fun in League of Legends comes from actually trying to enjoy the game itself. I play those normal games because I find joy in outplaying my opponents.
The biggest tilt factor for all the players comes from losing, and I think it affects them harder when their primary focus is on gaining LP. While I do look at my LP gain at the end of the day now, because I obviously traveled to Korea to play and my focus is on the climb itself, I usually tend to not look at how much LP I won or lost. I’d sometimes not even look at my LP for days or even weeks. In the end, winning is fun, but I don’t get destroyed if I lose.
Do you think such a mentality towards the game is why you’re loved by the community so much?
I get messages from people every day saying how they love my content and I make their days a lot better. Those messages really surprise me, and it blows my mind to see that I have such an impact. These days, while it’s very easy to find a player that flames his team, it’s very hard to find a very positive League of Legends player. I definitely have my bad days as well, so I’m not exactly the perfect role model in this regard. Maybe the community was yearning for a figure in the community that doesn’t project their own problems on others and helped me become more likable.
What does the future for Thebausffs look like?
For the immediate future, it’d be to continue the climb on the Korean server and outrank TF Blade. It should only take like five hours [laughter]. I’ve been getting asked a lot whether or not I’ll be traveling to North America. I don’t have anything planned to make the trip to NA right now, specifically for solo queue. TwitchCon is coming up, so I’ll definitely be there. Other than that, I’ll be traveling a lot privately to visit some e-girls [laughter].
At the end of the day, I’m a League of Legends streamer, not an IRL streamer. After grinding Korean solo queue, I think I’d like to go to more events that have to do with LoL. Events like the World Championships.
Anything you’d like to say to your fans and Promisq [laughter]?
I want to give a shoutout to my community. I’m very fortunate to have all these people watch me, because the interactions with them make my job a lot more fun. I want to give recognition to all the people that have come and gone over the years.
I also want to give a shout out to the personalities that supported me and my community: Drututt, YamatosDeath, Nemesis, Elite500, Spearshot, Rangerzx, Elosanta, KeshaEuw, and Kayle 1v9.
I have a lot of haters, but the only haters I care about are the ones that think they’re better than me. There are a lot of pro players on EUW that are haters, because they despise my playstyle. The only thing I’ll say to them is that when I get top 10 in Korean solo queue, I’ll be expecting a private apology from them in my DMs [laughter].
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports