On Sep. 1, DWG KIA defeated Liiv SANDBOX 3-1 in the LCK regional qualifiers for the 2022 LoL World Championship. By qualifying for Worlds, DWG KIA became the first LCK team to attend four consecutive World Championships. DWG KIA seemed to have some strategies prepared as they started Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon in game 1, but substituted him for Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon in game 2. After losing game 2, Nuguri returned to the top lane to finish the game off. After the match, DWG KIA head coach Yang “Daeny” Dae-in joined the media room to talk about the match and going to Worlds.
You made it to Worlds. How do you feel?
I’m very happy that DWG KIA made it to four consecutive Worlds.
Many people should be curious about why you substituted Burdol in place of Nuguri in game 2 today.
It was a strategic choice. It seems that Nuguri talked about it during the broadcast interview. I asked Burdol to do some specific things while I was researching counter picks for top lane tank champions, to prepare for the playoffs. I tried to utilize that today.
Although I’m the decision-maker, I always take action after asking the players — whatever it is, from the draft to side selection. During the playoffs, I thought it was better to use Burdol on the red side. We played scrims that way, and I think we did well according to the scrims.
What do you think you have to improve before going to New York?
I mentioned teamfighting when the regular season was over. After the durability patch, the teamfights don’t end in a short period of time, so communication became more important. We’ll be looking into that more until we go.
It was really good today since Nuguri showed much better communication during the game. Maybe he communicates better when he feels more comfortable. I believe he’s satisfied as well. I hope he communicates more solidly.
Although there aren’t that many teams that have secured a spot at Worlds, are there any teams that you’d like to meet?
I haven’t had enough time to spare to think about that yet. [Laughs] I only tried to analyze and learn. Since we’re physically close with the Chinese teams, we scrim them from time to time, but we don’t have any interactions with EU teams. I think it’ll be fun playing against Rogue since Malrang is there.
In game 4, you played Nuguri from the red side. Will you be strategically playing Burdol on the red side at Worlds too?
In LoL esports, there are things that are difficult to answer — there’s not much that esports head coaches can discuss in interviews compared to traditional sports. The games are based a lot on collecting information. I really want to relieve the fans of their curiosities, but we have to make results. There are things I have to hide, even though I really want to discuss them.
Early in the summer, there was the durability patch, but they didn’t touch the runes. That was odd to me. We just played accordingly. After the dragon patch, everyone probably sees that the game got faster. Rather than thinking something’s the correct answer, we’ll decide after playing the patch for Worlds.
Obviously, I think Nuguri’s laning prowess is fantastic. He’s a player that I like. However, nothing’s final. We’ll prepare according to the version. These decisions are always difficult.
What are Burdol’s and Nuguri’s strengths?
Nuguri is someone that spends as much energy on LoL as me. He’s just nuts. I usually think about LoL until 4 AM, and Nuguri thinks about the game even when he’s taking a walk. I respect his passion for the game. Burdol works really hard. Everyone does, but there’s something different about him.
What do you think about going to Worlds as the no.3 seed?
I’m so grateful for it. This season, I was sick, and the players were sick too. There were some aftereffects of COVID-19. We worked hard without resting to get to Worlds. Since we made it as the third seed, we’ll finally have some rest. It’s fortunate that we got to squeeze in some time for a break.
How do you think the meta at Worlds would be?
When I watched Malrang play at Rogue, it seemed fun the way he plays. One thing for sure is that the top lane has less influence on the game with the durability patch. Everyone’s getting used to it now. The game got faster after the value of the dragon rose. I don’t know how the meta would be at Worlds, but it’s become more fun than the first days of the durability patch. It’s become more convenient to create variables.
In spring, you said that you’ll get the players to their top forms by summer. How much do you think they’re at?
I believe the bot lane has improved a LOT. Teamfighting, positioning in teamfights, laning, trading in lane, cooperating with the jungle… They’ve improved in all aspects of the game. Since they’re going to Worlds for the first time, the other players have to lead them a lot. Don’t you think they improved a lot? When you see them play Draven or Lucian-Nami, you can really see.
Since Worlds 2020, LCK doesn’t have an international championship. How do you think LCK would do this Worlds?
I think Gen.G and T1 are both really strong. That always shows. Remember last year, LCK sent three teams to the semifinals? I think we’ll do well this year too. As someone who works in the LCK, I always want LCK to win.
Who do you think would clinch the final ticket?
I think it’ll depend on how they prepare the game. There should be something the fans feel when they watch the draft. The draft preparation should really matter — especially the bot lane draft.
Any last comments?
There are things that I didn’t do well enough, and there should be a lot of fans that have complaints about me during the regular season. I’d like to apologize for that. I’ve already said it earlier in this interview, but there are things that I can’t discuss as an esports coach, even if I want to.
I’m in a position where I have to prove myself through results, so I’ve been working hard to make good results. Since we made it to Worlds, I want to make DWG KIA perform well so that we can stand at the top again. I know you’ve had a lot of complaints, but we’ll work hard. Please have faith. Fighting!