Another chance to see a Golden Road. JD Gaming's star, Zhuo "knight" Ding, opened up to Inven Global about his team's evolution and their path to becoming favorites for the League of Legends World Championship. Knight highlights his transition from Top Esports, the team's enhanced synergy, and the critical role of players like Ruler.
He candidly discusses his mid-lane strategies, the influence of the current meta on seasoned pros like Faker, and insights into JDG's remarkable abilities.. With a potential championship in sight, knight reflects on JDG's legacy in the making, acknowledging the daunting prowess of legendary predecessors.
Examining the year overall, what do you perceive as the most significant difference between JDG's performance this year compared to last?
This year at JDG, I feel like everyone has a stronger performance, especially in individual skills — they're all leveled up. Because last year, I was in Top Esports, and we played against them. I felt we have very good synergy with each other and play a lot of top-oriented games. That's probably the biggest difference I can feel.
Having been a teammate with 369 in the past, why do you think he was viewed as very inconsistent before but is now seen as very consistent? What do you believe has changed in his approach to the game?
After so many years playing professionally, I think you undergo phases where you experience significant growth and improvement, both mentally and as a player. That's one of the biggest reasons he's performing so well right now. He's reached a point where he can adapt to any request from the team, changing his style no matter what is asked of him. So he's really risen a lot.
JD Gaming's 369 with Team BDS's Adam
What about for yourself? Comparing last year with Top Esports to now, what would you say is different about this year for you?
Now, personally, this year, I changed teams, so for me, it's a brand new start. I feel like everything is very different, everything is fresh for me.
How does the team's communication look? Obviously, besides yourself, the big change with JDG is adding Ruler. What is Ruler like as a teammate?
Our communication is getting better and better. We can always execute the tactics, just the communication we need during the game. Everything is very good, very normal. Ruler's joining JDG is also very important for us. I feel like as a player, he is very good. And in daily life, he is a very fun person. He's the one who always adjusts the atmosphere, just being a very cute guy.
With JDG facing certain barriers compared to, say, Gen.G or T1, they're still considered probably the best team or the favorite for this event. What do you think, specifically, besides just having great players, makes JDG such a good team this year?
I feel like the five of us in JDG right now, the performance we're having in official games is kind of different from what we had in solo queue or in scrims because we can always play beyond expectations. We can play extra better when we're on stage.
How do you feel about the other mid lane competition at this event? Do any of the other mid laners really stand out to you?
I feel like in terms of mid laners, the LCK and LPL players are all very strong. Also, Caps — he's really standout as well. Definitely, when we're playing, we have to be wary of them; there are others that are up there.
You're in contention for the best mid laner in the world! What would you say are the major differences in the mid lane when comparing you and Chovy?
I think the main difference between my style and Chovy's is the focus on different details. For Chovy, he probably pays more attention to laning details, and for me, it's more about team-fighting details.
How do you feel about the level Faker has shown this year?
I think Faker's a very, very strong player. We've faced him before in scrims, and he's still showing a very good performance there as well. I feel like, compared to previous years, he's still performing at a really good level as a pro player.
You've competed against him in the past. How would you compare his level right now to when you first played against him?
I feel like this meta suits him really well. Mages are back in the mid lane, and he's really good with those champions. This year he could show up again.
If JDG were to win Worlds, where do you see them ranking in terms of the greatest teams of all time?
If we were to win the tournament this year, I think we'd be the second team in history, only one below SKT. Because if we really win this title, then it means that all titles within this year belong to us.
Simply because of longevity?
Yeah, it's definitely about longevity. They also have really spectacular performance every year. Basically, they're always going to have very good results. Plus, they already have three championship titles. It's really hard to surpass them.
This interview was condensed and edited for length and clarity.
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