The 2023 League of Legends World Championship continues to engage the global audience with its riveting narratives. Among these, the potential departure of Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu from the competitive stage has been especially notable. Max "Atlus" Anderson, a renowned caster intimately connected with the LCK and Deft's storied career, sat down with Inven Global to share insights into these unfolding tales.
Delving into the shifts in the LCK's landscape and dynamics, Atlus commented, "We've had to adjust our perspective on success and losses. Especially post-2018, the LCK hasn't been viewed with the same air of invincibility. Korea had consistently worn the crown, but with regions like the LPL emerging dominant in recent years, the surety of LCK's reign has been tested."
Discussing the enduring motivation of icons like Deft and Faker, Atlus expressed his admiration. Both players, despite achieving unparalleled success, seem to possess an undying passion for the game. This intrinsic motivation, especially in the face of rigorous competition and years of commitment, is truly commendable.
Reflecting on Dplus KIA and their journey this year, Atlus shared, "Deft seemed at odds with Dplus this year. While he maintained his hunger, the team faced confidence and shot-calling issues. Dplus struggled to mesh. In interviews, Deft's motivation appeared to increase, even discussing returning after military service, a contrast to his earlier hints at retirement. It seems the realization of his potential in League of Legends rejuvenated his desire for the LCK."
On the impending military service for Deft, Atlus stated, "If Deft could play League of Legends forever, he would. But in Korea, there's mandatory military service he must attend to. He's going to have to do that at some point, but I would also not be surprised if he just comes back. Some players, like StarCraft's Flash, returned from the military and continued to excel. Others, like Score and GorillA, transitioned to coaching roles after their service."
On the influx of new talent in the LCK, he observed, "It's interesting. Though Deft has been consistent, new names like Chovy, Lehends, Viper, and Tarzan have emerged. Deft's continued presence isn't a negative. Recalling moments, like his 2015 Pentakill on Sivir that Pastrytime commentated, is special. But new stories are also forming. As years progress, I'm more inspired to commentate."
Highlighting the rich history of League, Atlus emphasized, "The game has evolved over the years, and while many associate its history with icons like Faker, Deft too began his journey early on, leaving an indelible mark with teams like Samsung Blue and MVP. Their legacies, undeniably, will continue to inspire."
Atlus also gave his take on a video tribute to Deft, stating that while he wasn't particularly fond of the song choice, the animation brilliantly portrayed Deft's journey. The segments, especially the poignant moment with Keria, resonated deeply with him.
Regarding the current trajectory of teams in the World Championship, Atlus shared insights on teams like KT and their challenging journey. With potential matchups like the one against JDG on the horizon, and rivalries like Gen.G versus JDG intensifying, the conclusion of this year’s Worlds promises unparalleled drama.
In summary, Atlus' insights offer a lens into Deft's illustrious career, the LCK's transformative journey, and the evolving narratives of the World Championship. As the event advances, the global community anticipates even more legendary moments and stories to emerge.
The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
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