In the regular Summer Split of LCK 2017, 'Longzhu Gaming' displayed performances that match the current weather - hot. Excluding the botlane, the remaining roles saw an overhaul and every new player came equipped with impressive mechanical skills and in-game senses. In the end, they came out 1st in the regular split; a result no one expected.
Among the players of LZ, 'BDD' lies in the midlane. With a KDA of 11.3, the said midlaner stood toe-to-toe against some of the strongest players in the LCK. But what's really fascinating is the fact that his playstyle often involved him fighting right in the middle of the battlefield, instead of playing cautiously. On a side note, BDD also collected the highest amount of MVP points out of all the other players in the LCK.
Following his sudden appearance in the scene, BDD climbed the ranks in the blink of an eye. He is now the midlaner of the no.1 team in the LCK, but his journey has yet to end. To reach his and his team's goal of making it into Worlds, there are more tasks that need to be done. The easiest possible way for LZ is to simply win their series in the finals of the playoffs, and in order to do that, incredible dedication is most likely required from the players.
We ran into Longzhu Gaming's midlaner, BDD, to hear from him about his preparation for the said finals.
Hello, BDD! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello, I am Kwak "BDD" Bo-Seong.
It's a bit late, but congratulations on finishing the regular split as the no.1 team. As for yourself, you had the highest amount of MVP points, not to mention your ridiculously high KDA. Were you aware of this?
It was so unbelievable that I only started really feeling it when my team was frequently filmed in order to make playoffs related contents. I'm really happy about it. To be honest, I didn't really care about MVP points or KDA... but in the end, it still felt good achieving such feats.
During the Split, was there ever a point where you knew you would reach the highest MVP points?
No, I didn't expect it at all. There were many moments where I said, "Oh? I received the MVP title for that?" But to be fair, there were also moments where I thought to myself, "I deserved it."
You have an insanely high KDA record of 11.31 in the current Split. The 2nd highest player, Score, only has a KDA of 7.08. What's your secret in maintaining such a high KDA while at the same time, dealing so much damage?
After departing from 'CJ Entus' last year, I played a lot of Solo Queue. In many of the games played, I realized our team more often than not lost when I died first in teamfights. I then started playing a lot more cautiously and kept myself alive for as long as possible. I think that playstyle carried on into my career.
As for the "secret"... always be conscious of the enemies' skill cooldown and position yourself accordingly. You have to keep your eyes peeled and look for an "opening" to dive in. Also, always save your important skills for the enemies' backline while you use your more, "minor" abilities to harass their frontline.
BDD, you are still relatively young... but you became so famous so quickly. We want to hear from you about your time in CJ Entus.
When I was practicing as a trainee, I practiced a lot of other lanes and played all sorts of champions - so it was really fun. Then, one day, some guy made a highlight video of my Zed, and it caught a lot of attention. At the time, my teammates joked around by saying, "Wow, you're a celebrity now! So famous!" (laughs) It was good times... especially since I didn't feel the pressure of playing on stage. It helped me build the confidence that I have today.
As soon as you reached the proper age, you played on stage. Did you know that you were going to play so soon?
Around February, the new coach and director told me that I'll be seeing play as soon as I reach the age. That's when I started feeling the burden of a professional player.
Was 2016 a disappointing year for you?
I've been attending amateur events before I became a pro. And ever since then, I realized I play better when I'm nervous. But the level of pressure between the amateur and the professional stage was way too big; I became way too nervous and it affected my practice. But thinking back now, it was probably my lack of skills that affected my plays other than anything really psychological.
What sparked the motivation in you to join 'Longzhu Gaming'?
Like I've mentioned, after departing from CJ Entus, I played a lot of Solo Queue... because I really wanted a team. Even my summoner's name at the moment was 'BDD looking for a team'. I played the best that I can, and as a result, I reached #3 on the ladder, and many different organizations contacted me - even teams from overseas. Out of all the teams that offered me a spot, I personally took a liking to LZ, mostly because they had PraY and GorillA. I saw it as the perfect opportunity for me to grow as a player.
'Longzhu Gaming' had a difficult time during the Spring Split. And during it, you didn't play a single game... What was the situation like?
Our team started performing worse near the end of the Split. The coaches then approached me and asked, "Do you think you can play on stage now?" At the time, the pressure of playing on stage seemed too much for me - I also lacked the required confidence - so I refused. I was a weaker player compared to 'Fly' at the time, and everyone thought the same. I learned from him.
Longzhu Gaming's performance was outstanding throughout the entire Summer Split. No one expected the team to make it out as the no.1 team. In the beginning, the fans questioned the LZ roster because BDD didn't play for an entire split, Khan didn't play in the LCK for a while, and Cuzz was a completely rookie player. What was your opinion when you first saw the LZ lineup?
Well, our botlane is the famous "PrillA" so I didn't worry about them. As for the rest of the team, I already knew them to a certain extent, because I played with them in Solo Queue. So I didn't have any doubts regarding their skills. The only problem was that everyone was too nervous in the beginning.
Longzhu Gaming is known to have a very "positive" team atmosphere. It is especially visible from the booth cams during ongoing games... it seems all the players have a "loud" personality. It sort of reminds the fans of... the old Rox Tigers.
It's even louder in the teamhouse. Everyone is full of energy. Even when I was in CJ, I envied the positive atmosphere that Rox had. Everyone in the current LZ roster has a great personality, and it shaped the team into what it is today.
We heard that you're the same age as Cuzz. Some fans are speculating that you guys have great synergy because of that.
It's true. Back when I was in CJ, the junglers were older than me, so it was difficult to truly speak what's on my mind.(Korea has a culture in which the young show utmost respect to those who are older.) In LZ however, Cuzz is the same age, and he has less experience than me as a pro. So it's a lot more comfortable to communicate with him.
Cuzz is a very highly ranked player in Solo Queue, and he has maintained the no.1 spot for a long time in the past. Most mechanically gifted players tend to play aggressively. But on stage, Cuzz seems a lot more defensive than one would expect. Does it have something to do with team synergy?
When I first met him in Solo Queue, I thought he was an aggressive player. But when I started playing with him on stage, I found out that he was a lot more defensive. He's not necessarily playing like that for the team, but rather, it's in his nature to play that way... and as a midlaner, I prefer it like that.
Whenever the meta shifts, the jungler needs to adapt to it and play accordingly. Cuzz is doing a great job with it.
Which series do you remember the most from the regular Split?
Our series against SSG during the '1st Round'. At the time, Khan blamed himself by saying that we lost because of him... and he cried. I felt terrible. PraY then told the team, "Don't cry in the booth. The opposing team might find it insulting." His words still remained in me after all this time.
It seems like PraY, being a veteran of the scene, affected the team a lot. Same goes for 'GorillA' who is nicknamed the "Mother" of LZ.
He is a great person outside of the game, but as a player, I have so much more to learn from him. That's why I like PraY so much. Whenever I have a question, PraY is able to answer it. He keeps the mentality of all the team's players "healthy" and knows how to properly handle every situation.
Looking back into the regular Split, was there a midlaner that you have considered as a rival?
It's hard to really say because every player has something they're especially good at. But in general, most "top" teams gave me a hard time. And out of all the midlaners, I still think Faker is the best. It's true that SKT fell into a slump during the regular split, but I knew they would quickly bounce back.
A while back, you mentioned that Faker is your role model. Do you still feel the same way?
As long as I play professionally, Faker will remain as a role model for me. When I first started playing League, I was a support player, so 'Madlife' was my role model. But when I made the transition to the midlane, I started looking up to Faker.
In your eyes, how do you see Faker?
Faker really wants to develop the esports scene in a good way. I really respect him in that regard. He is also very smart in-game.
What part does the midlaner play in a team?
The midlaner needs to avoid being ganked or solo-killed at all cost. And wherever a fight occurs, you need to be there. The midlaner acts as the spine of the team. Always put emphasis on your laning phase first... then look for opportunities to roam while minimizing travel distance and time.
Are you satisfied with your performance looking back into the regular Split?
Compared to last year, yes. But I still think I'm lacking in a lot of ways. But it's a good thing. Realizing that you are lacking is the only way to improve.
Let's talk about the playoffs. Currently, SKT seems to be back in top form. So far, they have shown none of the mistakes that they have made during the regular Split.
I always knew that they would play well during the playoffs. I always thought of the possibility of SKT climbing up to the finals. I then came to a conclusion that gaining experiences of playing on "big" stages are really important. SKT is a tiny bit intimidating right now... but I will do my best to beat them if they reach the finals.
Do you think that you will face off against SKT in the finals?
SKT has a very good record against KT. So, it's very likely that SKT will reach the finals... especially because the series will be played in the Bo5 format. But then again, KT is still a very strong team, so I think it'll be a close match. KT displayed great performance throughout the Summer Split, and personally, I think our team had a harder time dealing with KT over SKT.
How do you think you will fare against Faker?
I watched a lot of his games, and upon observing them, I found out that Faker uses a lot of psychological methods to gain the upper hand over his enemies. I will try my best to stay even with him in that regard, and eventually, beat him.
Are you confident in your team for playing against SKT?
We can definitely win - as long as we keep our "rookie's" passion burning inside us. In the past, SKT fell to many teams with rookies. I'm going to take advantage of that and fearlessly dive in.
The word, 'BDD', reminds us of Galio and Taliyah. Is there a particular champion that you are practicing for the finals?
Nowadays, I think AD champions are great again in the midlane. And so, I started playing a lot of Zed and Kayn. Personally, I think midlane Kayn is a very strong pick. The champion itself is very strong, but he can also be flexed into the jungle. My Kayn's winrate isn't too impressive, but I could definitely pull him out during the finals.
You haven't played on stage for a long time. Are you worried that you might lose your in-game senses because of the long break?
I did at first. But then, I started avoiding those thoughts by always imagining that I've never taken a break in the first place.
Through your personal SNS, you reached out to Madlife many times. To you, who is he?
I learned a lot from Madlife, and I still have a lot more to learn. He taught me a lot about being a professional player. Despite being a very shy person, I opened up to Madlife... it was comfortable to talk with him. That's when I started really liking him. We are still in contact, and I watch all of his games played in NA.
We're nearing the end of the interview. Is there a personal goal that you have in mind?
In the beginning, I wanted to become a player like Faker. But now, I want to create my own path and become a player unique to my name. I want players to exclaim my name when I make a play.
Your goal for the current Split?
My first goal is to make it into Worlds after taking the LCK cup. Then, I want to win Worlds. My teammates share the same idea.
Last words regarding your upcoming playoff series?
To whoever makes it up, I will prepare well for you and beat you with great performance! Please cheer for us. Thank you!