The region that had the most influence over League of Legends esports was the EU. The standard style of the game was established in EU, and when League of Legends first became an esport, EU teams were nearly invincible, starting from Fnatic of season 1. Although they may not be as hot these days, the EU players are still doing quite well around the world.
Among those players, Luka “Perkz” Perković is a player that stands out. There have been many ‘great’ mid laners from the EU like xPeke, Froggen, Bjergsen, and Febiven; the latest addition to that list is Perkz. Perkz joined G2 Esports in 2015 and dominated the league in 2016, establishing G2 as the final boss of the region. In 2017, they delivered decent performance in international competitions and earned many additional fans.
In 2018, Perkz started another stage in his pro gaming career. His first season without his long-time friends and teammates, Zven, mithy (TSM), Trick (bbq Olivers) and Expect (Origen) wasn’t easy. G2 gave up their championship title to Fnatic at the finals and took a step back. After the season, Perkz came to bootcamp in Korea to make a change and to once again aim at becoming the champion.
At the same hotel we met the Misfits, this time, we met Perkz. Perkz is now becoming a veteran pro gamer. Let’s have a look at how he has been.
Q. How have you been since the season ended?
The season was pretty tough for me because we rebuilt the whole team; new coaching staff, new players. After the season, I was pretty burnt out mentally. I was really exhausted so I took two weeks off. After that, I decided to go to Korea to bootcamp with Misfits. I wanted to play Korean solo queue.
Q. You won most of the regular seasons for the last two years. Do you have any regrets in this Spring Split? And what do you think the reason you lost is?
I don’t have any regrets. I think the reason was because they had a better team, they played together for one and a half years but we only had two or three months. So there was a difference in teamwork. We can become better than them in the future for sure.
Q. There have been many good mid laners in the EU LCS. If you evaluate yourself, what level do you think you’re at?
I’m for sure at the top, no matter what. I will always be at the top. Like now, since I lost, I’m worse than Caps; he won. It’s really simple for me, like black and white. If he won, he’s better than me. Last year, I won, so I was the best but this year, since I lost, I’m the second best. (Laughs)
Q. Before, you had a lot of strong comments; maybe like trash-talk. Was that intended or was it because you had a really strong desire to win?
I don’t think that I trash-talked that much, maybe some strong comments; mostly about my team. I didn’t have that many comments on myself. G2 was one of the best teams in the world. Though we weren’t the best team, I thought we could become the best team. So I always had confidence in my team. As for the talk, it was more for the hype. I did believe what I said deep inside, but what I said was more for the fun.
Q. You shed some tears after losing at Worlds. Are you a naturally emotional person?
I cried at Worlds 2017, a lot. I think I’m an emotional person; I can usually control my emotions, but that loss really hit me. I already knew that my team was going to split apart. Everyone wanted to try something new. We all like playing together. Everyone was pretty sad, and I just couldn’t hold it in.
Q. You’ve played against many mid laners around the world. Which mid laner was the most difficult to play against?
Hmmm… (Thinks for a while) Probably Faker at MSI. We had some close games. In the games where he lost lane, he was still catching up. The whole SKT team played very well from behind. When he was playing Ahri and LeBlanc, he and his team played really well ganking mid and putting pressure. So you always have to be scared even if you’re winning lane and be cautious. I think he’s the player who puts the most pressure. I think Faker’s the smartest of them all. The way he communicates with the team and the way they play all together.
Also Crown at Worlds played really well with his team, using team play champions like Taliyah and Galio. He played really well too during the group stage against me.
Q. Rekkles said in an interview with us, that he considered coming to the LCK. Did you ever think of joining an LCK team?
Yes, I’ve given some thought to how it would be to play in the LCK. I think I’d like it but in order to play in the LCK, I would need to learn Korean. Trick told me it’s not so hard, so maybe I could do it. But still, I would need to put time into that and learn Korean culture as well. Anyways, I do have thoughts about wanting to play in the LCK one day.
For me to play in the LCK, I would have to play for one of the top teams. I can’t play with Trick in the lower ranked team. (Laughs) I would for sure like to test myself in the best region in the world.
Q. Which team and which player do you think would have the best synergy with you?
If I had to pick one team, it would pick Kingzone. I think Peanut would go very well with me. (Q. Then you’ll be the one to push out Bdd?) Yeah. Bdd and I will be the two mid laners. He’ll be my sub. (Laughs) I like Bdd a lot.
Q. Then if you go to the NA LCS, would you like to play against your former teammates or play with them again?
I’d like to play with them. I still think that NA players are a lot worse than EU players. I can’t see myself playing in NA. If I do, my mental would probably explode. (Laughs) It’s almost impossible to find four good players in the NA. Well, there are good players in each position, but it’s just that they’re all split apart in each team and they would never leave their team. It’s very unrealistic of me of being on the best NA team. I can’t see myself going to the NA.
Maybe in two years, I might think differently. I don’t know how I’ll change. In two years, I might be thinking ‘I want to go to NA and make money.’ (Laughs) Like Korean players going out; they want to make money. But for now, I’m a very competitive person. I want to play to win and enjoy playing with my teammates. I want them all to grow and be the best.
But in the future, who knows? LA is a good place to live. Good weather and good food. What else do you need? It’s really nice.
Q. As a pro gamer, do you have a role model or any players that you have a strong rivalry with?
I don’t really have a role model anymore. When I was a younger pro player, I looked up to Faker and everything he did. But now, with my own experience of three years of professional play, I just try and look to improve myself with my routine and schedule. I just need to stay strong mentally all the time.
It’s like a learning curve. Last year, I found something that was working for me, but this year, it was a whole new team and I had more responsibilities. The same thing didn’t work out this year, so I had to find a new balance.
Q. Many pro gamers evaluated Uzi as the best ADC. What do you think?
I'm a mid laner so I don't know about his laning skills, but the bottom laners talk about him and say that he's really really good.
He hits every skillshot, dodges every skillshot, and even deals more damage than anyone else. He's just so insane. So I'm looking forward to seeing him perform at the MSI because I normally don't watch the LPL.
Q. Then is there an ultimate goal for you as a pro gamer?
Yeah, the most prestigious ultimate goal for me is winning Worlds. But that is really unrealistic. I’ve won so many regular splits it’s not that much a challenge for me anymore. But then again, I lost spring, so I want to win in Europe again.
When I was always winning, it became less and less satisfactory, but now that I’ve lost, I want to take it back. It’s mine. (Smiles) Since winning Worlds is unrealistic, I want to get out of groups at least. I was at Worlds twice, but I was eliminated at groups both times.
Q. We prepared a Life Graph. Can you try drawing this?
(After seeing the graph) I can’t remember that! I can’t even remember how old I was! I was so young back then, was I fourteen years old? This is so hard!
My life was just as a normal boy. It was just normal like this. (Scribbles)
This is when I won the tournament, and this is when I reached the LCS.
I had an offer from Origen, but I had some problems so I couldn’t join, it goes down here.
And then, goes up again. I won the Spring Split. Then… MSI 2016 here, won LCS again but notice that a little bit lower than last time. Then Worlds 2016. In 2017, I go back up, win the LCS championship again. So as you see, every time I win, there’s less satisfaction.
And then MSI, again LCS champion, and Worlds. Worlds is such a good event for me. We got really close as a team and practiced a lot. We tried our best and even if we lost, Worlds was a really good memory for me. It was really enjoyable.
The off season is really just up and down, and then LCS second place would be here, which is still fine. It’s bad, but for a new team it’s alright. If I’m pessimistic, I would put it at the bottom, but I want to look on the bright side. We’re a new team but still got to second place. We can win next time. And then it goes back and forth.
Q. What kind of person was Perkz before you became a pro gamer?
I was really hyperactive when I was younger. I liked to play sports and stuff, but I had a lot of problems in my knees, so I stopped playing sports and played more league. I like music a lot, so I play the guitar.
When I started high school, I started to skip school so I became more and more anti-social. I became more shy. I was dodging problems; escaping real life with games. So becoming a pro player kind of saved me. It made me like a new person and it made me grow so much faster than I would have if I was just a normal average student.
Q. Then if you didn’t become a pro gamer, or if pro gamers didn’t exist at all, what do you think you’d be doing now?
Well, right now, I would still probably be in college. I don’t know actually what I would be doing. I really like human science, studying people, like psychology, basically everything involving humans. That really interests me.
Before, I liked animals, so I wanted to be a vet or work in a zoo, maybe a safari. I like a lot of stuff. A lot of things interests me, so it would be hard to choose what I would have become if I didn’t become a pro gamer.
Q. Did you have any regrets after becoming a pro gamer?
No. Never. That’s the best thing that ever happened to me for sure.
Q. When did you really decide to become a pro gamer?
When I was in high school, as I said, I was skipping school, so my grades were very low. At elementary school, I had best grades. I was one of the best. I had fights with my parents, of course, like “I want to play games.” “No, you can’t play games.” Typical things like that, you know.
Then I had an option to finish my studies outside of regular school, just study papers and finish my school whenever I want. I think it was when I was sixteen, or seventeen. I decided that I don’t want to go to school anymore. I just really wanted to become a pro gamer. I was a kid; I didn’t really like school, but now, three years later, I think I could have enjoyed school. Now I want to learn more stuff and everything.
Q. You said that you have no regrets, but there should have been difficult times for you. How do you overcome those times, is there anybody that you rely on?
I had hard times during Worlds 2016. I was crying off stage at that time. I was really depressed thinking ‘I don’t want to be a pro gamer anymore’. At that time, I called the owner, Carlos, and he consoled me. He really lifted me up, and he was there to support me even though I had a really bad tournament.
Now whenever I have something in my mind, I talk to mithy. He’s actually one of my closest friends. I just talk to him and we share problems with each other. You know, I really need someone to talk to who’s ‘in the same shoes’ that I’m in. It’s better to talk to that person, so I mostly talk to mithy.
Q. How did you feel when your previous teammates decided to go to NA?
I already knew mithy wanted to go to NA. It’d been more than two years already, before G2, even before Origen. He wanted to go since a long time ago. I was really sad, because I wanted to play together. Everything we built up as teammates just went back to nothing. As a team, if we had built up to 90, I had to start again with new teammates at like 10. I felt that it was like a big setback for all of us; I finished second, they finished 5th or whatever. But still, I didn’t take it personal. I like them and they’re my friends. They can do whatever they want to make them happy.
Q. Did you watch them play after they went? How do you think they’re playing?
I think during the split, they played really well. Especially Zven. But they had a bad series against Clutch. In the quarterfinals, they really played badly. In fact, I think Bjergsen was the only one that played well in that series. Everyone else was bad. I don’t know what happened there, but it’s weird. They always played really well; I couldn’t believe it.
Q. If you meet them, are you going to gank the bottom lane more? (Laughs)
Yeah, I think so. I usually don’t play roam champs like Taliyah and Galio, but against them, I’ll just pick them and go bot 24/7. (Laughs)
Q. Have you ever thought of life after being a pro gamer?
Yeah. I already know. I’m going to be a coach. For sure. It’s something I enjoy doing. Now, I’m helping myself grow, and I enjoy helping my teammates as well. It’s really hard, but it’s really challenging. I’ll become a coach for sure when I’m done with my pro gaming career, but I don’t know when I’ll be done. I can see myself playing for so much longer. Right now, I have more motivation than ever. If I don’t become a coach, I’ll probably be doing something in the G2 organization.
Or maybe I might even return to school. Settle down somewhere, work and do something, whatever. (Q. So maybe you’ll return to just normal life?) I don’t know. Maybe I’ll produce music. (Laughs) You never know what will happen.
Q. If you had to name three things that you want to do or achieve in your life, what would they be?
I don’t know. I’ve never thought of that. I don’t really have anything specific. I just like to make progress every day. It can be anything; studying, learning something new -- gym progress, music progress, game progress. If there’s anything that I can make better just a little bit, maybe better as a human or teammate. That’s when I’m happy. I don’t know what will happen.
One thing I know for sure is that I want to make a family. My goal is probably to be a family man, being good to my family, and then just taking care of my kids.
Q. Lastly, any comments to the fans around the world?
I’m very grateful to the fans around the world, for supporting me wherever I go. Korea, China, Brazil, Europe, America. It’s so nice having such support. I’m really grateful for that. I hope all the Korean fans support me when I come to Worlds this year; hopefully I’ll be there. Thank you.
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.