The shocking events of MSI 2018 are in the past and the start of the 2018 LCK Summer Split is less than a week away. Although he’s the mid laner of the defending champion team of the LCK, Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong can’t just sit back and relax. He needs to help his team defend the title and advance to another international stage.
He has always practiced, but it seems no amount of practice can alleviate the pressure from the fans, who are all expecting something special from Bdd. When following in the footsteps of Faker, the standard is a bound to be higher than usual, and mid laners often get less generous evaluations than those in other positions.
Bdd is known for being emotional at times, but he never loses his confidence. He always pushes himself to become a better player. That’s why MSI was a very good experience for him. While most would think of ‘lack’ as something negative, Bdd sees it as a chance and possibility for improvement.
Q. You were rather quiet after MSI. How have you been?
I just tried to forget about the bad memories and practiced like always. Recently, I went on a workshop with the team. We swam, drank, and talked away, although I wasn’t able to drink much because I’m not that much of a drinker.
Q. According to one of your teammates, you cried after losing at the finals of MSI.
Who said that? (Laughs) I cried in the waiting room after it was all over. I was really angry that we lost. I still think we could have won. Anyways, both our performance and results were so regretful that tears just came out.
Q. Many fans actually expected a dominating performance from Kingzone during MSI.
If I feel pressure, I sometimes do over-act so I tried to control that. Personally, I played without much pressure. I just feel sorry that the result wasn’t as good as I expected.
Q. You weren’t able to win an international championship from the last Worlds to this MSI. Some say you’re not international material.
Thinking of my age and career, I think it’s all a good experience. I failed twice, so maybe I’ll be able to do better in the upcoming international competitions. Actually, I didn’t find a reason why our team all plays worse when we play in international competitions. The feedback is good and our mood is quite good too. It’s weird. Even when we lose, the atmosphere is quite alright, since they all have good personalities.
Q. Many fans want you to do more. They think that you should have played a champion that can deal more damage.
When we prepared the compositions, I didn’t have much of a choice. If I was greedy, I would have played a ‘stronger’ champion, but I thought that playing as a team was more important.
Q. Before, you were greedy from time to time.
Well, if I’m in the spotlight, yeah, it feels good. But I’m a lot more mature than that now. It’s important in a team game to stick with the plan. I’m just sorry for the results; I don’t have any regrets when it comes to playing the champions I played.
Q. Fans tend to only think about the results. If a player is really good but doesn’t play well in international competitions, they rate that player lower.
I still have a long way to go, although I don’t think my prowess is that bad. I need to have enough confidence but also still need to remember that I’m not the best, I have a long way to go. Right now, I don’t have an international championship victory, but someday…
I’m not going to say when I’ll win one. I’ll need to concentrate on the upcoming Summer Split, and think about Rift Rivals. If I get good results in those competitions, I’ll probably gain more confidence and that might pull me closer to the championship at Worlds.
Q. There’s not that much criticism aimed at you, wouldn’t you say?
It’s a bit different. There’s not much direct criticism, but some people just like to speak bad of me. Maybe it’s something that all ‘good’ players need to deal with.
Q. We heard that you didn’t think you’d lose at MSI when you first headed there.
Thinking only about the mid lane, I thought there was no player that could beat me.
Q. That was one of the reasons many fans didn’t want to see you playing support champions.
Actually, those champions weren’t bad during MSI. The other teams didn’t play those support champions that I play, so I was confused a bit. When we lost, I made a request to the coaching staff and played Irelia.
Q. Do you feel pressured for Rift Rivals?
Although the competition isn’t that serious, I’ll think of it as a serious competition and win no matter what. I’ll prepare just like any other major competition. Since we’re playing as Team Korea, we need to deliver good results. However, I’m a bit worried about the tight schedule and about possibly revealing our strategies.
Q. You’ll be meeting RNG again at Rift Rivals. There will be several other strong teams too.
Of course I want to win against those teams that beat us before. But I won’t just look at that sole team; I want to beat all the teams that we meet.
Q. Many fans are looking forward to you meeting Song “RooKie” Eui-jin.
I know that he’s a good player so I’m also looking forward to playing against him. It’s really fun to play against new players, and he’s a player that went abroad after doing really well in Korea. I’ll try to be more confident. If I lack confidence or become nervous, I won’t be able to show all that I can do, so the fans won’t have fun watching. I’m kind of a coward, but when I’m determined, I’m pretty good.
Q. Can you tell us how it will be different if you reach Worlds this year?
I’m gaining experience on the international stages, so if I think of what went wrong in the past competitions, I think those problems could be overcome.
Q. Recently, the Master Yi-Taric composition has become quite popular. Another support champion in the mid lane.
A lot of people say that it’s really good, and I think it’s worth putting time into it, but due to how much pro gamers practice, they’ll explore counters, so I think a good counter will come up. I personally found one, but I won’t say anything about it. (Laughs) Sometimes the counters to weird compositions are champions that aren’t seen much. I think the Master Yi-Taric comp is temporary so I’m not sure if it will appear in the pro scene.
Q. Many people are saying that the gap between the LCK and the rest of the world has closed. What do you think?
I’ve thought that Korea is really good since long ago, but in some positions, that’s not always true. That could be why people think that the gap has narrowed. However, we really didn’t play well this time. The biggest advantage that Korean teams had over the rest of the world was a wide champion pool; in that respect, the foreign teams have overcome their weakness.
Q. Why doesn’t Kingzone DragonX play Vladimir?
During practice and scrims, I always beat Vladimir with whatever champion I play. We thought that he was not a good champion. I’m not very sure whether he’s a good champion in solo queue. Furthermore, I’m not very good at Vladimir. Just normal.
Q. Then which champion do you enjoy playing the most? Or which champion are you least skilled with?
I usually play Irelia, Zoe, Talon, and there’s no champion that I’m least skilled with. I think I become pretty good at the champion even if I it for the first time, since I gradually become better with practice.
Q. Unlike when you first had your debut, there are many hot rookies in the mid lane.
Being young is a big advantage. Currently, it’s a period where rookies can learn a lot more than when I first had my debut. Macro is really important in the recent meta so they can grow a lot faster. I think the mechanics between pro gamers are very similar. I used to think my mechanics were really special when I played Zed, but now everybody’s really good. It’s hard to feel unique in that sense now.
Q. That might be because Zed is a fancy champion. There are more of those champions that look fancy, don’t you think?
I think you want me to say Yasuo. (Laughs) Yasuo became a lot better because of the Conqueror rune. If you select Resolve for your secondary rune, he’s even better. Keep that in mind. If I were to give a solo queue tip: it’s really important to keep track of where the junglers are. Mid lane is a 2v2 fight nowadays. So when you play Yasuo, don’t try to be fancy by riding around on minions and instead play more safely. You need to beware of ganks so always leave a minion behind so that you can get away.
Q. That’s a good tip. An useful tidbit for all LoL players. Then which champion is difficult to play against with Yasuo? There are players who pick him regardless of the opponent.
If Yasuo goes to the top lane, there are quite a lot of champions that can counter him. And when you play Yasuo, your mechanics have to be really good. Does that make the counter the player’s own hands? (Laughs) It’s important to become skilled at playing Yasuo first.
Q. Could you give us some tips for the mid lane?
The people who want to become better shouldn’t try to have a wide pool of champions. You need to find a really good champion. If you play just a few champions and play them only, that really helps. It’s actually really hard to find that one really good champion. Usually everybody knows which champion is good; they appear a lot and have good stats. Don’t get bored of playing one champion over and over again, and think of it as you practicing to raise your tier or prowess, then you’ll get positive results.
Q. You said the mid lane is a 2v2 fight. Wouldn’t the 2v2 composition be important too?
First, taking initiative decides victory in lane. From time to time, there are junglers that go in and counter jungle without looking at the mid lane situation. In that situation, the mid laner has to decide whether to create a 1v1 fight for him or induce a 2v2 fight. If the jungler loses in the 1v1 fight, it’s his fault. If the situation is one where the opponent mid laner can react faster, it’s also the jungler’s fault. (Laughs) Prowess is important, but it’s also important to learn to read the map and communicate with your teammates. The mid laner’s role in that situation is alerting the jungler that the opponent mid laner is going. If you don’t do that, it’s your fault.
Q. Back to you now. When do you think your prime will come? Is it now?
I think I’m just ‘pretty good’. My games are just going well for now. There’s a long way to go for me. When I win lane, the opponent gets intimidated, and it really feels good when I see that.
Q. There are several times where you’ve been so good that you even beat the counter champion.
I think that’s because I don’t play with fixed ideas; I play while thinking anything is possible. That comes from the confidence I have in myself that whatever champion I play against, I can win if I do well. When I do, that feels like a really good experience. That really helps in competitions; you don’t know what bans the opponent will apply and there are times where our composition has to change. Then I could end up with a champion that I didn’t practice with much, but if I think about when I played against that champion in solo-queue or can remember when I played that champion before, I can get pretty satisfying results.
Q. Wouldn’t that be a big advantage for you? Before, you said that you played Xerath without practicing. Have there been any picks like that recently?
When I played Irelia, it felt good. I think she goes well with me. I’m not one of those talented, genius players, so I need a long time to practice and get used to the champion, but with Irelia, I was able to do what I wanted to do without much practice. When you play a champion for the first time, think of a similar champion and it will make it easier for you to play that new champion.
Q. Now, what was the story behind your Orianna hitting nothing twice in a row?
I wasn’t expecting that. (Laughs) I was in really bad form that day. My performance wasn’t very good. I really don’t know why that happened. I personally think I’m pretty good at Orianna, wasn’t my laning pretty good? (Q. ….) I see… I tend not to play her nowadays. (Laughs)
Q. How do you think you’ll do in the summer?
I think we’ll do well in the Summer Split, but it’s hard to say since all the other teams are doing really well too. I always try to be confident that we’ll win a championship. Everybody will see when the season starts, but all the teams are really good; it’s going to be a fun split.
Q. How about Song “Fly” Yong-jun? You used to be in the same team.
It’s hard to say anything about him, but I think he will be confident playing against me. But I never think that I’ll lose lane against anybody. (Laughs) If we meet, I think we’ll be able to put up an interesting fight.
Q. How were the fans different in MSI compared to the LCK?
At MSI, I felt lonely. RNG and Fnatic had a lot of fans and our team wasn’t very popular. This really affected our mental state. I wasn’t that intimidated, but I really felt that something was missing. So I became really thankful to the fans who always send support. I remember there was this guy telling me that he loves me. (Laughs) There are many fans that tell me that they love me in Korea, but it was my first time in a foreign country. Nonetheless, I was happy to have fans in a far country.
Q. Now the only thing left for you to do is win the championship again.
I want to win the LCK championship until I become sick of it. I’ll probably never get sick of it though. And I really want to win an international competition. We all had bad performance during MSI. I’ll do my best to become strong in all competitions.
Q. The season is starting soon, and Rift Rivals is coming up; this will be your third international competition. Do you have any last comments?
We weren’t able to win MSI, so all we can do is prepare and try again. I hope all the fans trust us. We’ll deliver good results since we have another chance at another competition.
We started streaming recently. We’ve got a new streaming room and our team house was remodeled and is better than ever. I’m really thankful to the staff. I’m also quite sensitive about the computer’s performance and I want to thank AMD Ryzen for helping out with everything.
Lastly, the upcoming Worlds will be held in Korea, so winning it would be even more meaningful. The louder the cheers are, the more energy we get, so please cheer a lot for us.