The Korean LoL gaming team, SKT T1, has claimed countless trophies in the past. As the team that holds the title of ‘3 times Worlds champions’, they are one of the best organizations in LoL history. That’s why the name, “SKT T1” carries a rather special strength in the LoL pro scene. However, they hit a huge wall this year. They failed to get positive results in 2018 and eventually decided to rebuild most of their starting players. Although they successfully filled in their starters with some renowned LCK players, one player was rather new to the Korean fans: their jungler, Kim “Clid” Tae-min.
Clid, who performed in China for the past 3 years, was known as one of the best jungler in the LPL. Playing in a league alongside some highly aggressive and creative jungle players, he managed to lead his former team JDG to 3rd place. His hard work and natural talent instantly made him a number 1 target among the Korean teams. Eventually, SKT T1 managed to sign this prominent jungler.
We met up with Clid right after he confirmed his move to SKT. Even though he’s Korean, Clid said that he felt awkward doing a Korean interview since he was in China for most of his pro career. Still, he shared some of his honest thoughts with us about his new venture into the LCK. This jungler was ready to fulfill his ultimate goal: to claim the Worlds trophy with his new team.
The following is our interview with SKT Clid.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello. I'm Kim “Clid” Tae-min. I've just come back to Korea after performing 3 years in China.
Although you've played in this scene for quite a while, some LCK fans still don't know you since you've never performed in Korea. Can you give out a more specific introduction to them?
I wanted to become a pro gamer in high school. However, it was pretty clear that I'd be a sub or an academy player if I perform in the LCK. That's why I went straight to China to experience more. I went to China in late 2015 and joined an LSPL(Chinese second division league) team named Newbee Young in January. We won the Summer Playoffs and got promoted to the LPL; I performed for them for 2 more years.
Why did you decide to move to the LCK from a team that you've been in for 3 years?
I always wanted to play in the LCK ever since I became a pro gamer. Also, the 3 years in China definitely wasn't short. I chose the LCK for a new start and challenge.
The team was gradually improving and finally finished 3rd in the last split Playoffs. Your teammates and staff members must have felt sad to see you leave the team.
Yeah. As we played together and improved, we made a good bonding with each other. That's why it was tough to say that I was willing to leave the team. Eventually, our owner asked once more by saying, “Can you just stay? Please, can you think about this once more?”. However, I politely turned it down and asked him to respect my decision since I wanted to go to the LCK for a new challenge.
What did you think to see your former teammate, Khan gaining a lot of positive attention in the LCK?
Since I knew that he was such a good player, I was pretty sure that he'd do well in the LCK as well. I wasn't that surprised; it was obvious that he'd play well.
Did you know that in the LCK transfer market, a lot of fans and teams were interested in your next move?
I really did not expect all this attention since I only performed in China. I'd like to thank all the fans and teams’ officials.
On the other hand, some thought, ‘who is this guy?’.
To be frank, I think that's a more obvious reaction. If I manage to perform well in the future, won't they recognize me more and maybe become a fan? (laughs)
Why did you choose SKT among the other teams that wanted to sign you?
Going to SKT can be a big risk for the players; the advantage of winning a trophy is so huge whereas when you underperform… That risk is really big. However, I was willing to take all the risk. Also head coach, kkOma talked with me numerous times [about joining SKT] after I came to Korea.
You’ll now be in a Korean gaming house in the future. Do you have any kind of ‘special’ expectations?
Well, I guess it won’t be that different compared to China since it’s also a pro gaming team. However, I do think there will be some differences in the case of team culture. That’s why I believe it’s important to respect and understand each other to adjust to this new environment.
Haru also joined the team. Do you feel any pressure towards competing for the starting jungle position?
Since there are a lot of LCK teams that has 2 junglers, I did expect some competition. Whoever I’m competing with, still, I do think that I’ll get the chance to perform if I play well. Also, because Haru is a good player, I think we can help each other out.
You’re known for your aggressive playstyle. How would you rate yourself?
I completely agree on me having an aggressive playstyle. However, I do need some care from my team. Especially, I like to use my support user a lot, and because of this, some fans might think that I’m a bit careless. (laughs) But, I use plays that make the team constantly snowball and gain the advantage if everyone follows my calls.
You must have been highly satisfied by the new Rift Scuttler change in May which brought the mid-jungle carry meta. How was it to perform as a key player for the team?
My individual performance caught attention because all of my teammates performed really well. Especially, the mid-jungle had to communicate well and sacrifice in order to win which we managed to succeed in doing. The plays that I was confident on worked really well with the meta.
A lot of things are changing already from the 2019 preseason patch. Next year’s meta might be very different compared to this year.
If the meta changes, I’ll have to change my style and adjust. Although it might take a while, it will definitely be a good experience for me. Since I’m still young, it would be a great motivation for my improvement. I’m going to try harder than before.
The LCK was smashed by the LPL in this year’s international tournaments. Are you confident on winning LPL teams next year?
I’ve been facing a lot of LPL teams during my past 2 years. I am confident going against them since I can anticipate their plays. I also think that my experience will be a great help for the team.
You lack international stage experience. Do you feel nervous or pressured for your future international tournament schedules?
I’ve never felt pressured on stage and I think this will be the same in the future. Well, I might feel a bit nervous when I get the chance to perform in the Worlds. (laughs)
Who would be some notable LCK players in solo queue these days? Additionally, which team would be the toughest competitor in 2019?
Although most of the LCK players are good, I think Tarzan and ShowMaker are exceptional among them. They are one of the smartest players and that’s why I think Griffin and DAMWON Gaming will be really strong teams in 2019.
What would be your short-term and long-term goals?
Short-term would be winning the 2019 Worlds. I didn’t show a lot for the fans so it’s a bit early to share my other goals. I think it’s better to deliver good performance first.
Before we wrap up the interview, do you have any resolutions as an SKT T1 player?
Joining SKT is a new challenge for me and I might need some time to adjust. However, I’ll do my best to fit into my new team as fast as possible. I’ll try my best; I won’t let my SKT fans down.
Do you have any last words?
I’d like to thank my JDG teammates and staff members for everything they did for my improvement. I know that Chinese fans might have felt sad and disappointed towards leaving the LPL, but I’d like to politely ask to respect my decision since it was what I’ve chosen to do. Thank you. Also, I’m aware that a lot of SKT fans are having high expectations on our new roster. I want to ask for support in the future as well! Thank you so much.