The start of Kang “Blank” Seon-gu’s career was not an especially smooth one. Along with having to overcome the mountain named Bae “Bengi” Seong-ung, he needed to prove his value in a prestigious team that won Worlds multiple times. At that time, SKT was a team that was expected to have good results; Blank’s prowess was good, but he wasn’t very consistent, so he showed potential, but also instability at the same time. Because of that, many fans criticized him quite often.
A lot of time has passed since then; Blank has left SKT and started a new journey. Although he was criticized a lot, he still had a bright attitude. In fact, he had even said, “I love you, everybody!” when people were posting bad comments about him.
Leaving the team of his dreams, and stepping towards an uncertain future. What thoughts did Blank have? Before SKT T1’s official Youtube launches the video, find out what Blank has on his mind.
Q. Hi, it’s been a while. Would you like to say hi to the fans?
Hi, since I’m not with SKT T1 anymore, I should introduce myself as pro gamer Kang “Blank” Seon-gu.
Q. It’s the time of the stove league again. You must have been really busy.
Yeah, I was worried about several things until recently. Fortunately, I had some sleep. During my vacation, I just did normal, everyday stuff.
Q. Let’s go back in time a bit; do you remember when you first joined SKT T1?
Yes. Well, I don’t remember exactly, but they say I joined the team in 2015 around November or December. Back then, I was only 18 years old, but now I’m 22. It’s been 4 years already. When time was passing by, it was slow, but looking back, it feels fast. Anyways, a lot of time has passed by.
When I joined the team, SKT T1 was a big team, and I thought it was the job of my dreams. It was right after SKT T1 won Worlds so I thought ‘going to this team is my dream. I want to learn a lot as a member of this team.’
Q. You must have been really happy when you joined.
I really was. You can’t even imagine. When I first joined, I was the youngest in the team, so that was a bit difficult, but since Lee “Scout” Ye-chan and I were the same age, he was really friendly to me and that helped a lot.
Q. Setting the joy aside, were you nervous?
Of course I was. All the players were older and had tons of experience winning championships. Compared to them, I was just a beginner and amateur that had nothing.
Q. If you thought you were a beginner, you must have tried to follow the steps of other players. Who affected you the most? Would that be Bengi?
Yes. Bengi was the idol for all the junglers. I always watched him and tried to copy what he did thinking ‘I really want to play like him’. He was an ideal role model. You know, players don’t play LoL a lot during vacation; most players just get some rest, but Bengi didn’t. I really learned a lot from him.
Q. When was the happiest moment for you as a jungler of SKT T1?
The happiest moment for me was when I was substituted in and beat kt Rolster 3-2. I think it was the summer playoffs last year. As for when we won Worlds, we didn’t win when I was playing. That’s still a regret for me. I always think ‘how would it have been if I had done better?’
Q. Do you still remember that moment when you won Worlds?
Like it was yesterday. We lost twice when I was playing, and I was really mad at myself and really sorry to my teammates. During the last game, I was praying while watching. And we won! So I ran out because I was so happy and thankful. It was an awesome moment.
Q. Through Worlds, your name spread throughout the world. Was there pressure because of that?
There was a bit of pressure after I became well-known, but I still had a long journey. I thought that I should get to the next step by challenging myself. Since I became more famous, I need to do better and have a more professional mindset.
Q. Were there any other memories?
When I first joined, fans gave me letters and presents. Back when I was in a Chinese team, I was a rookie and not very well known, so I didn’t have that opportunity. As I was playing in the LCK, fans started to cheer for me, and after receiving letters and presents, I thought ‘Wow, now I’m getting this stuff. I’m a person that can spread joy to others. This is really meaningful.’.
Q. You’re also known as a player that has treats the fans extremely well. Is there a present or fan that was especially memorable?
Fans made a ‘message book’ for me on my birthday. They all wrote little messages and collected them along with my pictures. It was so thoughtful and it must have taken an enormous amount of effort. Whenever I see the ‘message book’, I end up thinking I need to do my very best.
Q. It would be good if everybody says only good things, but you gained some negative nicknames as well.
Whenever I hear those nicknames, it motivates me. I thought of those as sources of motivation by thinking, ‘I’ll improve so much to make you regret calling me that.’ or ‘Even if you write all those mean comments, I’m going to do fine so it doesn’t matter.’
But it’s better having negative reactions than having nothing at all. Whatever it is. I think it’s a good thing that people are talking about me; if I do better, they’ll rate me higher and they’ll look at me differently.
Q. You have a positive attitude.
Yeah, before, I had some negativity, but after all these years, I guess I changed a bit.
Q. Now you’ve left the team and now you need to look at the future. What are your main thoughts and worries?
First of all, I want to make some change from how I was in SKT T1. Frankly, I used to be a person that’s afraid of challenges, but this time, I thought that I wanted to do something new, and be proud of myself for what I’ve achieved through taking on challenges. Of course, I had some fear, but my confidence is high enough to overcome that fear, so I think all will go well.
Q. While you were in SKT, is there anything that you regret not being able to do?
I wanted to have a trip with the other players to the US or Las Vegas but wasn’t able to. So that’s regretful. In 2015, they went to Hawaii, and they said it was really good. I really wanted to go on a trip with them. Now that I’ve left the team, I keep thinking I should have been there with them at Hawaii.
Q. Are there any interesting stories or memorable moments with them?
This year and last year, Wolf said “I’m retiring. Farewell!” and tricked everybody. When I heard that, I was really sad but more determined than ever. But two days later, he renewed his contract. That was an interesting moment.
I’ve grown too fond of the team. I still can’t believe I’m leaving. I’ve been here for 3-4 years. Looking at my seat, I think that now I won’t be here anymore; it’s very hard to explain how I feel.
Q. Who do you think you’ll be missing the most?
Hmm… Kkoma is at an age where he should get married. He goes through a lot of things -- he’s always tired and has work to do all the time. In the future, I hope I will see him being happy and not tired.
As for the players, I think I’ll be missing Faker a lot. We shared a room and played so many games together. He’s a very respectable player, and I wonder how high he will reach. He was even on a public TV show. I was kind of jealous and impressed at the same time. He’s an awesome person.
Q. Have you ever thought of what you want to become?
You only live once, so I hope people will think of me when they hear ‘pro gamer’. I think that is the ultimate goal as a pro gamer. After a long time, being really frank, I want to make a lot of money, so that money can make more money -- [I want to be] an owner of a building (Laughs).
Q. It’s time to say goodbye now. Is there anything you want to say to your former teammates?
Now I’m leaving my beloved team and taking on a new challenge. I wish you all the best. Although I’m leaving, there are new good players; I think you’ll win it all next year. You’re a good team and a team that can improve even more. I’ll always cheer for you, and I hope all of you do well.
I’d also like to thank all the players and coaches for looking after me during the time I was here. Please continue to love SKT and love me too!
Q. And any last comments to the fans?
All I can say is thank you for supporting me when I had hard times and for being with me in all the good and bad moments of my career. I’ll be taking on a new challenge now and will continue to move forward. I hope you’re always there for me cheering me on. I’ll do my best!
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.