DAMWON Coach Kim: "The team's biggest strength is its potential to become even better"

On the 16th of January, at the newly established LoL Park, the opening day of the 2019 LCK Spring Split took place. The second series of the day featured DAMWON Gaming and Gen.G Esports, in which DWG came out on top with a score of 2:0. The man behind the clipboard of DWG was coach Jung-Soo Kim, the coach that was with Invictus Gaming when they lifted the 2018 World Championship trophy. From coaching veteran players to players who just began competing in an official league -- coach Kim kindly shared his thoughts regarding his new team, DAMWON Gaming.

Please tell us how you feel about that victory.

I didn't think we'd win 2-0. I'm very happy that we won. 

Our players are all rookies here in the LCK, so I expected them to shake from the nervousness. However, unlike what I had expected, the players took a very convincing victory. I believe this victory will motivate them for the better in the future.

Although the team is built of rookies, their performance on stage didn't seem like that of a rookies'. How do you lead a team of brand new players to success?

You don't point out a single player's mistake. Of course, you provide them the bigger picture, but you don't constrict them even if they play overly aggressive or make a mistake. 

Even today, I told the players to play with confidence. "If you want to dive, go for it. If you want to counter jungle, go for it. If you can snowball, do it." They made bold plays today, and I think that's why we were able to take the victory. 

Canyon stood out in game 1, whereas Nuclear stood out in game 2. What kind of feedback did you give these two after the KeSPA Cup to turn them into the monsters that they have now become?

I consistently gave them feedback on their macro gameplay. In addition, in order to expand their champion pool, the players constantly tried out new champions in solo queue. Their macro game saw a significant improvement, and they have become a lot more confident in their plays.

If you're to pick an MVP players today?

Everyone did well, but I felt that Canyon did more than his share. He did better than what I had initially expected.

After experiencing the absolute top with Invictus Gaming in the LPL, you returned to the LCK to join a brand new team. You took upon the challenge that is DAMWON Gaming. 

It's very enjoyable watching these rookie players grow as I share my experience and knowledge with them. It's why I took on the that 'challenge'. 

All the way from the LCS to LPL to LCK -- in your opinion, what's the biggest difference between the regions in regards to coaching?

The players overseas have a strong pride. I guess you can say that they don't heed your words as much. (Laughs) Sometimes, when I failed to get my thoughts across, I tried my best to think in their shoes and yielded to their arguments. With Korean players, however, I never run into that kind of situations. We can converse fluently, and I think that's why they listen so well.

There are pros and cons. Coaches themselves make mistakes as well. The players overseas will point out the coaches' mistake without hesitation. You can become a target of criticism as coach. It was complementary. 

What is DWG's biggest strength?

It has a great team atmosphere, and its players are very mechanically gifted. As they get used to playing on the big stage, they'll continue to develop. The team's biggest strength is its potential to become even better. 

In your opinion, what improvement does DWG need?

The team struggle to make decisive shotcalls. As new as they are, they don't know how to properly close out a game. They're talented enough to win their lanes during the laning phase, but that isn't enough to win a game. They need to learn to communicate more and make more decisive map movements. 

What is DWG's goal for 2019?

Our team is still lacking in many ways, so our first goal is to closely follow the top teams of the LCK and qualify for the Spring Playoffs. Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the World Championship.

Is there a specific team that you're watching out for?

Griffin. They're a team that we're trying to catch up to; not necessarily a team that we're being careful of. 

Lastly, do you have anything to say to DWG's fans?

The players on DWG have just started in the LCK. As a result, they'll sometimes make mistakes and overextend. But please don't worry, we're a team that is progressively improving. 

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