After the transfers in the post-season, fans of LCK saw the emergence of 'super-teams' with rosters that could pass for LCK All-stars. In order to stand a chance against these teams, other teams that went through less dramatic roster changes are practicing day and night in order to stand against the giants.
To meet one of the players who will be facing the giants, we went to MVP’s team house to interview Kyuseok “Beyond” Kim, the jungler who was cast into the limelight for picking Amumu, winning a game with Amumu and forcing the opposing team to ban Amumu.
When we went to MVP’s team house, it looked as if they knew that practicing beyond everyone’s expectations was the only way to not fall behind. In fact, when we finally saw Beyond, he didn’t look so well because of a cold - his voice was coarse, and his face was flushed as if he had a slight fever. Despite all that, he was practicing until the very moment we sat down for the interview. Dismissing the cold as a minor inconvenience, he looked as if his fever was not because of the cold, but because of his excitement and anticipation for the next season.
If his in-game name was any indication, he looked ready to grow beyond the legends to become a legend himself; and after the interview, we were certain that he was ready.
Here is his story.
Hello, Beyond. Please introduce yourself to the readers.
Hello, I am Kyuseok “Beyond” Kim, and I’m playing as the jungler for MVP. It’s very cold here in Korea, so be careful not to catch a cold.
You are looking great today despite being dragged down by the cold! I don’t think we’ve seen you without glasses before.
I wear glasses only when I'm playing games. I haven't really had time to take care of my appearance because we’ve been busy practicing. Despite what you might think, I was actually taking care of my appearance before. (Laughs) You know, using facial care products and taking vitamin supplements.
I’ve always wondered how you came to use the in-game name of “Beyond”, What meaning does that name have?
I respect Sungwoong "Bengi" Bae a lot, so I was looking for a name that also starts with a “B”. The head coach solved the problem by giving me the in-game name that he was using, which was “Beyond”. Since it means “having achieved more”, I’m very satisfied with my in-game name.
Were you good at playing games since you were a child?
I didn’t think that I was talented at playing games when I was younger. If I did, I would have “gone pro” much earlier than I have. I was thinking about my future like all students do, and I ended up with the conclusion that “I want to do what I’d like to do.” That’s when I started to try to become a professional gamer, and I made that into a reality after working hard for it.
How did you start playing League of Legends, and why did you choose to be a jungler?
I started to play ranked games during Season 2 in Bronze League, but I got myself up to Diamond during Season 3 when I started to play as a jungler. It only took 3 days to get to Diamond I from Diamond V. I actually liked to play as Master Yi with an AP build in midlane before I started to play as a jungler. (Laughs) It was only after Master Yi’s rework that I started to feel frustrated at my team’s inept junglers and thought “I might start playing jungler myself then.”
Do you have any players that you look up to?
I have a lot of respect for 'Bengi'. He always shows top performance in tournaments, and his plays. While his selflessness in game is not exactly what I want to have, I feel that his way of playing, which allows his teammates to play with ease, is something that I need to learn as a jungler.
How did you join MVP?
I wasn't really aware of all the tryout notices because I didn’t know much about Korean LoL communities. The tryout for MVP was the first one that I’ve tried. The first test was an online 5-to-5 scrim, but I wasn’t playing very well because I didn’t have enough time to prepare for the scrim, since I saw the tryout notice too late. Still, I somehow made it through. My second test was also full of mistakes because I was too nervous, but thankfully the head coach decided to pick me.
What has changed after being promoted to LCK?
The biggest difference is that we now have a lot of fans. We didn't have many fans when we were in Challengers League, with Jongbin "Max" Jung and Hyunsik "MaHa" Oh being the exceptions. I used to be very envious of them, but I'm very happy now that we have a lot of fans after being promoted. I also remember being very nervous in my first match of LCK because the opposing team was so strong.
How are things going in MVP?
Our teamwork is really great after going through a lot together. To be frank, there was a time when our teamwork wasn't very good. I guess you can say that we lost sight of our goal and were too comfortable with what we were at that time. After thinking hard on how to get through this phase, we've concluded that we need to work harder towards our goals. That put us in a competitive mood and I've set my goal to become one of the best players.
Your jungling style is generally thought to be defensive, especially after your Amumu pick. What do you think of your own jungling style?
I usually play with defensive junglers, but it’s not easy to have a sense of when to go offensive without playing aggressive junglers. That’s why I’m practicing with both types of junglers. Nowadays I don’t feel like I have a certain style of jungling. I guess I’m what you’d call an ‘omnivore jungler’ in Korean. (Laughs)
Do you have any jungler champions that you are keeping an eye on?
Well, I'm not sure if I have any jungler champions that I'm keeping an eye on, but I am practicing a lot with Lee Sin. I liked junglers like Amumu, and I wasn't too keen on playing with Lee Sin. However, Lee Sin is something like a mandatory champion that every Jungler needs to know how to play with. Also, I feel that a good jungler needs to be able to play every viable jungler. That’s why I’m putting my best effort into playing Lee Sin despite feeling clunky when I'm playing with him.
Recently, there are many comments about junglers being overpowered compared to other positions, and AD carrys being underpowered in comparison. How do you feel about these statements?
I’m not so sure about junglers being overpowered, but I do think that the idea of AD carrys being underpowered is situationally correct. It feels like AD carrys have less influence on games than before. AD carrys need their third core item to be decisive in a team fight, but now that the botlane is being ganked more often than before, the time when AD carrys get their third core item has been pushed back significantly. This means that the time when AD carrys become strong enough to be decisive has also been pushed back significantly. I guess that's how AD carrys are. After all, champions in other lanes have skill combos that can deal a lot of burst damage, but AD carrys’ burst capability is usually a bit limited.
Any pro tips for all junglers out there?
Don’t dwell too much on a single lane. Trying to gank a losing lane has a lot more variables to think about compared to trying to gank an equal lane. Junglers need to learn how to let go of ‘lost’ lanes to win. Also, to tell you the truth, the most important part of jungling is objective control, but that is my trade secret. You’ll have to figure it out by yourself. (Laughs)
Do you have any junglers that you want to surpass next season?
I want to be better than Wangho “Peanut” Han. Peanut has spectacular mechanics and is good at making aggressive plays. So I want to be even better than Peanut at being aggressive, and experienced enough to make good counterplays.
You’ve placed 6th in the last season. Were you satisfied with the result? How do you feel about the last season in retrospect?
I was satisfied with being place 6th at that time. However, I felt like I could have done more as time went by. I wouldn’t have felt this way if I poured everything that I’ve got into it. In retrospect, my debut season had a lot more to be desired.
Fans are expecting to see a lot more variety of champions with the 10-ban system. What do you think of the new 10-ban system?
Players with a deep champion pool and enough experience to back it up will do well. Even with the 10-ban system, there are more than enough champions that are known to be strong in certain lanes, so I don’t think there will be any really unexpected picks happening in league matches - especially for junglers. Champions like Amumu are very unlikely to make their return especially in the current meta.
With all the recent transfers, we’ve had some 'super-teams' forming in LCK. Don’t you feel daunted to play against those teams?
It would be a lie if I said that I’m not too worried. However, professional players are all about proving themselves with results, and the results are only known for certain after the teams go head-to-head. Any underdogs who go up against the favorites while thinking that they’ll lose are bound to lose. That’s why I always think to myself that I have a shot at winning in every match, so that I can play without any prejudices.
What do you think will happen in the 2017 LCK Spring Split?
Rather than feeling tense, I feel like I’ll have fun this season. Teams other than the few powerhouses feel roughly equal in power level. There might even be a sleeper team that takes the split by storm. I guess only time will tell.
Let's be more specific then. What is the goal for MVP this season?
Winning the playoffs, of course. We will aim higher when we do win the playoffs, but I first want to be able to prove that I’m good enough to win a playoff. While my performance against powerhouses wasn't that great last season, I’ll do my best to beat them this time.
Do you have any closing remarks?
I would like to say thank you to all of my fans for cheering for me, and I hope to see you soon in the Spring Split. Also, I would like to say thank you to my teammates and the head coach who are working very hard for the next season. Finally, I would like to say thank you to Lotte Chilsung for being the main sponsor.