KZ Deft: "Our efforts were to be regarded as the best, not better than expectations, so we’ll reach the finals and hear that we’re the best."

On April 5th (KST), in the Playoff Round 1 of the 2019 LCK Spring Split, Kingzone DragonX defeated DAMWON Gaming 3-0 and succeeded to reach the semifinals against SK Telecom T1. In the match, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu delivered massive damage for the team, surviving in critical situations multiple times to lead the team to victory.

The following is our interview with Deft.


You delivered dominating performance and won 3-0. How do you feel?

Although the result was 3-0, there was a lot to fix in Game 1. We received feedback for that game; if we fix that well, I think we’ll be able to beat SKT on Sunday. Personally, being solo killed was the most regretful, but before that, there were situations where we could have taken more benefits but weren’t able to. After Game 1, everybody took the feedback well and tried to fix it in the following games.

Did you predict DAMWON would come through to the playoffs?

I thought that DAMWON and SANDBOX had similar prowess, so I thought any team could come up.

Since you had a quick 3-0 victory, you minimized showing your strategies. Are there many cards left up your sleeves?

We played three different comps today, but we still have many cards left.

It’s a tight schedule, where you only have one day to prepare. Is there pressure?

Since they had better results in the regular season, we can’t complain that they have more time to prepare. Of course, there’s pressure, but it wouldn’t be a valid excuse if we lose because of that.

How were the pick & ban strategies for today’s game against DAMWON?

Except for the Morgana-Pyke picks in Game 2, we didn’t think too much about the opponent. Our picks & bans were similar to our regular season and we just concentrated in our own plays.

In what situation was the Morgana-Pyke comp prepared for?

We won Game 1, and in Game 2, the opponent took Tahm Kench. We thought that when Tahm Kench moves around the map to pressure other lanes utilizing his ult, Pyke can also roam, so we thought it would be about the same. Since we had good results during practice as well, we picked them.

How’s Morgana bot?

The later it gets in the game, there would be that ADC difference, but I thought that our team would be able to end before that. I will be using her more as well.

You played several different non-marksmen this season. Do you practice non-marksmen often?

Since there aren’t that many ADC champions, I try to play diverse champions in solo ranks. Before, I didn’t play any other champions from ADCs, but after non-marksmen started to appear last year, I had a change of thought. I think I need to practice the champions that I can play as much as possible.

Is it enjoyable playing non-ADCs?

Since the role of the non-ADCs is very different from that of ADCs, it’s fun.

Do you also practice combos hitting scarecrows for hours?

(Laughs) Not that much; I usually watch the VODs of the players that are good at that champ, and usually, my teammates teach me which item build is good and when the champion is strong, so I listen to them.

Your next opponent will be SK Telecom T1 in the semis. After Round 1 finished, you said that you wanted to beat SKT because Mata’s there, but weren’t able to…

SKT is the only team we weren’t able to beat in both rounds this split. If we look at the big picture to the summer season and Worlds, if there’s a team that we haven’t beaten once, it’s really bad for us. I think it would be more meaningful if we beat them in the playoffs.

Would you like to leave a comment to Mata?

(Laughs) Mata and I respect each other very much. If there’s anything to learn from him during the match, I want to learn… Learning while winning would be better, though. (Laughs)

Back then, you also mentioned that the team synergy was up at around 20-30%. Kingzone’s performance in Round 2 was significantly better. At what percent do you think you are at now?

We did have better results in Round 2, but there still are many situations where the team is shaky in-game… So I would say about 50%? (Don’t you think that’s a bit too stingy?) Then, 60%? (Laughs)

Lastly, a comment to the fans?

Many people are saying that we’re doing really well compared to the low expectations at the beginning of the season. However, our efforts were to be regarded as the best, not better than expectations, so we’ll reach the finals and hear that we’re the best.

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