On Feb. 3, in the 2023 LCK Spring Split, Kwangdong Freecs finally got their first win of the season with a sweep over KT Rolster. With the win, Kwangdong Freecs broke their 4-game winning streak that started at the beginning of the season. Their performance was perfect — from the draft to in-game plays. After the match, head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho and top laner Lee “DuDu” Dong-ju joined the press room for an interview.
How do you feel about getting your first win of the season?
cvMax: It’s the happiest I’ve been in 2023. It wasn’t a cheese strategy or something we prepared specifically for today and KT Rolster — all of the players played the game perfectly with a great draft and composition design. Aside from the victory, I was proud and happy that we showed such a performance.
DuDu: I had a few regretful moments in game 1, but I think I concentrated well in the mid-late game. Like cvMax said, I feel good because it felt like we won because we were good, not that they were bad.
You let the opponent pick Yuumi in game 1.
cvMax: The blue side had a choice of setting the concept of the game. Usually, the 1st phase decides the bot lane matchup, and we had all the possible cases considered. Since the draft went as one of our predictions, it went fast. We thought it was okay to let them pick Yuumi because of their team style and draft, so we did.
Was the mid Tristana pick prepared?
cvMax: BuLLDoG said that he prepared Tristana with coach Alvingo since he was in the challengers, even before Kassadin became a popular pick. He practiced it to gain mid lane priority, so we gave it a shot in scrims from time to time when the opponent picked Kassadin. I thought he was good at that matchup, and he did really well today.
(To DuDu) You gave up a solo kill in game 1, due to an excessive dive.
DuDu: When I used my ult on Renekton, I thought I already got him. It was a bad result that came from an idle mindset.
cvMax: To add a bit, DuDu is a veteran, and in scrims, he is there for the team when we’re having a hard time. So when the game isn’t going well, or when he thinks the other four are underperforming, he tries to make plays in a difficult position to change the mood. He has that in his mind, so I think he tries risky plays when we play.
Why did you start Jun today?
cvMax: Jun and Moham both have their unique strengths. I usually don’t change up the lineup, but I am right now. Moham’s strength is in laning details and mechanics. Jun’s laning isn’t bad, but he understands where and when to fight or not to fight in macro a bit faster, so he started today.
Does that mean Jun goes better with the team in the current situation?
cvMax: The difference is paper-thin, but there’s that flow. At the moment, Jun played more scrims, and the team has built synergy with that lineup, so it’s better when Jun is playing right now. I believe Jun will be the main starter in the spring season. I’m not sure how it will be in the summer.
You embraced BuLLDoG after the game. What do you think about his performance today?
cvMax: BuLLDoG showed the plays that I wanted from two matches ago. Although we lost those games, I’m grateful that he understood the concept of the plays well and that he’s applying what he understood to the games he plays. Today, that truly shined.
When you lose so much, you would doubt if what you’re doing is right, but he had faith, and showed such a great in-game performance. I couldn’t resist embracing him because I was so proud of him.
It seems that you have great expectations for BuLLDoG.
cvMax: It’s true that BuLLDoG makes me happy that I’m coaching him. He had a much lower starting point than the other players. I started from the most basic areas with him, but he has great potential. It’s really enjoyable when I get him to do this and that.
He also has great reflexes. This isn’t really related to gaming, but even when someone just taps his shoulder, he makes a weird noise and gets surprised, and that reaction speed is incredibly fast. He has great hardware, and he’s a nice guy, so I like looking after him. I want to keep on seeing him improve — how high he could go.
(To DuDu) For you, what kind of player is BuLLDoG?
DuDu: Recently, BuLLDoG is often in the vanguard in teamfights or when we’re about to fight. Whether or not he scaled well, he knows by instinct where to be — which position would pressure the opponent, or where he should be for our team to be advantageous. Also, he has the mechanics to be in such a position.
You praised BuLLDoG a lot today. Is that why you often play a Viktor-focused comp?
cvMax: We actually didn’t play many games with Viktor during scrims. Whether we’re on the blue side or the red side, we usually pass on the meta picks in the 1st phase, and give the choice to the opponent. The draft goes by depending on what the opponent picked on their first or second picks, and it just often goes so that we pick Viktor. We have all other picks prepared, such as Akali, Sylas, Yone, Renekton, etc. BuLLDoG plays melee champions really well, so I’m looking forward to him playing those champions.
Any last comments?
cvMax: It would have been a hard time, and I’m thankful to the players for following me well. DuDu is really mature, so even if I’m the head coach, I sometimes rely on him mentally. He knows what he has to do, even when the team is having a hard time, and does it. I’m so thankful. We will keep on winning and losing through the season, and have our ups and downs, but I’ll try my best to make a team that’s worth watching. Thank you.
DuDu: We stopped our losing streak, and the team’s performance was great, so I’m really happy today. I hope I can do more interviews here. Thank you.