On Feb. 23, in the 2023 LCK Spring Split, T1 emerged victorious with a 2-0 sweep over Liiv SANDBOX. With a clean victory, T1 continued their strong run in the season with ten wins and only one loss. Ryu “Keria” Min-seok had a fine performance in today’s match playing Nami and his signature ADC support pick, Caitlyn. After the match, he joined Inven Global for a brief chat.
Congratulations on the win. You're now in the lead with 10 wins and only 1 loss. How do you feel about that?
It feels good because Gen.G and Liiv Sandbox were in second and third place, and we beat both of them. I think we can defend first place on our own if we play well in the remaining games.
As the first round is over, you played at least once against every team. How would you evaluate the first round overall?
As a team, I think we had a lot to work on at the beginning of the first round. We had to learn more about what we're good at regarding drafting or macro. As we played, we were able to identify and improve our strengths more.
What were some of the areas that were lacking?
I think we had some communication issues, and it kind of felt like there was something slowing us down when we played. Things didn’t click the way it supposed to.
How do you personally rate yourself?
We went 8-1 in the first round, and I'm happy that I've benefitted a lot and got a lot of attention for my ADC support this season. [Laughs]
It must have been a lot of fun to play compared to other seasons.
That's right. This season has been more fun for me personally than in the past.
If you had to pick a first-round MVP, who would it be?
I think it's safe to say, me. [Laughs] I had a lot of fun with the ADC support, and I'm leading in POG points.
As you said, you're currently tied for the lead in POG points with Oner at 700 points. Do you have any aspirations for the top spot?
Since no support has ever become player of the split, I'd like to, but I think I’m already out of the race. I've used up all the champions I can get voted as POG in round 1 already. I'm sure the opponents will be aware now and won't allow me to do that anymore, and I wouldn’t be able to get any more POGs.
But you played Caitlyn again today.
As a matter of fact, I did. [Laughs] Okay then, player of the season, honestly, I want to win.
Faker, who is always right next to you, is a record-breaker. He is literally the record-holder of all records. You have a long future ahead of you, so what records do you want to break?
I'd like to become the all-time leader in assists. It’s my fourth year as a pro player, and I have around 2,800-2,900 assists. Since I’m a support, I’ll probably be able to catch up if I work hard.
I believe you can catch up within two years, if he doesn’t run away further. Let’s talk about today’s match for a bit. You played two matches with a Liiv SANDBOX in a short period of time. What's it like to prepare to play the same team twice in such a short period?
It was a rematch in a week. If we had lost the last game last time, there would have been a lot more to think about and a lot more pressure, but since we won, we were more confident in our preparation for this game, and it was relatively easy, which is probably why we were able to win 2-0.
This season, T1 has been playing a lot of different compositions. There were experimental drafts and just simply unique picks. Many people have been saying that T1’s draft has improved so much. Can you give us a little insight into the process of researching these different picks?
Since our results have been good, we were able to test many different things. Since there are compositions we’re already quite confident in playing, we tried more diverse champions in scrims. Sometimes, when a champion looks pretty on the draft screen, I take a good look at it. I usually mention the experimental picks to Zeus and Oner.
Do you reference other leagues?
In the LEC, they recently played Sejuani mid, and in the LPL, IG played an ADC support just like us. In my case, I watch a lot of other leagues and refer to them.
So far, you’ve played 12 champions this season. Do you have a goal for how many champions you want to play this season?
[Laughs] I played 12? I think I've played all the champions I want to play already, so I’m satisfied. Now I want to play Nautilus again or something like that. I felt comfortable when I played Nautilus against Gen.G last time. It felt like I was back in my own shoes, but it was a bummer that we lost that game.
Tusin said that any champion could be used as a support. Do you agree?
You know, I've never really understood why champions are so locked in by role. I've always thought that good champions can always be used whenever there's an opening. So I've often thought about playing unconventional champions, but I've never been able to say that I want to use them since I wasn’t as experienced. Around last year, I started to express myself more, about what I wanted to try, and this year, I say with confidence that if we play this, we’ll win.
That way, you’ve been utilizing ADC supports a lot. What are the pros and cons of playing ADC support?
Dragon stacks are so good these days that the team who stacks faster gains a huge advantage in the game. The biggest advantage of playing ADC support is that you can run the lane with initiative. Just being able to play these champions in the support role is a huge advantage because it can induce bans during the draft.
The downside is that you must be proficient with those champions to play them. Not only that, you have to have a clear and thorough game plan when you play a unique champion. You need to know specifically how you will win with that champion and understand why you’re playing that champion. You also need to have better chemistry with the bot laner than when you’re playing a traditional support.
T1 has had nearly an identical roster for three years now. Most people would think that would make it easier to coordinate chemistry and teamwork, but what are some of the benefits of this other than the usual suspects?
When you've been together for this long, you realize that each person has their own personality and personality traits, and since you already know those traits, you're more aware of how to talk to them in everyday life or when giving feedback. Everyone has a different way of talking, and it's nice to know that already. It's much less likely to hurt each other's feelings.
So, who’s the most different from their first impression?
Oner. The other players are exactly how I thought they would be. I thought Oner would be a tough, charismatic dude, but in reality, he's more like a gentle lamb, so he’s very different from my first impression.
You’re close to a lot of people in the LoL scene. Are there any players you’d like to be close to but haven’t had the chance yet?
Actually, I don't have that many close players. I think it's because I'm close to players who are popular and get a lot of attention, like Faker, Deft, and Rascal. The player I wanted to be close to was Pray when I was a Kingzone trainee, but he's retired now. I watched a lot of his streams before I joined the team, so I wanted to get to know him, but unfortunately, I didn't get the chance. He's in the military now, so we'll have to wait a while to get to know each other.
It's almost time to wrap up. After today’s results, there's only one win between second and sixth place. It's a very tight race. Which team should you be most wary of?
Right now, I have to pay attention to the next game, which is against KT Rolster. I’ll have to see. Of the teams in second through sixth place right now, I'm probably most wary of Gen.G. Their bot is very good compared to the external evaluation, and their top side is amazing, as everyone knows. They know how to win, so I’m looking out for them.
Is the overall ranking close to what you thought it would be?
No. (Laughs) To be honest, I didn't think we would be this good.
Do you have any final comments?
It's a little disappointing that we lost once in the first round, but we will work hard and prepare well for the second round to end the spring with one loss. Thank you for always supporting me.