In April 2018, SuperMassive eSports held up the cup for the 2018 Turkish Champions League Winter Split, reclaiming their title from 1907 Fenerbahce and qualifying for the Mid-Season Invitational. At the centre of the celebration stood Lee “GBM” Chang-seok, the mid-laner for SuperMassive, who has shown consistent performances throughout the split with his immaculate playstyle and his off-meta picks.
GBM has been a staple character in the global League of Legends scene for some time. Debuting for CJ Entus Frost in 2013, GBM then played for various teams around NA and EU before moving to SuperMassive at the beginning of 2018.
Ashley Kang caught up with GBM before MSI and discuss various subjects: Why he chose Turkey and SuperMassive over other regions, his views on NA money, his trademark off-meta picks and his personal thoughts on SuperMassive’s chances against Fnatic and Kingzone DragonX.
Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in late April, before the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational started.
Hi GBM! You mentioned that you’ve caught a cold – Thanks for making time for the interview even though you’ve fallen under the weather. How have you been spending the short break after the TCL?
I’ve been shut at home, eating a lot of tasty food – recently our team owner wanted to eat some lobster, so that was nice. Not much to do other than games, so I’ve been churning out play hours.
How did it feel to become a champion for the Turkish League? Did you get a lot of praise from the owners or the coaching staff?
Not really. It was something that they had already expected (Laughs) We just told each other “Good job” as usual, and to do well now that we’re in MSI.
Again, congratulations on winning the TCL. I would like to ask why you’ve decided to come to Turkey and join SuperMassive Gaming.
The biggest reason for me coming to the TCL was to increase my chances of reaching international tournaments. I wanted to go to MSI and Worlds, wanted to win something on an international stage.
Also, this time, I wanted to play on a team that had more experienced players on the roster. In my previous splits, in international teams, I had always been teamed with rookie players where I’d be in a position to teach others. I’d say that’s the other big reason for me coming to Turkey – to team with veterans.
Frozen’s stellar performance at 2017 on his team 1907 Fenerbahce has heralded an influx of Korean players to Turkey. Do you think Turkey as a region, is setting high expectations for Korean players, perhaps see them as a “different breed”?
I think that would have played a part for other players like Cepted and Malrang in joining the TCL. For me, as I have some experience and made a name for myself, I was pretty indifferent about the Korean wave thing.
I’ve shown them the best I can, not as a Korean but as myself. I’m glad to have good results to have backed me up on this.
How was adjusting to Turkey? How is the food there, perhaps?
I wouldn’t particularly say that the Turkish food suits me. The Kebab here, at least is ok…Back in NA, I would be able to visit Koreatown and grab Korean food if I was really having a craving but in Turkey we don’t even have that. It’s really an environment where you can focus on nothing but games. (Laughs)
“When I moved to NA, I went chasing the NA money. However, when I only followed the dollar bills, things weren’t as easy. I was on a team that wasn’t guaranteed any success or results. “
Might ask you a little bit about your time in NA, more recently eUnited.
I went to eUnited along with Dandy. He’s a great player with a lot of experience behind him; really, a good bloke to hang out with. My time with Dandy at eUnited really sticks out in my memory because Dandy was such a great person to get along with.
Licorice also comes to my mind. He was a rookie but had a calm, collected style and a thirst to learn. I was really happy with him. The bot duo at the time also had a good attitude and a willingness to learn.
It was a team that I got along with everyone, and we achieved good results during my time there.
Now that you’ve experienced all the different regions – KR, NA, EU, TCL – What are your biggest consideration for when you decide on your next region or a team?
When I moved to NA, I went chasing the NA money. However, when I only followed the dollar bills, things weren’t as easy. I was on a team that wasn’t guaranteed any success or results. After going through that kind of environment, I decided that for the next team or the region I look for, I’d put more focus on the potential of the team. This is part of the reason as to why I’ve made the decision to come to TCL and SuperMassive.
In that case, looking back at your journey through the different regions, would you have done anything differently?
Everything is an experience. I think I go with the flow.
If I had made different choices, would things have been better or worse? I don’t know. Despite everything, I’m happy with how everything has turned out and with where I am at the moment.
“There are a lot of off-meta picks that I’m always looking to try out, if the time and the place are right.“
We should really talk about your champion pool.
Yeah, I’d agree with that. I would say that I have a big champion pool and I experiment a lot in solo Q for new things.
Any off-meta picks that’s especially been memorable to you?
I did play a mid Heimerdinger once…
I do remember you also playing a mid Caitlyn during one of those casual games arranged by OGN.
I really wanted to play Caitlyn mid in a competitive match, actually. There are a lot of off-meta picks that I’m always looking to try out, if the time and the place are right.
We especially remember a game against 1907 Fenerbahce where you locked in mid Illaoi. You even dominated the game, winning the lane against Frozen’s Galio. What was going through your mind when you locked in Illaoi?
All the variables were aligned for an Illaoi pick, so I went for it.
Now that it’s all past, I can share this with you. There are a lot of prerequisites for Illaoi mid to be a viable pick. One – The enemy ADC has to have a short range. Two – The jungler has to be an AP champion. Three – The top and the mid, also, has to be a melee champion that needs to close distance in order to fight. When all these conditions are met and Galio can’t do anything, and the enemy jungler can’t really touch you. All these prerequisites were met and I ran with the Illaoi mid.
You mentioned that you experiment a lot with different champions in solo Q.
I pick whatever I feel like at the time in solo Q but I’m always thinking and analyzing at the back of my head. I’d pick a champion and then think about what would be a good situation for me to pick this champion, for a play.
I think other professional players should go through the same thinking process. The difference between them and myself is that I actually put it into an action in a professional match.
“I’m actually confident going against Fnatic’s mid-jungle…The game will be decided on how well Rekkles-hyung plays. I’m trusting SnowFlower to hold up the front at the bot lane.”
Once again, congratulations on qualifying for MSI. What are your thoughts or feelings going into MSI?
MSI is my very first international tournament. I think it’ll be really fun. I’m especially looking forward to going against teams from all around the world.
Do you have any goals for MSI, GBM, as an individual or as a team?
I hope that we get a really good draw and are able to progress all the way into the semi-finals. If that happens I’d say we have succeeded.
Any specific team you’re looking forward to facing, if the draw allows?
I’d love to go against the Korean team, Kingzone DragonX. It would be good to meet GorillA again…If we face up against Kingzone, it would mean that we’ve made it far in MSI. That match would be fun, even if it’s a quick GG.
So you don’t see a scenario of where you beat Kingzone?
No, with our class we have no chance against Kingzone (Laughs)
Hey, that’s pretty honest.
Have to face reality. (Laughs) Even though we’ll try our best…
How about Fnatic? You’ve spent some time in EU; you might be familiar with some of the Fnatic players.
We’ve scrimmed against Fnatic a bit. Fnatic is a very bot-oriented team, with one of the best AD carries out there. Their top and mid laners are also strong, so I’d say they’re a decent team overall. That being said, I think we have a chance against Fnatic.
Oh – Could you please elaborate?
I think Caps has a playstyle that is easy for me to go against. I am a type of mid-laner who focuses on laning cleanly, without mistakes. Caps is an aggressive mid-laner that might constantly try to make a play but instead, make a mistake that we could capitalize on.
I’m actually confident going against Fnatic’s mid-jungle. I don’t think me and Stomaged will fall behind in that match-up. The game will be decided on how well Rekkles-hyung plays (Laughs) the bot lane. I’m trusting SnowFlower to hold up the front at the bot lane.
There is a possible scenario of SuperMassive doing the best out of all Wildcard regions and winning two seeds for TCL for Worlds.
I really hope that happens. First of all, it means we have an easier time for Summer Split in the race for a place at Worlds.
If we do manage to win two seeds for Turkey, we’ll have to collect money from the other Turkish teams, some fee (Laughs) If that does happen, the second team that qualifies should at least shout a meal.
Hey, thank you so much for your time GBM. Any last words for your fans, going into MSI?
All teams look do-able except for “The Korean Team” (Laughs) We’ll be doing our best out there.