On June 13th, Kingzone DragonX continued its undefeated win streak in the LCK summer split by defeating SK Telecom T1. The match offered a fierce competition for both games, with SKT taking the second game of the series away from Kingzone. Kingzone, however, managed to defeat the defending LCK champions on a 2-1 match score, drawing praises with its early game aggression and performance of the individual players.
After Kingzone DragonX defeated SKT, Ashley Kang interviewed Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee, the team’s top laner.
You’ve just walked out victorious over SK Telecom T1, on a 2-1 match score. I’d like to ask how you are feeling.
I feel happier than when I won against other teams. It’s a nice feeling, knowing that we’ve improved.
What has changed for Kingzone DragonX, for the team to find its victory today?
It’s just that we won against a team that we weren’t able to win against during the spring split. I think the victory itself is an improvement.
Kingzone has not had a good match history with SKT in the past. People had even started calling SKT a counter to Kingzone. Given that context, what resolution did you have as you headed into the game?
Every time we went against SKT, we lost the games, even the ones we were supposed to win. Again, when it looked like we were on the winning side today, all we had to focus on was making fewer mistakes to win.
You played against your ex-teammate, Khan. Were you concerned about that fact at all?
No, not really.
How about when you walked up to shake Khan’s hands after the victory?
Khan and I always hug each other after games. After every loss I had against him, he walked up to give me a hug, it felt like he was consoling me. But this time, when we hugged each other, it felt a bit… bittersweet? Yeah, it felt like that.
Let’s talk about the games themselves. You locked in Kled in game one, and performed impressively despite it being an off-meta pick. I’d like to hear your thoughts on picking Kled.
Kled synergizes well with Sejuani, but he also does well during the late game against Aatrox when you get past the laning phase. So I picked him for the synergy plus the favorable matchup against Aatrox.
Kled requires the team to proactively play around him, reacting in union whenever Kled uses his ult. Kingzone successfully played around Kled today. It was fitting of Kingzone, known for its proactiveness and fast-paced playstyle. Can you tell us more about the playstyle?
Our team responds fast and likes to initiate teamfights immediately whenever we see an opening. Because of that, Kled fits in with our playstyle very well along with other engage champions.
Kingzone indeed has very fast decision-making. Where do these shotcalls usually come from?
We like to throw out our thoughts as they come up, but it’s usually up to the initiators like me, Cuzz and TusiN to shotcall. Those calls usually come from whoever is playing an engage champion that can lead a teamfight.
All teams have their own shotcallers. However, Kingzone, in particular, seems to have great coordination around their shotcalls. When a decision is made, all players go in at a blink of an eye. Can you tell us more about that and the trust among the team members?
Of course, you have to rely on and trust each other to follow through with a decision. Our coach [Hirai] takes trust very seriously, so it’s really all thanks to him.
Everyone in Kingzone DragonX had an exceptional performance. If you could pick one player as the MVP today, who would you choose?
I’d choose Deft and Naehyun.
For what reasons?
Naehyun always cheers the entire team up with his positive energy, and Deft is always someone we can rely on, backing us up with his consistency. Those two are the MVPs in my heart.
Kingzone DragonX has been showing a playstyle that is different from the traditional LCK playstyle. The League community has been comparing Kingzone to LEC and G2 Esports. I’d like to know what you think of the comparison.
G2 is the team that won the MSI. It makes me happy and I take it as a compliment that they’re comparing us to them. I’m not sure about our playstyles being similar, though.
Then if you were to assuredly tell us, how would you explain Kingzone DragonX’s playstyle?
Now that I’m asked to explain it … We do sound similar to G2 [laughs] I would say that it’s about everyone being on the same page when we open a team fight. We go into teamfights as one, engaging with confidence, with trust for one another.
Kingzone continues its undefeated win streak in the LCK. Although it is quite early in the summer split, perhaps Kingzone can already start dreaming of Worlds. What are your current goals for the summer split?
I hope we make it to Worlds, without having to go through the regional qualifiers.
Regional qualifiers are stressful, for sure.
Yeah, you have less time to rest [before the Worlds] if you have to play the qualifiers. If we are lucky enough to make it to Worlds, I would rather do it without having to go through the qualifiers.
Which LCK teams do you see as a rival in this summer split race to qualify to Worlds?
We really struggled against SKT today, even though we eventually won the game. I don’t think we ever won against SKT on a 2-0 match. So I’d say SKT.
You’re going to face Afreeca Freecs next. Afreeca is also in a good momentum with their recent victory against SKT. What is your resolution as you compete with Afreeca and their top laner, Kiin?
Afreeca is doing well and is a strong competitor of ours into Worlds. As long as we aren’t caught off guard and keep a firm ground, we can win, for sure. We’ll work hard to prep for our victory.