Deft on EDG’s stunning loss, moving from Korea to China and making worlds for a third time

EDward Gaming entered the League of Legends World Championship going months without a loss, as it was undefeated in the summer split of the League of Legends Pro League in China. Then EDG lost its first game of worlds.

In rallying to win its next two matches, EDG remains tied for first in Group C entering the second week. Slingshot’s Andrew Kim talked to EDG AD Carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-Kyu (in Korean and translated to English) about falling behind, moving from Korea to China and making worlds for the third time in his career.

Andrew Kim: People are calling you the best AD Carry in the world. What do you think about that title?

Kim “Deft” Hyuk-Kyu: Right now I haven’t won a world championship yet and I’ve shown weaker performances at worlds, so I think it’s too high of praise for me. I’m working hard so that I can be the caliber of player that is deserving of that title.

AK: You moved from Korea to China after making quite a name for yourself. How was the transition like for you?

KHK: Right now, there isn’t really any hardship, but last year I had a hard time communicating, and the food was very different from what I was used to. Also the previous team I was in, Samsung Blue, the other players were older than I, so they helped me not go on tilt and stabilize me, but in the Chinese team I didn’t have that environment and also had to make sure to take care of the support player who was younger. I think having to care for myself and another person made it hard.

AK: How did you make sure you didn’t go on tilt or fall into a rut?

KHK: I didn’t do anything special. I think it just got better with the environment around me with time.

AK: You mentioned some communication troubles. How did you overcome the language barrier?

KHK: It’s still there, but I’m still studying Chinese, and though I can’t speak it well, I can understand what I need to, so I think I got better over time.

AK: What are some positive things about playing in China in comparison to Korea?

KHK: Since China has a large population, there are a lot more fans. I also feel that the Chinese teams treat the players better.

AK: A lot of other Koreans echo your troubles with food in China. Why do you think that is?

KHK: Chinese food has a very distinct scent to it, and last year I couldn’t stomach any of it. But as I started to eat a little bit I think I’m able to eat in small amounts.

AK: This marks your third world championship. Is the world championship just second nature to you at this point?

KHK: The world championship is the dream stage for every pro gamer. I think it’s fulfilling in its own way, being able to compete with other very good players after working so hard to come this far. I have this feeling of accomplishment each time.

AK: How would you compare your worlds experience from your first one to now?

KHK: I feel like the first one just kind of went by. But after making it here two, three times now I put more weight on reaching higher stages, rather than just making it to the world stage.

AK: There was an upset defeat by the hands of INTZ yesterday. Why do you think you lost?

KHK: We lost because we simply played worse. I also think we didn’t have a lot of information or scouting on the enemy team, and we didn’t spend a lot of time preparing for that game.

AK: What is your personal goal for this year’s worlds?

KHK: The best I’ve done at worlds was make it to the semis. That was when I first made to worlds. The second time I dropped at top eight. As a player I only want to improve but because I placed worse the second time around, I want to place better this time no matter what happens.

AK: What team would you want to face in the finals?

KHK: Any Korean team. Doesn’t matter if it’s SKT, ROX, or Samsung.

AK: Finally, you were able to defeat Royal Never Give Up in the summer split of the LPL. How did you feel after that?

KHK: We always make it to the finals, but it’s been almost a year since we won something. Everyone was hyping up RNG as the better team and also that we choked on the big stage, but winning in a clean 3-0 was very satisfying.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games

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