MVP became popular in the spring split of League Champions Korea because of unorthodox picks in its drafting style, which apparently were the result of systematic experimentation.
MVP’s support player and team captain Jeong “Max” Jong-bin said MVP’s tendency to make unpredictable picks — in the bot lane mostly — is something born of practice, as opposed to solo queue pocket picks, according to an interview with Daily eSports’ Lee Yoon-ji.
“We divide practice into two parts, three games each part. During each part, a player plays a unique pick,” he said. “We decide to either abandon it or develop it further after using it.”
MVP rose in popularity during the spring split. Performance-wise, MVP made a name for itself for defeating KT Rolster twice during the regular season (though KT exacted revenge with a 3-0 win in the playoffs).But MVP became most well known for its unexpected picks in the bottom lane, most notably support Sion.
Max mentioned that the influence of coach Lee Jong-won could have something to do with the strategy, mentioning how the coach used to play “Poppy with Heal and Barrier.” The weight of choosing these types of picks isn’t without its risks, and Max says a fair bit of theater is necessary for success.
“There is pressure in playing weird picks, but you can’t show it because your attitude can impact your teammates,” he said. “It’s good to show confidence on those picks. That way even your opponent will start to think ‘Is that really a good pick?’ and get flustered.”
Outside of the unexpected support picks already shown in the LCK, Max gave insight to other potential picks such as Taliyah, which was abandoned after losing five games, support Rumble, which Max played about 30 games with and said was “decent,” and Lee Sin, which was “wonky’ but a champion Max will practice more “since he has a new skin.”
Another part of MVP’s strength is the immaculate teamwork on display despite the overall consensus that the players aren’t individually very talented. The first step was the team to accept that they “can’t win the same way other teams do,” and then find their own style of play that will make them competitive against any good team in the region, Max said.
The process was successful, and not only did they improve on their summer performance, MVP even managed to go to the playoffs.
“We try to listen more than saying our opinions,” Max said. “The team atmosphere is great so we communicate well, and we have great focus in big fights. When one person talks while there are five different perspectives, attention tends to tunnel into the person speaking. That’s why we like to use crowd control compositions, since all it takes it one player to land the CC to draw the focus into a single point.”
With his own rising popularity, Max has been enjoying the time under the spotlight, especially during a time when supports are looked as rather “under appreciated” because they aren’t acknowledged as much as their other teammates. The role of support in Korea has been defined by two legendary Korean support players, and Max wishes to be the third.
“I want to be the type of non-traditional support who can win even in international tournaments with unorthodox picks,” he said. “Right now we have Mata (Cho Se-hyeong), who is well known for his roaming play or shot-calling, and MadLife (Hong Min-ki), who raised the platform of supports everywhere. I want to be known in my own unique way.”