They finally righted the wrongs of last year, and earned Bdd his first-ever Worlds semifinals appearance! Gen.G convincingly defeated the last hope of the West, Cloud9, in a 3-0 series. They sat down at the post-match press conference to divulge some of their thoughts.
Gen.G oDin: “I only had one thing in my mind: being on the same page as a team”
It was Ruler who opened proceedings for Gen.G, answering about what had changed since Gen.G’s notoriously poor quarterfinals showing against G2 at last year’s Worlds. He praised improvements in the team's in-game communication, but also noted “We got lucky in terms of the matchup as well.”
Speaking of, Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong was then asked to comment on Gen.G drawing Cloud9 as their opponent. Both teams were famously relieved to have drawn the other for the quarterfinals, and Gen.G’s mid laner was asked for his perspective on C9’s reaction. “Because they hadn’t played against us I understand why they were so relieved, but based on what we saw from them today I don’t think they should have reacted that way."
Gen.G’s head coach Ju “oDin” Yeong-dal, later also made comments about the improvements the Gen.G roster has made - especially in the light of being one of the few teams who didn’t make any roster changes from last Worlds, with the exception of adding Noh “Burdol” Tae-Yoon as a substitute. “I only had one thing in my mind: being on the same page as a team, looking in the same direction, starting from the in-game play and everything else. It’s still an ongoing thing right now, but we’re getting there.”
Kim “Clid” Tae-min was asked about his almost uncanny smite accuracy during the series, and whether it would be a factor in their upcoming series. For context, Clid won seemingly every contested smite fight, including a remarkable secure on Baron mid-flight from being kicked out of the pit by Blaber’s Lee Sin. “I think it’s a little bit about luck,” Clid conceded, “but in that given situation, we were in sync in terms of skill timings and we were all hyper-focused as a team at that point. I think it’s going to be a crucial factor in the finals and semis as well.”
Bdd was also asked to comment on both his current form in comparison to his whole career, and also whether he was aware of the new nickname for circling the internet - “DDaemon,” an amalgamation of Bdd and Anime character Doraemon. “I check the online communities a lot, so I know that nickname - I like it a lot! Regarding my form, I think I have been improving throughout my professional career on different teams, and also by watching other teams play. Right now I have the best insight into the game I’ve ever had; I can read the game very well and I’m performing at a top level.”
Bdd was also asked for a more in-depth take on his Aatrox pick to counter Cloud9’s opening game strategy of a Yasuo composition after having had a number of target bans thrown his way. “I think from the outside people think that our team has a very limited champion pool, so I guess C9 was trying to play around Yasuo and teamfights with their comp. However, we prepared a lot of different champions, and that was the right timing and a good angle for me to bring out the Aatrox and it worked so well.”
Looking forwards to Gen.G’s upcoming semifinal match against the LPL’s Edward Gaming, Kim “Life” Jeong-min was asked about powerhouse the bot lane he and Ruler would be facing. “I think EDG’s bot duo is really strong, but I do remember that Viper lost a lot to me and Ruler in the past, so I'm pretty confident we’ll be able to secure victory.”
Ruler’s take on the EDG bot lane matchup was similar. “I’ve always thought that Viper is a very talented player, so I’m happy we get to play against each other on such a big stage.” But, like Life, he made sure to note “I remember beating him a lot together with Life, so I’m very confident heading into that matchup.”
That said, Ruler was quick to point out he felt Gen.G still had a lot to work on coming into their match against EDG. “Based on today’s performance I think there are some points we did well, but at the same time, we made a lot of blunders. I don’t think we’re showcasing a perfect form right now, so it’s going to be a very intense series against EDG. It's going to be a very exciting one, and I'm looking forward to playing against EDG’s bot duo.”
Bdd later echoed his teammates' thoughts on the match against EDG, but first, he took a moment to relish his first successful progression to the semifinals at Worlds. Understandably, his first thoughts on the topic were “I’m so happy.” But regarding the series against EDG, he was a lot more reserved. “I think it’s really important to have a good day when we face EDG. Our condition on the day will be the most important factor because I think we are pretty much evenly matched.”
Ruler and coach Yu “Ggoong” Byeong-jun weighed in towards the end of the press conference as well, with regards to what they considered Gen.G’s greatest strength against EDG would be. Ruler trusted in their 5v5 skills, saying “I think we’ll be able to play the teamfights way better than them.” Ggoong opined that both teams have a very similar playstyle: “we both prioritise teamfights and skirmishes, so I think the winner of those fights will probably win the whole series.”
It wasn’t all humility from Ruler, though. When asked about the rapid recovery of the LCK in comparison to last year’s Worlds, where only one team made it to the semifinals versus 3 teams making it this year, Ruler was significantly more brazen. “Looking back at last year, I don’t think we had a huge difference in macro play compared to the foreign teams, and also our laning phase wasn’t way better than the foreign teams as well. This time around we made a lot of adjustments in terms of both issues, and that’s what allowed us to have three Korean teams in the semifinals.”
oDin shared Ruler’s confidence in the return of LCK dominance. “With this World's performance, we've proved the LCK is on another level.”
Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee, on the other hand, was asked about his strengths in the current meta, especially considering the current consensus that Jayce, Graves, and Kennen are the top tier of champions in his role and not historically Rascal’s comfort picks in top lane. “I agree those three champions are really good,” he said, before defending his ability on Graves and Kennen in particular. “I do play Graves and Kennen pretty well, but every time I played them on stage - especially Kennen - I couldn't perform. Some people may think that this meta doesn’t fit me very well, but that doesn’t really matter as long as I play well on those champions.”
To Rascal’s credit, he had a strong showing on the Graves in game two and on the Renekton in game three. “Regarding my Graves performance, I think our mid-jungle had a huge lead in the early game and Fudge’s top lane pick -” a Malphite “- was so weak early on, so I think we had one of the most perfect situations I could have asked for.”
As for who they would be facing in the finals should they reach those loft heights? Clid was unwilling to call a victor between T1 and Damwon - “it’s really hard to predict!”
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Featured image courtesy of Riot Games and Getty Images.