Deft on how HLE made 2021 Worlds, what he expects from Iceland

Deft on how HLE made 2021 Worlds, what he expects from Iceland

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00:00
But if you could imagine the future Deft, the Deft that has just completed his 2021 Worlds run. If you could tell him one thing, what would you say? That you went through a lot. For yet another year -- you went through a lot. Hello! Hey, it's been a while. And thank you so much for making time for this interview. You're back after a break, and you've recently qualified to words. Yeah, been doing comparatively well. What did you get up to? Why would you say you've been doing well? I had a day off, here and there, even during the season. But during these breaks, it was more like ... My body would be resting, but my mind would be frustrated. But this time -- I did qualify for worlds, right?
01:27
Now, I have more matches coming up. During this break, I felt a sense of achievement -- Something I did not necessarily feel during the season. So I was able to really rest this time. And we had a big patch coming into worlds. Varus, Ashe, the champions that you favored during the LCK were nerfed. Meanwhile, other marksman champions such as Jinx and Miss Fortune now look more viable. It was such a big change -- I found it difficult to process the patch. I know it hasn't been long, but Deft -- What's your impression of the solo queue so far? I've been giving each champion that has been impacted by the patch a go. Right now, I cannot immediately tell if the champions that got buffs are necessarily that much better. And, when I played the nerfed champions, they didn't necessarily strike me as unplayable either. But it might be different during practice games. So I'll need to experiment as a team, too.
02:31
And you've been streaming -- Sometimes, I got the impression you often get a "solitude" out of the act of streaming. So -- I don't have too many friends. Ok, I do have a few. However. When I have a break, it doesn't necessarily mean my friends can take a time off, too. I don't get to see them often. It's these days I turn my stream on ... And I've been streaming for a long time. So, the people who have been watching my streams for a while, in a way ... Also feel like my friends. So it's fun to stream on days like that. COVID-19 has been doing on for almost two years now! That means it's difficult to meet the fans in person. I guess that makes activities like streams even more precious. It's true, it's been too long since I got to meet the fans in person.
03:38
So it feels fun, to get to interact with them even remotely. And this is a side question. You jokingly said you don't have many friends. But I did hear you had dinner with Smeb and Score recently! I did hear that in passing. How did the meeting go? After the Regional Qualifier, Score and Smeb told me to get some rest. So we told Smeb, why don't you buy us dinner, then? Smeb answered, I don't have any money. What? Smeb said, he has no money. That's sudden! So I told everyone dinner's on me. We fixed a date ... Then, Smeb didn't turn up, so we postponed the dinner to the next day ... We caught up. We had pork feet together. We talked about a lot of stuff. Smeb's wallet suddenly went empty? Well, out of the three of us, I'm the only person that's still active. Score just came back from the army.
04:45
And Smeb is a streamere does days, but a player usually has more disposable income, right? So the inner Score, he's not a player anymore -- But I did spy that he seemed to be doing well these days, too. His face has brightened. I don't think the military service was a wholly negative experience for him. And you've made it to worlds! So many things have happened, and so much has changed since we had last talked, Deft. I could ask about so many things, the Regional Qualifiers, the playoffs ... But I never got to properly ask, what was your reaction to qualify to worlds? Didn't we also do an interview last year, around this time of the year? Makes me look back to that time a lot. And ... And ... I am reminded, that after I played the final match of 2020 Worlds, I asked myself ...
05:53
Whether I could make it to another worlds stage, let alone still stay active as a professional player. Yet, here I am, once more. And how does that feel? Maybe it's more complex than just feeling happy. After we won against NS RedForce at the Regional Qualifiers ... I was overwhelmed with emotions. Then, I remembered that after I had qualified to 2020 Worlds I was also overwhelmed with emotions -- I couldn't suppress it and I cried, But I wanted to suppress my emotion this time. I thought -- If I couldn't, maybe it was a sign that I was satisfied by just qualifying to worlds. So I pushed it all down. I thought to myself ... After worlds is over. After I have found a good result at worlds.
06:57
Then, I finally want to let go of that emotion. So I pushed it all down. Then, you played against T1. Of course, it was a close defeat for HLE -- But the broadcast caught you smiling, Deft. I don't remember where this was, was it during one of your streams? You said you found the T1 series very fun. Can I ask you to elaborate on this? That you found the T1 series fun. Before the [seed deciding series], Chovy and I told one another that it's actually better to go to worlds as 4th seed. That playing a lot of matches at worlds might actually benefit us. "Hey, the 4th seed is better here." And that the best possible scenario is for us to go five games against T1 then lose. Then the teammates around us went, "Brother, you jinxed us into going to game five and losing!"
08:01
Then we DID go to game five and lost! Chovy next to me told me, it's your fault, Deft, that we lost game five. It was just a funny situation, right. I ended up laughing. Can I ask a few more questions about the Regional Qualifier before we talk about worlds? Your performance did also peaked during the playoffs. People said that you were once again worthy of your nickname "One-Man Army." But I wondered how you would rate your own performance during that period, starting from T1 vs HLE in the regular season all the way into the playoffs. I was curious. How did you manage to pick up your performance, and were you satisfied with the level of your performance? If I try to understand myself as a player ... I care more about the complete performance of the team, over my own individual performance.
09:05
So when my own team doesn't feel "complete" holistically ... I spend my energy towards resolving that first. Until my own team feels more complete in its performance, I push my own performance aside for a moment. Put my effort into making sure that falls into place first. And by the time we were closing up on the playoffs, the team finally began to feel complete. So I finally had breathing room to pay attention to my own performance. You said that the HLE team finally began to feel complete by the time the LCK playoffs came. What do you mean, specifically? Is it the shotcalls becoming aligned, the players understanding the same gameplan, or ...?
10:09
There are many things that play into "completeness," however ... First, it's about the understanding of the draft priorities and our own comps. It's about knowing how to execute a comp we had prioritized. For example, playing a certain strategy depending on whether we have longer-ranged champions. Whether to engage, or ... So many things, right? Whether we should be contesting objectives first or not, depending on our comp. Whether we need to really push the lanes, or give up the lanes relatively early on. The players in HLE became more aligned in each of our understanding regarding these variables. So we needed to shotcall less, because every player understood what kind of play they should already be making. So I could focus more on things like, my own positioning during a teamfight. Stuff like that.
11:15
And now you're back from the break, you'll be going in head-first into worlds preparations. What are your, or HLE's, outlook for worlds? How is the team atmosphere? Actually, our team atmosphere was always good. Throughout the Regional Qualifiers, or even when we were losing. So we don't have any issues around the team atmosphere. And I believe we were very linear, we only won matches in a very particular type of game strategy. Meanwhile, at worlds, every team is competent in a way that no lane is particularly lacking. We'll have to be proficient in playing around both top side and bot side in order to find good results at worlds. Diversifying our strategy has to be our focus as we prepare for worlds.
12:19
And I remember interviewing a variety of players throughout 2020 Worlds. I remember many players speaking highly of Deft-Keria bot duo in scrims. That they aren't even sure how to win against Deft-Keria bot duo when they meet you in scrims. I'm paraphrasing, but that was the sentiment. I wonder if there is any regret, not having been able to show your scrim performance on actual stage during previous worlds. Yes, results are important, but results aside -- Throughout 2020, my [DRX] teammates continued to improve. And my teammates also funneled a lot for me. From the drafting phase, to our strategy within the games ... Like, they had placed a lot of trust in me. And I don't think I was able to repay their trust.
13:27
That has been a big regret for me. And here you are, again, preparing for 2021 Worlds. If you had strong regrets about previous Worlds, I can imagine you'd like to prove yourself, even more, this time around. So what kind of Deft would you like to show to the people around the world? That's a hard question. I seem to perform the best when I don't necessarily try to show anything. It's hard, man. I have to try NOT to show anything special but at the same time, I HAVE to. Ok, then let's skip over to the next question. Let's do the whole routine. Such as -- What are some Worlds teams you're looking forward to facing? The Western teams, when you actually go against them, are stronger than you realize. And to back this up, the Western teams have had good results for a few years in a row. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at this. I guess I have to naturally expect them to be good, at this point.
14:34
Because I've been playing League for a long time, right? And during the early years, it was easy to beat the Western teams. And I also scrim against the LPL teams throughout the season, so I have a knowledge of their playstyle and can gauge their strength. But we can only scrim against the Western teams if we make it to international tournaments. I want to face that team CoreJJ is in, I want to go against MAD Lions, experience all the new playstyles. Have you been keeping up with the LEC or the LCS? Hearing all of this makes me curious. Not as often as the LPL, but I watched the big matches. They seem to have a different draft priority in comparison to Korea. At least at the bot lane, anyway.
15:34
I want to scrim against them, and actually get to experience first-hand why they have been picking such champions. And maybe you got this question often before. But I'd say people are also interested in the idea of you going against your old team, EDG. Meiko did say in a recent LPL press conference that Deft is one of the players he'd like to meet at worlds. It's a fun narrative, the idea of Deft getting to play against EDG and Meiko once again. What were your thoughts about this possibility? We're enemies now. Yet, I still get the feeling we're teammates. Then, we went against each other during my time at KT. I feel like so much time has gone by since then.
16:36
Then, this time, Meiko won the LPL. He's being considered a top-tier bot lane along with Viper. And of course, I've scrimmed against this EDG before. But a stage match is different. So -- Meiko, are you still good? I want to experience it first-hand by playing against him. Well, if you had to send a message to Meiko here and now? If you are the Meiko I still remember. You will be playing well -- No matter whether the result is good or bad. So I hope you have kept that fire, that mindset, that I know of you. I hope you continue to do well. And Deft, you set a record by making it to 2021 Worlds.
17:42
You're the first player in the history of League of Legends to have attended worlds in five different teams. The record reminded people and made them discuss just how consistent you've been as a player. Deft, I know you always say you were not satisfied with the results you got out of your previous worlds. But remember, some people even dream of making it to worlds just once. But you did it in five different orgs separately. You talked about the consistency of Meiko just now, but I want to hear about your consistency as a player, your own dedication to the game. I don't even know why. But this game, League of Legends ... When I'm not satisfied with this game, be it of my own individual performance, or be it the team's performance ...
18:54
I seem to struggle even in my daily life. That's what I've become. I don't know why it has come to this point. It's just ... At some point, this was the person I had become. So if I don't do well -- I can't even live my daily life. So I HAVE to well. You said earlier that you need to feel less pressure in order to perform better. What kind of impact does your drive to do well in your actual performance? Maybe my drive helps me when it comes to practice games. But in the stage game. Because my hunger to do well becomes too overwhelming. My body seems to jump, before my mind.
20:12
So I often make plays that I don't necessarily have to. It's a good mindset to have when I'm practicing. But maybe I need to leave that weight behind when I'm stepping onto the stage. Then this is my final question. I'm not going to ask you what your worlds expectations are, because you just told me, you don't want expectations over your head. But if you could imagine the future Deft, the Deft that has just completed his 2021 Worlds run. If you could tell him one thing, what would you say? I want to tell him, you went through a lot. For yet another year -- you went through a lot.

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