The Lucky Korean

Kim Bae-in

I consider myself to be a very lucky person; I cannot explain what is happening to me without using the word “luck” to define it all.

I’m still pretty shocked to be here, in Europe, playing for G2 Esports. When I was scouted from South Korea, I was not even near the top of the Challenger solo queue ladder or anything, in honesty, I was not that impactful during my stints in the Korean Challenger Series either.

My luck started even before my career in League of Legends. From a young age, I was fortunate enough to travel around the world, experiencing a lot of different cultures. My travels brought me to England, where I learned how to speak English, meaning my pronunciation is similar to western people when I talk to my teammates here in Berlin.

My luck in life continued when I entered the Korean Challenger circuit. I was a random name in Korea, moving between Challenger teams to prove myself and to get my name out there. Back then, I didn’t know that other regions were really interested in our Challenger series, so when I heard that Team ROCCAT wanted to contact me, I was really shocked. I was not a well-known player at all; I can only imagine they saw a montage or a highlight reel and saw my name there.

When I first moved to Berlin, I felt very alone. I was the only Korean in an otherwise all-European team, unlike many other EU LCS teams which had multiple Korean coaches or players, like G2 last year. I’m not going to lie, I felt homesick at first, just like many Koreans imports before me, but at least I could understand English.

I was able to slowly build friendships with my teammates; I remember that Maxlore was really friendly and that Fredy, Grabbz and Flyy all helped me out a lot.

But how can I not mention Hjärnan in all of this? He was a great partner and he genuinely took care of me; he’s like an older brother to me, even now. I was not guaranteed a place on Team ROCCAT’s roster, it was typical that bot laners picked their partners after try-outs and I was up against many other strong candidates.

I was surprised when Hjärnan picked me; he didn’t really know anything about me, but he picked me. He’s the reason I’m here and I trust him so much because of that.

Hjärnan is a veteran; he had played for H2k-Gaming and Vitality before we met and has even been to a World Championship. He took me under his wing when I was a rookie, teaching me 1-to-10, laning phase, rotations and general game knowledge.

When I was struggling, he never blamed me for my poor performances. He always took the time to talk through my problems with me and was always really friendly, telling jokes and sharing some banter with me. I’m so lucky to have a partner who genuinely cares about my mentality as well as my performances, it gives me stability.

Before I joined G2 Esports, I had heard about Perkz, Jankos and Wunder, but I did not have any connection with them. On the first day, we broke down any barriers, bantering and joking. It’s an open-minded environment and we’ve built up good relationships.

It was really hard at first to lock down one particular playstyle since we’re all from different teams, but right now we’re fighting our own way. We’re improving as a team, not as individuals players. I’m really happy about it; we are a family in real life and good teammates on the rift as well.

Even now, I consider myself to be a really lucky player because it was all about good timing. I arrived in Europe before teams’ mentalities switched and everyone stopped prioritizing Korean imports, thinking that maybe we weren’t that good.

I think that back when I joined Team ROCCAT, it was almost a certainty that, if you had a Korean import, you would succeed as a team because the skill of the import would make a real difference.

That gap is closing now, imports aren’t as highly valued in the EU LCS anymore since there are a lot of young and talented European players, like Upset and Hans Sama; that’s the big difference right now.

I got the chance of a lifetime and I proved myself. I was lucky, but I also worked really hard and I’m proud of myself for that. That said, I’m disappointed with the current level of my performances; I know I can do so much better than this.

Given that I’m lucky enough to play for this team, I really want to improve and I hope G2 fans can be patient and keep cheering for me! I’m aiming to reach Mithy’s level, so keep your eyes on me.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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