Esportsheaven had the privilege to get LCK caster Wolf Schröder's thoughts on LCK 2023, Team Liquid's "all-Korean" roster and how Worlds 2022 might've impacted some legendary players.
This interview was conducted January 13th, 2022.
How’ve things been for you this off-season?
It’s been a very long off-season. I got back into single-player gaming a ton, played lots of new games and series I’ve never touched before. It was an off-season where, in a sense, I rediscovered non-competitive gaming. The Yakuza series has been really fun.
Besides that, I traveled a lot. Maybe too much. I was able to see my family, and grinded the preseason patch as much as possible in the last month.
Now that Beryl is a two time World Champion, how would you rate him? His trophy cabinet seems to be that of a GOAT support contender, but it really doesn’t feel like that is how he is seen by the community.
The first thing that Beryl has going against him is that despite his results, he’s been in Keria’s shadow. Keria is THE modern era support player, and has been cleaner and more consistent.
I think by the “eye test”, people just don’t trust in Beryl’s mechanics. When I was in San Francisco for the World Finals, so many fans were just discounting him for things like missing his Bard qs, but I think one of Beryl’s greatest hidden strengths is his shotcalling and his decisiveness.
People notice mistakes more than major plays, so when he makes an amazing call, people don’t respect it as much. It’s also been a meta where engage supports often die to set up the flashier plays, so support players get a bit of unnecessary flack.
I honestly think in the future, Beryl will likely leave a massive legacy. There will be hipsters who claim they “always knew” he was one of the best supports from the 2020+ era. Maybe I’ll be one of them.
What kind of impact did Worlds 2022 have on Chovy?
Chovy seems to have matured a ton as a player. This year in LCK he changed his playstyle to be more team-oriented, and a team like GenG really allows for that to happen.
Based on Chovy’s interviews at this past Worlds, I think he’s been humbled as a player a lot. It’s hard to believe, but I think he knows, as we all know, that he has yet to reach his peak. I hope he’s motivated to continue striving for it, because he has a long successful career ahead of him.
Where does Zeka stand in the LCK Midlaner ranking after his Worlds performance?
Zeka is one of the most complicated midlaners to place based on his inconsistencies throughout his time in the LPL and the LCK. We saw some really strong, but brief, flashes of how amazing he can be under pressure when he was playing in LCK in 2022.
That same Zeka appeared time and time again at Worlds. I think some people would put him just behind Chovy, Faker, Showmaker.. Some would put him up there with Chovy.
Before I’m confident enough to do that, I need to see him deliver a strong, consistent performance in the LCK. He’s proven he can, but will he?
You mentioned that you saw no reason for T1 to make any roster changes. We now know that Bengi is the new Head Coach. You and Montecristo have mentioned multiple times that Faker is the true coach of the team. Do you think having a former teammate of his in the official position will have a positive impact on the squad?
Bengi has been coaching on and off with T1 for a while now, and has worked a lot with their academy system. He has tons of history with the org and with Faker, but it’s hard to see what his impact will be compared to previous years until we see how T1’s drafting changes.
The “head coach” moniker usually means a lot with big orgs like T1, and it’s possible that he will have the authority to shape the team the way Daeny tried to in 2021, but only time will tell. I’m hopeful he will make T1 stronger than they already are, and help get rid of some of their weaknesses in drafting.
Related: Worlds 2022 Retrospective
Do you think the LCK will look stronger overall this year?
That’s a hard question to answer. On one hand, some rosters got completely gutted and will as a result be massively weaker. Liiv Sandbox for example really looks like it will struggle to find the same results we saw from them in Summer 2022, but Hanhwa Life looks massively upgraded, and the big 3 (DK, T1, GEN) all look as strong as ever.
I predict, as is often the case, a crazy spring season with T1 domination. After that? We’ll see where the LCK’s strengths lie come Summer season.
Hanwha Life’s roster looks stacked. Do you think they’ll battle for the top spots or is this just another Super-Team doomed to fail?
I am always happy when teams are ready to spend the big money required to build a competitive team, and this isn’t the first time Hanhwa has pulled out the checkbook.
The last few teams yielded inconsistent results at best, however, and I think the coaching staff is going to have to work hard to make sure the investment works out.
As much as I love Kezman, I’d like to see a little less of him on stage and more of Mowgli taking the reins this season. It’s time for him to take a more direct role.
You mentioned that T1 was your Spring 2023 prediction before knowing most of the rosters that have been announced since. Does this prediction still stand?
Yes. To me, there’s no question that T1 is the strongest team this season. Even though they ultimately lost to DRX in the Worlds finals, I think they were the stronger team back then, too.
While the other teams catch up, build their synergy, T1 will always have the advantage. Zeus is still growing, Oner is still growing-- this roster is arguably the strongest roster in the entire world when domestic leagues start.
You mentioned having some high expectations for LEC 2023, so I’d like to ask you a question about a very interesting LCS announcement. Do you think Team Liquid’s 2023 roster will work?
Based on similar experiments in the past with “all Korean” rosters, I think it will be a strong team. I’m not very familiar with Haeri, but I think a lot of this roster’s success will hinge on how well he handles the pressure of a high-end roster like what TL put together.
He has a lot of experience as a player, so I think if he hones that, TL should be a strong playoff contender. Also Pyosik is going to have so much fun...
You talked on the Inven Global interview about wanting to change your casting to better reflect the time you’ve spent in LoL. Do you have any other goals for 2023?
We will be casting the LCK Challengers league in English this year, so it’s a big goal of mine to help bridge that gap between the amateur scene and the pro scene for the LCK global viewers.
I’ve commentated basically every other Korean amateur league you can think of- GSL Code A, Overwatch Contenders Korea, and commentated the SC2 team leagues GSTL and Proleague where many pros got their debut.
I love telling the stories of younger pros and trying to build their legacies even before they step onto the main stage. My goal is to make the young pros look good, help tell their stories, and hopefully make them famous by highlighting their plays!
Anything else you’d like to say before we conclude the interview?
Thanks so much for the interview. I’ll be working hard as always to fill the shoes of the legendary LCK analysts who have shaped the way the LCK global cast operates today. I truly mean it when I say thank you to all the fans who have supported me over these last two years. See you this week for more LCK!
Featured image courtesy of Kenzi.
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