KT Rolster fell in their fourth-round Swiss Stage tie to LNG Esports 2-1 in the 2023 League of Legends World Championship. Despite a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams split the series at a game a piece, LNG broke the tie off a resounding third game to book their places for the knockout stage.
As for KT, due to the result, they now face a critical round in the Swiss Stage best-of series against Dplus KIA, for a chance to progress to the knockout stage for the first time since 2018. Failure to do so would mean outright elimination. Such has been the journey for them and, most specifically, jungler Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan, who, hasn't reached the quarterfinals since his rookie season in 2017 as a rookie for Longzhu Gaming. At the same time, one mustn't look ahead far beyond into the future so long as they focus on the present, and that is what he and KT must do to advance to knockouts.
Following the series, KT's jungler Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan talked to BLIX for an interview on their performance against LNG, what their confidence is like as they head into the final round of the Swiss Stage, his return to the Worlds’ stage for the first time in six years and more.
Pedro Romero, BLIX: Thanks for accepting my interview request and commiserations on the loss to LNG, Cuzz. I want to start off by just covering that encounter from your perspective. Of course, you lost Game 1, and then you came back in Game 3, but What went wrong for the team from your point of view?
Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan: I think we had to play according to our comp and our drafting. Our concept of the game is [such where] we have to sometimes give way when the enemies are on the tempo to get leads, and also when we can get the lead, we have to kind of accelerate that. But when we were giving away some of it, I think we were reluctant to do so, but I think we should have just let them take some [of the lead], and we had to look for late-game scaling, but we were not on a good note in terms of executing that so we were losing a lot more than expected so I think that's the main reason why we lost game three. Also, in Game 1, we had to be a lot more aggressive and proactive when we were winning, but we were more passive, so I think that's a big bummer, too, and we were able to realize that the opponents were also a very strong team.
Pedro Romero, BLIX: And it's with that result that you and the team will now go to round five, where you await your next opponent. Looking at the team's road towards that point, you lost to BLG, then beat DK and Weibo before suffering the recent result with LNG. What were the most difficult points that you can identify throughout KT's run on the Swiss stage, and also, what's the confidence number like for you look ahead at around five
Cuzz: I don't think there was a big challenge in terms of preparation. We always did our best to prepare for the matches, but losing to BLG and LNG was really difficult, and we were really sad after the loss. However, we had to play another match right after so we were able to just pick ourselves up together and prepare for the upcoming match. About the confidence, because we just lost the series, it's a little bit lower, I should say, but I'm pretty sure that we will be able to move on just like we normally do and prepare for the upcoming match in order to play with confidence.
BLIX: I want to take some of the focus away from this year's Worlds and look at your career. Of course, this is the first time you've been on this stage since your first year in 2017 for Longzhu Gaming, so I want to grab your thoughts on what it's like to get back here after such a long time. What's been the biggest thing that you had to adjust on this road to Worlds?
Cuzz: It took me so long to make it back to Worlds. In the meantime, I have always worked my best to improve. I was always doing my best in solo-queue, and I always tried to learn as much as possible from team games as well. With that grind, I got another chance, and I made it back to Worlds, so it feels amazing to be back [here], but right now, we are on a 2-2 score line, so I'm a little bit worried, but I'm pretty sure that we will make it 3-2, make it to quarters, maybe even semis and maybe even higher. So yeah, I wish that could happen.
BLIX: You've seen various obstacles along the way, not just in LZ but also in other teams throughout your career. For you to still be at it and maintain your top level by doing the things that you described, how have you maintained your focus throughout your career?
Cuzz: Even though sometimes I ran into some hurdles and hardships, I always had my goal, which was making it back to Worlds. And I also had my dream, which was, for once in my lifetime, I really want to win Worlds. I had this really strong aim as a professional player, so I think that kept me going. Also, a lot of people around me were taking really good care of me, so I was able to keep working hard even when I sometimes was having a hard time. And because of that, I just kept on grinding, and I don't think there was any specific method. I was just always working hard and practicing, so I was able to keep my form.
BLIX: I'm curious about where you see yourself within the history of LCK because, in competing for nearly a decade, you've been able to garner quite a few accolades both on the individual and also on a team side. Although this might be a bit difficult to answer when it comes to looking at all of the junglers that have taken part, where do you see yourself ranking-wise in the LCK until now?
Cuzz: Currently, I think Peanut [Han Wang-ho] is the player with the longest experience among the players that are performing at LCK right now. He has the longest career, and he is someone to look up to, so he deserves a lot of respect. And I also think that I have quite a bit of experience, so I would say second or third.