After a much-deserved 3-0 series win against Team Vitality, Team BDS have earned a place in the LEC finals for the first time in the organization’s history. Despite the odds being against them once again, BDS showed us anything is possible in League of Legends. Now they’ll be waiting for their opponent in the 2023 LEC Spring split finals.
Following the win, Team BDS’ mid-laner Ilias "nuc" Bizriken joined BLIX for an interview to discuss his personal journey, the potential MSI qualification, and more.
Yohan Markov, BLIX.GG: Congratulations on the win against Vitality. A clean 3-0 and you’ll be in the LEC finals. To kick off, what are your initial thoughts on the series?
Ilias "nuc" Bizriken: To be honest, when I came into this series, I saw the Vitality name and they have pretty good players. I was focusing on playing well and when we started with the first game, I was really stressed. I was not playing at my best and I thought that we won without me being on point. I thought we beat them because we were a better team.
For game 2, when I saw the draft and that they picked Annie into Cassiopeia, I thought the game was over. I started feeling very confident from Game 2 onwards.
For game 3, of course, there was a bit of stress from the match point, but we won and I am really happy.
BLIX: Did you expect a 3-0 before the series?
Nuc: Honestly, no. I even said to a French streamer that if we go 3-0 I will shave my head and I just didn’t expect it. I thought they would at least take a game from us. We actually stomped them, which is a bit crazy.
BLIX: You still haven’t lost a map in the LEC playoffs or Groups. So tell me, how have you achieved that?
Nuc: I don’t know... I would say hard work. We put so much effort into this split after the failure of the previous one because we could have gone further. We had a lot of anger and we tried to focus on every possible point to be better. We are like a “psycho team”, because we became so crazy about the game when it comes to scrims and everything. We are explosive and we have a mission. I think this is how you can win as a team. Being so obsessed with the win that everything goes through.
BLIX: You’ll be playing in the LEC finals for the first time in your career. Tell me, how does it feel to be on top and how tough was the journey to get there?
Nuc: Holy, the journey to get there… It’s been one year and a half since I started with Schalke 04. It was not planned at all that I would go to the LEC and I had to deal with it. We were getting stomped and we finished last. The Schalke staff still trusted me, so they brought me to Team BDS.
With the first version of BDS, we were actually doing good in scrims, but we were just not good enough and not clicking together in a lot of aspects. Then we went to Korea, which was pretty funny because it was like “The Hunger Games”.
I was stomping every scrim so I could stay and I got the opportunity. In the next split, we were getting stomped and finished last again. The offseason was so hard because I really hesitated to stop playing in the LEC because of the pressure, expectations, and everything. This year has been hard because I had to rebuild all my confidence, think about everything I did, and change totally to fit with this team and play well. I think I managed to do it and I am happy with how I grew up in this short amount of time, as it was hard mentally.
We reached the final, which is crazy. BDS in the final, didn’t think it could happen, right? Always believe.
BLIX: Do you feel a bit sad because the LEC finals won’t be in an arena? It would have been an insane experience.
Nuc: Honestly, I feel sad about it. I play this game competitively because of the crowd and the fans. When you make a big play or move, when something good happens, you can feel the screen shaking and people shouting. For sure it must be an amazing experience and the final will be a bit like every bo1 from the regular season. It will be more hype of course, but it's not in an arena. I am a bit sad that I won’t play in an arena, but yeah…
BLIX: So, you’re one step away from MSI now. Just the thought of playing on the international stage, potentially facing mid-laners like Faker and Chovy, how does that make you feel?
Nuc: If you told me a year ago that It could potentially be Nuc vs. Faker at MSI, I would be mind blown because of all the things that happened. If we win against whichever team we face in the final and go to MSI 2023, it will be the craziest experience for me ever.
Facing mid-laners that are so much better than the European ones in every aspect of the game would be crazy. But first, we have to win the LEC. Finals first, then MSI, then Banger!
BLIX: There’s a lot less time to prepare for MSI. All other regions concluded way before the LEC. What’s your opinion on this schedule and do you think it will affect the performance of the LEC representatives?
Nuc: If we go to MSI, it would be fast and we won't have a break, we will play instantly. Even for the first split, we had five days break and we instantly went back to scrimming. Basically, we have been playing for four months.
Personally, I don’t care about not having a break as long as I can go to MSI. I don’t think there would be burnout, even though we are spamming the game a lot. If you are in this position with such a young team, the MSI experience would be beneficial. You can be thankful that you won’t have a long break, you take the opportunity and enjoy it, then you go back for the next split.
It could be tough at the beginning I think because everyone has been playing for a long time and you could be a bit off. We will keep playing and try to deliver.
BLIX: For our last question: who do you want to face in the LEC finals and why?
Nuc: I want to play versus G2 because if you beat them in the finals, it must be crazy. And we will. Also, I want it to be G2 because I want to face Rasmus "Caps" Winther and taste the final against the best team in Europe.