Long before the start of the 2022 LCS season, expectations were already high for Cloud9. Despite parting ways with Luka “Perkz” Perkovic and demoting Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen from the first team, both of whom led C9 to an LCS title and a quarterfinals berth at Worlds 2021, the team reloaded by signing Nick “LS” De Cesare, long revered as a leading League of Legends analyst, as their head coach for the new year. Additionally, three players followed his lead by moving to NA and trying their hand in the LCS: Park “Summit” Woo-tae, Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol, and Kim “Winsome” Dong-keon.
Whereas most Western fans are familiar with Summit and Berserker through their stints with Liiv SANDBOX and T1 Challengers, the same couldn’t be said for Winsome, who roamed within the LCK Academy Series, the presumed third-tier of Korean professional League. Fortunately for the American-born player, who moved to Korea at a young age, he caught the attention of LS as his high placement in the KR solo-queue offered a glimpse of his bustling potential.
Though C9 were unable to field their main lineup in Lock In due to travel complications, the time eventually arrived for the team and its support to debut in NA’s biggest stage.
Lest there be said, they did not disappoint. Propped by an unconventional draft approach that saw Ivern and Soraka play in the mid-lane, not to mention a critical team fight win which decided their match against Evil Geniuses, C9 kickstarted their spring split in grand style by going 2-0 in its first week. For Winsome’s part, he was stupendous in his role as his contribution–which came on a 1/2/20 cumulative KDA on Sona and Thresh–effectively steered the team to victory.
Following the opening week of the spring split, Winsome sat down with The Click to discuss his team’s performance, what prompted him to move to NA, integrating with his new teammates, and where he stands among the league’s support players.
Winsome on 2-0 in Opening Week
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me, Winsome. This match with EG certainly lived up to the hype. There was plenty of drama and action and that final teamfight was just exhilarating. After finishing that kind of match, how are you feeling right now?
It’s very exciting. I was very nervous before we played that game but it’s okay because we won and I think it’s very awesome for our teammates. I’m feeling very good. Yeah.
All the good vibes. I see that indeed. I want to look into that final fight because obviously there was plenty of high stakes for both teams. Obviously, both teams wanted to go off on the right foot as far as the season has gone and your lane partner Berserker pulled off that amazing play that decided the match. What was the team comms like from your end and also from the rest of the team as that final fight went down?
First, we were like, ‘We can end” because there was Camile facing Viktor 1v1 in a top situation so we just played slowly. Also if they came [towards us], we just turned around to maybe look for a fight. First is just playing slow so we can then turn around. Yeah, this was the situation.
Of course, man, and as a result of that you guys are now 2-0. You specifically came into the LCS after not playing in Lock In. You spent that time playing with your teammates Summit and Berserker while also learning from LS during that Korean bootcamp. What was it like for you to travel from Korea to NA and working with the remaining members in LA?
We first practiced with my ADC Berserker in solo-queue games. I think he is a good player. We have good synergy and he’s a good person. All [the] people [at C9] are very kind and very fun so it’s good. When we play scrims, LS wants us to get on the same page so we can learn his coaching style of picking anything. I think it’s very good.
Winsome on Joining C9 from Korea
On top of that, you joined C9 during the offseason after playing in Korea for a good amount of time. What made you want to sign with C9 and continue your career in NA?
First, LS searched for me since I have US citizenship and was Challenger in Korean solo-queue. He thinks I’m very good and he let me know about that when I joined C9. I think it’s very good. Yeah.
So I guess you could say that the main reason you joined was because of LS?
What has it been like for you to actually talk with LS? This covers discussing League of Legends, improving your techniques, improving your general play. What’s it like for you to work with someone like him?
LS is a very kind person and I think he talks when we play something else. He can explain how we can play this [certain] champion But [we’ve only worked for a] little time. We didn’t have a lot of time now. We’ve just [been playing] for three days in scrims with him so I want to see more.
Despite working together for so little time, you are already playing so well specifically in the unconventional picks that C9 has done such as Ivern mid and Soraka mid. How has it been to pull off those sort of unconventional picks? Is that going to be C9’s game plan going forward? Just choosing the unconventional picks?
I think it’s like skill skill. The playstyle is [based on] skill, so we focused on how exactly we could play this game.
Winsome on His Current Place Within the LCS
You talked about how LS discovered you from playing in the Korean solo-queue and your subsequent move to NA, but not many people know who you are as a player given that you spent virtually all of your career in Korea. To those fans who aren’t sure how you play (besides C9 fans), how would you describe yourself as a player?
I think I prefer to play engaged supports. I want to do well in every champion. So yeah Cheer for me please. *laughs*
Short but sweet. Do well in every champion. That’s all that needs to be said. Am I right?
You are one of the newest support players in the LCS and will face other notable players in the position like Vulcan, Biofrost, Huhi, and other names. Among just the supports, where do you stand in the LCS? Do you see yourself as the best? Or within the mid-table or something like that?
My goal is being the LCS’ best support. I just practice hard with Berserker and I want to show good play for my fans and for the team. My goal is [being the] LCS’ best support.
I understand that the season is just starting out, but with respect to your goal, how far or close are you from reaching that goal?
For now, I think I’m starting low because it’s my first pro season so I need more [time]. Maybe six more months I think.