T1 Keria reflects on winning LCK MVP ahead of MSI 2023: “I couldn’t feel a thing”

Carver Fisher
Keria reflects on LCK MVP MSI 2023

T1 Keria is widely regarded as one of the best support players in the world, with a level of mechanical skill that’s arguably unrivaled in his role. However, Keria didn’t seem to care much about individual achievements in his interview with Dexerto and was solely focused on getting a big win at MSI 2023.

T1 has a massive fanbase, and for good reason. Despite not bringing home a first-place international finish for several years, they’ve been painfully close many times. On paper, they’re the best team in the world. In practice, they’ve fallen just short of greatness time and time again.

MSI 2023 is a chance for redemption, but also another chance for heartbreak. T1’s loss to Gen.G in the LCK Spring Final was fairly one-sided despite T1’s individual members sweeping the all-pro vote, and they went into the event with a chip on their shoulder before ultimately downing Gen.G.

Ryu ‘Keria’ Min-seok seems to have grown substantially since he originally came to T1. Though many think of Keria and the other new-era T1 members that surround Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok as the new generation representing LoL’s most famous organization, Keria’s biggest successes and greatest failures have molded him in a different player. He conducts himself like a seasoned veteran, a far cry from his rookie years.

Keria’s perspective on being a pro player has changed

To understand why winning MSI is so important to Keria and the rest of T1, it’s crucial to remember what happened the last time T1 went to an international event.

Even with DRX having such a miraculous lower-bracket run, even with T1 coming so far as a team and looking dominant through the entire year running all the way up to their showing at Worlds 2022, there’s one moment that stands out as something everyone remembers about T1’s failed run for the title: How hard Keria took the loss.

After being on top of the world through 2022, they fell at the final hurdle. But 2023 was set up to be the year for T1. They swept the all-pro vote and continued their trend of excellence all the way up to the LCK Spring Finals.

They ultimately lost 3-1 to Gen.G, the same team they had lost to in the Summer 2022 Finals.

This left Keria to try and figure out how to improve when they’re already so close to the top of the world but not quite good enough to win. So, the first thing T1 explored was trying to re-adjust their read on the meta.

“After losing the LCK Finals, we tried to discover the meta and adjust ourselves to the new meta,” he told Dexerto. “We actively adjusted to new team compositions.”

And, other than their narrow loss to JDG, T1’s investment in finding a new meta has paid off. According to Keria, things are shaping up the way he wanted them to. Or at least they were before he faced the LPL side. “I’m glad the results have come out good. I’ve been practicing really hard for the past few weeks. My expectations are really high because I’ve got a really positive mindset.”

That said, Keria himself is in the business of coming up with new metas rather than adhering to what other people are doing. Though playing more typical support champions seems to be paying off for him at MSI, he seemed a little sad about Riot having nerfed the meta he defined even if he’s happy to have come up with it in the first place.

“To be honest, I think I started the strange meta. Riot reacted really fast. I felt quite good because I was able to start a new meta.”

Champions like Kalista and Caitlyn in the support role defined Keria’s incredibly strong showing in the Spring 2023 regular season, but he’s had to resort to more conventional support picks following a series of nerfs. It’s unfortunate, but Keria didn’t complain about having to switch things up. If the meta dictates that he has to change, he’ll go along with it and play what his team needs.

It stood out just how well Keria has been handling the pressure placed on him. T1 has a massive fanbase around the world that few other organizations can boast, and he’s been able to turn all of those eyes on him into motivation.

“I would have never been a pro player if I felt pressure being watched. Just because we have a lot of fans, there are a lot of people supporting me and a lot of people who are happy for me. It’s a good thing.”

Keria with the rest of T1 at the Worlds 2022 Finals

However, anything short of winning Worlds won’t satisfy Keria anymore. “Except for winning Worlds, I don’t have a specific goal. I want to be remembered after I retire as a pro player and put all I’ve got into what I’m doing right now.”

He then reflected on his past achievements, which, at this point, are many in number. However, he’s missing an international win, the crowning jewel for any League of Legends pro. This has made every achievement in his career seem less important over time.

“For the first time I got an MVP last year in Summer, I was really happy and overwhelmed. It was quite different this year. I couldn’t feel a thing. The only thing I was thinking was that I wanted to win.”

Keria has clearly been changed by his time as a pro player. T1’s fans will hope that his mental fortitude and calm demeanor can help him bounce back from the narrow loss against JDG and push the team into a rematch against what seems to be the best team at MSI so far.