Hyuk-kyu “Deft” Kim will be leaving Chinese powerhouse Edward Gaming after Demacia Cup. After two poor Worlds performances by EDG, Deft will be going back to his home region of Korea in hopes of joining a Korean team with which he can win Worlds. It’s important to understand and appreciate what Deft’s time in China has done for him.
When he first moved to China, he had just finished his Worlds run with Samsung Blue. The team placed top 4 with a semifinals finish, falling 0-3 to sister team and eventual world champions, Samsung White. This loss was crushing for Deft and it could clearly be seen how distraught he was on stage after the loss happened. After all ten players of the Samsung teams left the organization, he would head to EDG along with PawN in the hopes of doing well at Worlds.
Deft’s evolution as a player has been quite incredible. He was often regarded as the polar opposite of Imp. While the Samsung White ADC was looked at as a super aggressive and lane dominant player, Deft was considered a passive and conservative laner that would do insane damage in team fights. In China, Deft developed into a more aggressive player. It was a rough start when Mouse was his support, that was fixed quickly when the team replaced Mouse with Meiko, who was at that time just a rookie. Having stated that he wanted to play with Meiko, the two developed a very strong synergy despite the language barrier between them. While Deft helped Meiko grow as a player, Meiko’s aggressive play in lane helped mold Deft into not only a team fighting god but also a very strong laning player.
Even during losses, Deft (along with Meiko) remained a consistent point of power for EDG. Despite the team failing to go far twice in a row at Worlds, Deft still looked good statistically at both events. While not being able to achieve success at Worlds, Deft and EDG won the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational by defeating the strongest organization in League history known as SK Telecom T1. Defeating them 3-2 in a thrilling Bo5, EDG inspired teams and gave them hope that other regions can compete with Korea if they fight hard enough. Domestically, Deft won 2 LPL splits and numerous smaller events with EDG.
At this point in his career, it probably is wise for him to go back to Korea. The region has been above the rest by a large margin for a while now, and it’s understandable that he would want to return to his home region which will also provide him with the best chance of winning Worlds. Still, it’s important to understand that Deft achieved a lot while being on EDG and playing in China. Not only did he mature as a person, but he also evolved as a player and kept on improving without slowing down.
Any team would be happy to recruit Deft in 2017. And while he may be a Korean player, he will probably remain one of the best players that competed in China and the results he was able to achieve there speak for themselves.