BDS nuc: "Our goal is to challenge G2 Esports in Best-of-Fives."

BDS

LEC

Interview

13/03/2024 - 4'

"I got criticized so much over time that it doesn't impact me at all anymore."

Despite a slow start to the LEC 2024 Spring Split, Team BDS is now bouncing back after an important victory against Rogue. In this exclusive interview, Ilias "nuc" Bizriken talks about the team's goals for the split, the return of Adam, and how he deals with criticism.

Team BDS, entering the stage of the 2024 LEC. Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games
Team BDS, entering the stage of the 2024 LEC. Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games

| You just took an important win against Rogue, how are you feeling?

nuc: "Relieved. We had some mistakes in the early game which gave the enemy team three drakes, putting them on “soul point”. It was kind of stressful for us. Thankfully, we managed to play pretty well after that third drake, and we won the game."

| This week was difficult for BDS. You ended up 1-2, losing to Vitality and G2 Esports. What are the overall thoughts of the team after this week?

nuc: "Well, we started the split with G2 and, I personally feel like I always underperform at the start of the split. I wasn't playing that well and, it unfortunately happened often in the past. I feel like we still had a good mid-game against G2 and managed to find a small comeback. Regardless, I was not too worried since it was just the first game, and also against G2 Esports. We can just go next game, right? Finish the split 7-2 like we did last split..."

"But then, the Vitality game happened. I felt pretty good heading into that match and, I felt like our early game was decent. We managed to take a pretty big lead through our mid-jungle plays, which was supposed to unlock the map for us with Ahri and Sejuani. One key moment in this game was the moment when we were on the top side of the map, and everyone just kind of left when they engaged on us, despite us being 5 versus 4."

"That moment really represents the stress we've had on stage recently, especially with this type of team comps. In scrims, we have been able to execute those comps very well. When we play officials, I feel like nerves kick in for us and, I wouldn't say that we are entirely collapsing but, we definitely feel less ready to fight and pull the trigger, we aren't playing together. The Vitality game was honestly a free win after our early game, but we were really not synced."

"Finally, there was today's game... We lost the first drake, which was fine and expected since they have Kalista. Then, on the second drake, Sheo got caught, and we lost that one too. We had a pretty bad early game and our opponents got to get three drakes for free. We managed to come back afterward and, it felt pretty straightforward from that point, but yeah, this felt like a "stressful" week I would say."

| Do you think this victory will help improve the atmosphere and confidence of the team?

nuc: "There's a huge difference between 1-2 and 0-3. This win will help us for sure. Taking a loss against Rogue, which is the on-paper weakest team of the LEC, would have been a disaster. Hopefully, now that we managed to take this win, we should be able to use this momentum to keep working like we did before because I think we were on the right track. I want us to have more confidence playing this type of composition."

| Do you think that Azir being disabled changed the way your team prepared? It was one of the most contested champions of the winter split, and is also your most-played champion over your entire career.

nuc: "It definitely changed the meta a lot. Usually, one single pick doesn't seem like a big change but for example, people usually trade Orianna and Azir in drafts and, since Azir is out, teams now have to ban Orianna on red side very often since the champion is just that strong.

"It's a snowball effect because then if you ban Orianna, it means that a lot of other champions that are considered A or B tier get opened up instead. Ahri, Taliyah, Hwei, Karma, and all of those, completely change our drafts."

"We haven't been playing Azir and Orianna much lately since we expected them to be banned against me though. I already know how to play them so, we've just been practicing other things. I've been spamming a lot of different champions last week, like Ahri, Taliyah, etc..."

| Funnily enough, you were 0-3 on Taliyah in professional play before this win. With the small buffs in Patch 14.3, we're now seeing Taliyah rise as one of the most contested mid-laners of the league. Do you think that the buffs have influenced her resurgence, or are there other reasons for her to be contested this much out of the blue?

nuc: "I think she was already strong, but not blind-pick worthy, right? With those buffs, when Orianna is banned out, they really make Taliyah an easy blind pick now. She is playable in basically any meta match-ups. If you build a good comp around her, she has a great kit for competitive play. If you execute her playstyle well with her ultimate, you can take objectives and control the enemy team really well. It's just a really good champ honestly."

| You've received a lot of criticism over your career, notably from public figures like Thorin. How do you deal with all of this backlash and keep yourself in the best shape possible? Does it affect you at all?

nuc: "At the start of my career, when I was Schalke 04 and BDS, it really affected me. We were losing a lot of games and, I was still a rookie, right? I didn't know how to deal with this kind of stuff, and I didn't have great knowledge about the game itself, I was just not that good. It was a mix of a lot of factors and, I wouldn't say I was depressed but, it really made me feel down and it weighed on me."

"When 2023 came around, and I saw that we could truly compete with the rest of the league after the first split, I realized that we could fight fire with fire. I got criticized so much over time that it doesn't impact me at all anymore. When we play, I'm in my bubble with my team, and all that I think about is us."

"In the first half of the winter split this year, I did not use Twitter at all during the regular season. Even this split, I'm not posting anything because I just don't see the value of it. The only important thing in my eyes is keeping our work environment in good shape and working together to achieve great things."

| How is the team atmosphere after the incident with Adam in the winter playoffs?

nuc: "That was kind of a disaster, to be honest. In my eyes, I was already not feeling it heading into our match against MDK because we had our worst week of practice of the split, and suddenly that happened."

"As a fun fact, on the last day right before our match, we were scrimming against a middle-of-the-pack team of the LFL with JNX. So you can imagine just how unprepared we were heading into this best-of-five with a new top laner on top."

"I still feel like he played really well considering the situation he was put in but, this situation really impacted me. I didn't hide it from our staff, this just really impacted me a lot. I told my coaches that I understood the decision but, I still did not completely agree [with the benching of Adam] simply because, I want to win, right? Regardless of what happens, I'm a competitor, and I'm here to win."

"Right now, our atmosphere is cool though. When Adam came back, everything felt like it was back to normal and, even if it was a bit strange at first, I think that everyone learned from this."

| You've been at the very bottom of the league, then went to Worlds last year. What are your goals for this year with BDS?

nuc: "In my mind, it's always to aim towards first place, right? You gotta work for it. I think we managed to get closer to G2's level in our understanding of the game. I think that they still have that clutch component and, every one of their players has great knowledge of the game, which is still probably better than us."

"We're aiming to reach at minimum top two and to challenge G2 in best-of-fives. We want to make them sweat. Otherwise, we also obviously want to go to MSI and Worlds again."

Header Photo Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games

- Armand Luque -