BDS Striker: "The goal is clear: we want to win a split this year."




28/03/2024 - 4'

"We want to go to MSI; we want to go to China."

Despite struggles at the beginning of the LEC 2024 Spring Split, Team BDS and their head coach, Striker, have now bounced back in the league and secured a 5th-place finish in the regular season. Now looking towards playoffs, the Swiss organization hopes to match and improve their past results. In this exclusive interview, Yanis "Striker" Kella delves into the team's aspirations for the future and looks back on the last few weeks.

| BDS just took a victory against Karmine Corp, ending the Spring Split at 5-4 in 5th place. Striker, how are you feeling after this match?

Striker: "I think I feel good, yeah. We had a good early game. I think we were aware of their options. I'm also happy about the preparation for this one. So, yeah, I mean, there are some mistakes here and there in the mid-game, but we can fix them before playoffs easily."

| This split has been rockier than the last for your team. Adam said after this game that, despite feeling good after a victory, you guys did not meet your expectations this split. What would you attribute your recent struggles to?

Striker: "I think in winter, we definitely had an edge over some other teams in the sense that we knew each other very well since we had four players that stayed home last year. So that was definitely an upside that we don't have as much right now."

"I think some teams also got stronger through changes or just by spending more time working together. And we have also been trying to implement a lot in our gameplay. After winter, I think that we did deepen our knowledge, but it takes time to build every block of this new foundation and make it stick together."

"I think we are slowly getting there. I'm confident for playoffs and being ready."

| In Winter, you ended in third place in playoffs. What are your expectations this time around? Are you aiming for MSI?

Striker: "Yeah, definitely. We want to go to MSI; we want to go to China. The goal has been very clear: we want to win a split this year. The earlier, the better. Unfortunately, we couldn't do it in winter. We've taken our lessons, and we will try to achieve it in spring."

| Do you feel like the team has grown and learned from the temporary benching of Adam last split?

Striker: "I think it is. I'm not sure if we should attribute our growth to this event specifically, but also to time and the experiences we share as a group."

"Naturally, we're getting closer. I believe the group is in a really good spot right now. Everyone is finding their role within the team, which is very important, right? And everyone is genuinely comfortable with one another."

| Are there any teams that you wish to face-off against in the coming playoffs? A rival of some sort?

Striker: "There are many good teams in the league right now. We are mostly focusing on improving ourselves. Perhaps playing Fnatic in a best-of-five could be interesting, right? We haven't done so yet this year."

"Vitality is also looking strong, so it would be nice to play them in a best-of-five. And G2, as always, is historically the best team. So yeah, I would say maybe those three. Even Heretics are really legit right now, so any match would be exciting."

| Were there any major surprises for you this split in regards to other teams in the league?

Striker: "Actually, I wouldn't say surprises because I also think that playing on a different patch with only 9 games can make a big difference. You have 3 days of practice followed by 3 days of competition. I believe there is high variance in this kind of format."

"So, I think the results we saw could be completely different if teams had just played one day later with one more block of scrims. But I didn't expect Mad Lions to struggle, just like I didn't expect us to struggle. I think they have a good coaching staff and talented players, so yeah, they will pick it up for sure."

| What is the major aspect BDS has improved on in the past few weeks?

Striker: "The first thing is trust, right? Trust in our capability. I think after going 0-2, which is not something we're used to; usually, we at least go 1-1 in the first two games. Maybe we're kind of doubting ourselves. We made things harder than they should be because of that."

"Apart from that, I think it's just hard work, you know, and I'm not sure if there is one area where we improved more than the other right now in-game. I think we tried to cover every base. We also have a very complete coaching staff that helps me in that regard, so it's easy to not leave any stone unturned."

"So yeah, I think from laning to team-fighting and macro as well, we did improve a bit. I think our team-fights were a bit better in winter as well, but I'm not too worried about that because when it comes to playoffs, I think we'll be ready."

| Your squad has often received a lot of criticism from outsiders in the past. Do you feel like those ever affected your players? Do you work with your players to ensure that they aren't moved by them?

Striker: "We try to make sure that it does not affect them. They very much know what they sign up for when they are pros, especially if you... I mean, if you want to be at the top of the list, you will receive criticism when you start to play better as a team. Some people will say that you don't deserve it. Some people will say that as a player, you can get carried or whatever. I think that's just part of the job, but this is what I try to tell players. It's up to them to react the way they want as long as it's within the boundaries of what is allowed."

"But yeah, I mean, I think it's part of the ecosystem, right? People who will criticize you, analysts, or whatever. I think it's like we do our jobs, they do theirs. In the end, it's like this in every sport. So, you just have to get used to it."

| We rarely hear from your other coaches, notably MenQ and Ruuxi. Could you explain how coaching dynamics work at BDS with other staff members?

Striker: "Well, it's pretty straightforward. Ruuxi focuses more on the laning phase and early game, although he also participates in everything that is mid-game related. I would say that MenQ touches on everything, but our macro is one of his main focuses. And I try to bridge everyone in that regard by handling a bit of early game, mid-game, and drafts, setting priorities on what we should work on."

"I'm so happy to work with them; they are so smart and good at the game. It's, I think... It's the first time that I have a staff that is that knowledgeable. Also, we have our analyst, Arces, who ensures that we know everything about ourselves and the enemy team. And Bernadette, our performance coach, who joined us this year alongside Ruuxi. So, I think we have a very strong staff overall. And it's a joy to work with them."

"I believe the more we get to know each other, because it's only been a few months still, the better we'll be at providing tools to our players. And hopefully, by the end of the year, we can make a significant difference."

BDS Striker, walking on-stage with his team. Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games
BDS Striker, walking on-stage with his team. Credit: Michal Konkol/Riot Games

Header Photo Credit: Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games

- Armand Luque -