Experiencing Tranquility: Kim “Izayaki” Min-chul
With GOATS still going strong despite some upcoming changes potentially shutting it down, however you feel about this polarizing meta, there is a silver lining among the 3-3 clouds: watching incredible Zenyatta game-play, given that it’s arguably the closest to prime DPS play that we are currently going to get.
Someone who has made a name for himself as a breakout Zenyatta player this season is Kim “Izayaki” Min-chul from the Los Angeles Valiant. Initially playing for both KNC Vmax and NC Foxes back in Overwatch Contenders Korea as a flex support before being signed as Valiant’s 12th player;it has become obvious that Izayaki’s precision-level accuracy, improved communications, and clutch plays have garnered attention of late.
I spoke to him last week (on his birthday!) after the Valiant’s game against NYXL along with Andrew Kim, the team’s translator.
So I’ve been watching your streams, and I’ve seen your incredible DPS play; it’s insane. I enjoy how you were able to transfer those skills into your current role as Zenyatta. Given that you are an OG Valiant team member who’s now starting in season two, how are you feeling about playing with the team onstage for the first time?
The biggest difference that I noticed is that I’ve become more communicative and talkative with my teammates during games, whether it be during scrims or on stage. I find myself talking a lot more than I used to before.
What do you enjoy most about being here in America?
(Thinking) I love the fact that there is a lot of beautiful sights in LA, which is a lot different than what I am used to in Korea. The cultural differences that I experience as well are interesting; it’s a lot more fun to be here, around this area–it’s refreshing!
What do you miss most about Korea?
The food! It was really hard to adjust from Korean food to American food; in the beginning, I had a little hard time adjusting at first because of the food, but I’m used to it now.
So playing against Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon, you certainly held your own against probably one of the best Zenyattas in the league and a lot of people were comparing you two. But do you consider him a rival or someone you look up to?
So from season one, JJoNak was a name that was mentioned a lot around here, so I would watch streams, I would see what kind of grip he has on his mouse, how he would aim, how he would position himself. Now that I’ve played against him on stage, he isn’t someone I’d consider as someone I’d look up to necessarily, but rather just another opponent to face.
Finally, your gameplay has been bringing in a lot of fans, myself included, who are excited about what you have been bringing to Valiant’s starting roster. People are really enjoying seeing you pop off on stage. Is there anything you want to say to them, what you want them to expect from you going forward?
I didn’t expect it to happen so fast! I’m just really thankful for the fans that rallied to me and supported me. I also want to say thank you to the people who reached out for my birthday; I didn’t expect so many people to do and to celebrate with me. I’m just very thankful for the opportunity and for the fans for continuing to be so supportive.