The Legends Circuit (TLC) is the premier league for the highest level of League of Legends play in Singapore and Malaysia, where top teams from each country grind it out for a chance to be the best. TLC Malaysia 2017 semifinals is happening this weekend and we've kept our sights on one particular player- Lee "Kirino" Kaiwen from Swestic.
Kirino plays the role of mid laner in Swestic and he is the youngest player out of all the teams that made it to TLC Malaysia 2017 at the tender age of 16. From Kirino's perspective, playing League of Legends is all about vying to be the best by training his reflexes, mastering a champion and learning the art of outplaying his opponents even when in a losing matchup, just like what Faker does week in and week out.
However, the road to being the best is not an easy one. Kirino spends most of his free time playing League of Legends while still attending classes and keeping his grades up. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson once said, "Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come," and this saying is definitely true for Kirino. He started playing League of Legends at the age of 10 and he has improved tremendously since then. In 2014, he ended the season in Gold tier and the following year, he was already the top 15 Challenger ranked players after 7 months in Singapore and Malaysia. Back in April 2016, Kirino and his team even won the Inter-CC Championship representing Invasion cyber cafe.
Although he has been a playing mid lane for years now, he still thinks that it is the hardest lane to play. According to Kirino, he stated that playing as a mid laner improves his map awareness because one small misstep will easily lead to a kill for the enemy. Kirino's favorite champion to play in the mid lane is The Master of Shadows, Zed. Since he always trains himself for better reflexes and outplay his opponents, he claims that Zed is the perfect champion for him due to the fact that Zed has high mobility and also has a very high outplay potential with the help of his shadows.
Pillar of Support
Even though Kirino has quite the achievement at such a young age, he couldn't have done it without the love and support from his parents. In an interview with Kirino and his parents done by Garena last year, his parents talked about their support for their son and also their perspective on the eSports scene.
Kirino's parents believe that study is more important than gaming but they don't stop Kirino from playing League as long as he has good results in his exams. "It isn’t good to forbid your children from gaming. If you do that, they might skip school and play at cyber cafes instead. Luckily, when my son started joining tournaments, we went along to have a look and realized the players didn’t seem like the type to do all that. It’s different," Kirino's father stated.
Furthermore, his mother also gave her thoughts by saying, "It’s too early to say that professional eSports players have no future since we won’t know where we will be in, say, 5 years. Who knows what League will become in the future? But most importantly, his studies are still first priority. We hope he gets 100% in his exams but we all know it’s impossible (laughs). But he has to try his best. Since he said he could do it, we will support him and make time for him as he makes time for us. It’s a win-win situation. Besides that, Kirino's parents stated that it is unfair to the children if the parents stop them from playing without even being involved and judging the gaming scene as this hobby might even be their future.
Praises From Other Players
Kirino's performance has definitely garnered a lot of attention and praises were showered upon him by other pro-players. Kirino's teammate and jungler, Ben "Benshy" Leow commented that Kirino is a player that has what it takes to be the best. "Kirino is a skillful player, gifted with fantastic mechanics in the mid lane. He is willing to make plays that can carry the entire team and is also always willing to listen to advice. While some may feel he can be a little obnoxious in solo queue, he is really friendly in person in real life,” Benshy stated.
Former Kuala Lumpur Hunters and now Hong Kong eSports mid laner, Poon "OzoraVeki" Kok Sing also praised Kirino by saying, "While Kirino may not have a very deep understanding on how to play the game strategically, his bold and wild playmaking abilities will surprise a lot of players. He is definitely one of the up and coming players in Malaysia and might just be the talent we need, if trained correctly."
TLC Malaysia 2017 Semifinals
Kirino and Swestic will continue fighting for their dream to be champions as they take on the tournament newcomers, TWICE in the semifinals of TLC Malaysia 2017, after defeating Orange eSports in a 3-0 clean sweep. Catch all the action live on http://live.garena.com/ this Sunday, 12th March 2017 at 7.00pm.