When we asked for an interview with Min-seong “diem” Bae, we knew it would be unlike all of our Shanghai Dragons Inaugural season coverage. For starters, virtually the entire team been replaced with new players, but other things have changed as well. Ever since the infamous breaking of a 42 game losing streak, the energy surrounding Dragons is noticeably different.
Gone is the franchise’s lingering hopefulness masking utter frustration and exhaustion. Now, players like Diem excitedly shake our hands, eager to talk about his team, his performance, and life as a Shanghai Dragon.
What is the biggest difference between the team before you got your first win and now?
The biggest difference was our two-game losing streak and how we were still really searching for our first win. But, as soon as we got that win, the pressure and stress surrounding it was gone and that helped a lot.
How did you celebrate that moment?
We had a mini celebration — we went to Santa Monica Pier and it was the first time seeing the beach.
Operations Director, Michael Sun, who was acting as translator, interjected to tell this amusing story:
Sun: Quick interjection, Diem is from Busan, South Korea which is right next to the water, but he has still never seen the beach there! After we went to the beach, Gamsu really wanted Chinese style BBQ so we went to a place we used to go do a lot during the inaugural season. It was a great day.
Diem… I went to Busan for only four days and even I have seen been to the beach. You lived there your whole life and have never been?
I guess was just too busy gaming!
With two wins behind you, we can finally start talking about what is going right with the team as opposed to what you need to do. What do you think are the strengths of the team?
There are a lot. I don’t want to give away strategies!
There are two things. One, the personal skills of each of the players is very high. Also, the ability to make quick decisions on the fly means we can turn things around really quickly. We don’t really need to communicate too much to do things in the game.
We know this meta is all about communication — how long did it take for the Dragons tp get the communication down?
It took all day every day practicing the GOATS meta. During that time, we put a good month into practicing communication.
Was there any moment where the team felt pushed at their absolute limit and, if so, how did the team get past it.
As you know, it is all about communication. In the beginning, we hit that wall — we were unable to communicate. Luckily, our head coach and other coaching staff really came together and started helping us
Who on your team benefits the most from coaching?
I think it is myself, actually. Before I came to the team, I didn’t have a large hero pool. But our head coach gave me the opportunity to play different heroes and learn them. I got a lot of guidance and advise on how to play them correctly.
Have your teammates given you advise as well?
They have but I don’t want to say exactly who gives me the most pointers — for strategic reasons
What are some of your most positive fan experiences so far in the league?
last week, we got a bunch of loot boxes from our fans from discord. It was a little care package, it had food, custom painted Funko pops, we even invited a fan whose dream was to be a Shanghai Dragons chef. So we invited him over to cook a meal for us — that was a memorable moment.
His name was Chance and he made Korean Bulgogi from scratch. It took him a long time because he had never cooked for so many people, but it was delicious.
What did you get in your loot box?
Rice cookies, spicy shrimp chips, a Widowmaker Funko Pop, A handmade blanket, a handmade beanie.
What is something a fan has given you that has made you the happiest?
Honestly, it’s the spicy shrimp chips from the loot box! I really love those shrimp chips and I don’t know how the fans found it — it was only and specifically in my loot box and that made me really happy.
So you want fans to bring you more shrimp chips?
What is your favorite food?
Hamburger! I like all burger joints
What do you want your fans to know about you?
I don’t know — even I am unsure about my self.
Ahh! When I am streaming, I never take donations. I think that is something fans don’t know. I just feel bad for accepting money from fans, so you can give me more shrimp chips instead.
So for you, it is enough that they watch and enjoy the stream.
Yes, I enjoy that.
How do you feel about the most passionate fans that draw fan-art and show incredible affection for the Shanghai Dragons?
I am very grateful for all my fans. I have never experienced this much attention on me before and I am still getting used to it. I am not sure why I am getting so much attention, but I am very grateful.
What do you have to say for the Shanghai Dragons fans reading this?
It is a little bit cliche, but thank you for always cheering for us. I know we had a 42 losing streak, but I want to turn it around and make it a 42 winning streak.