Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol, the bot laner for Cloud9, is known for his aggressive playstyle and late-game carry potential.
In a span of just two years, he has earned several distinctions, including LCS MVP in Spring 2023, LCS Championship Finals MVP in Summer 2022. He has played a key role in winning multiple titles with Cloud9 since joining the team in 2021.
Very early on in his career however, he had overcome one significant challenge: his parents.
In an exclusive interview with ONE Esports, Berserker shared about his journey from a mischievous boy to celebrated esports athlete, detailing the family confrontations he had to navigate before rising to become one of the best bot laners in the LCS.
Berserker’s love for gaming, League of Legends, and his rise to fame
As a child, he developed a love for games quickly. As a result, he resorted to secretly taking money from his mother’s wallet to fund his PC cafes escapades.
Initially, he played simple games like Crazy Arcade, a collection of free multiplayer online mini-games that were popular at that time.
Upon reaching fifth grade, his gaming interests shifted to titles like Starcraft and Maple Story. Eventually, a friend introduced him to League of Legends, marking a new chapter in his gaming journey.
Like many professional players, Berserker started modestly. In a Cloud9 vlog interview, he revealed that his initial rank was Silver 4, and he began as a support player mainly playing Blitzcrank.
Berserker’s natural talent in LoL was apparent by middle school when he reached Diamond 1, a rank he equates to today’s Master and Grandmaster, he shared with ONE Esports.
During his middle school years, he began to see the potential for a professional future — but he wasn’t fully convinced it could become a reality.
By his second year of high school, Berserker had reached the Grandmaster and began receiving offers and proposals from various teams, including T1.
His professional career took off with T1 Academy in July 2020, where he quickly moved up to the Challengers by December 2020.
Berserker’s talent and potential soon attracted Cloud9, leading to his recruitment in November 2021.
Since joining, he has been instrumental force, winning the LCS Championship 2022, LCS Spring 2023, and LCS Spring 2023 Playoffs.
Berserker’s path to pro’s biggest challenge was at home
“In Korea, most parents are against it,” he stated. “They made a deal with me that they would let me go pro, but only if I graduated high school. But, as you know, the lifespan of esports players careers is short,” he shared.
His parents saw gaming as a significant risk. In South Korea, academic achievement is highly valued, and deviating from the norm of completing high school and attending university with peers presents unique challenges in an age-based hierarchical society.
For Berserker’s family, not graduating from high school was an absolute deal breaker.
“No matter how hard I tried to explain the short lifespan of an esports career and the importance of starting early, they remained unmoved,” he explained. This led to ongoing disputes over his decision to graduate.
One day, Berserker’s father initiated a heart-to-heart conversation, seeking to understand his son’s determination. In that conversation, he described his promising opportunity with T1 Academy and his aptitude for League of Legends.
Confident in his future success, he playfully promised his dad that he would buy him a house when he became a well-known player.
His dad was won over, and Berserker received the green light.
Now, with numerous titles and MVP trophies to his credit, his parents’ attitude has likewise changed. “Before, they were really worried when I left for C9, but now they don’t even look back at me when they say goodbye,” he laughed.
And his dad?
“He’s still patiently waiting for that house, thinking I was serious,” Berserker joked.
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