3 Friends would play on a League of Legends team, called Startale. They would play in the two first Champions Tournaments, Spring and Summer 2012, but without much success. They played on the side of Locodoco and Kkoma, later the coach of SKT T1 K, to later become their biggest rivals. The 3 Friends, Ryu, Mafa and Score (Formerly known as Joker) would join the KT Rolster organization. Together they would become one of the most strategic disverse and innovative teams in League history. This is the story of the KT Bullets.
The Startale guys with Kkoma
Together with Jungler Kakao and Top Laner Ragan they would play their first Season in Champions Winter ’12-’13. During the Tournament, the Season 3 patch would be introduced to the professional scene, with a change to basically every item and a lot of changes to towers, buffs and champions. Already one strength of KT Rolster B were shining: During the first weeks they showed, they were the smartest team to adapt to the new changes; they almost didn’t drop a single game, went through the group stage undefeated, even beating teams like CJ Entus, Azuzu Blaze (Who would become a long time rival in terms of Best of Series vs the Bullets) and later season champions Najin Black Sword with 2:0 scorelines, only losing one game to Azubu Frost in the Interleague Matches
The first KT Rolster A and B
In the first game vs. CJ, their opponents tried a Caitlyn/Nunu comp, for a fast tower push, KT Rolster B reacted with a Taric last pick (who was also super powerful right after the season started), who would be a thread for caitlyn all the time in lane, preventing her from hitting the bottom tower and even tanking the minions, so the enemy bot lane couldn’t roam.
This weren’t game breaking strats, but it was a clever strategy by the Rolster B to shut down the early power of the enemy composition. Fot the 2nd game, KT Rolster B would abuse the meta. Remember the stupidly broken Black Cleaver at the start of Season 3. In their 2nd game vs CJ, KT Rolster B run 4 Melee AD champion, with everyone building black cleaver, with a fiddlesticks jungle. (Link to the game!)
The double bruiser bot lane vs the desperate CJ Entus Bot lane
The Stats for KT Rolster B before Winter Playoffs
As the playoffs started, both KT Rolster Teams were put against each other, but Rolster B would show again, they were the stronger team. In the semifinals they would finally lose to Najin Black Sword. For the 3rd place matches Rolster B were put against Azubu Blaze, with new top laner Flame. They just lost in a close series to their sister team, but then got crushed by Rolster B, Frost also would get sweeped by Champion Najin Black Sword. Already a argument could be made for Rolster B as the 2nd strongest Korean Team. AD Carry Score eventually would take the KDA Leader Award for AD Carries in Korea, many considered him a top 3 AD in the world.
Ryu and Ambition after the 3rd place series
After this Season, KT Rolster B would recrute CJ Entus Jungler inSec, aswell Solo Queue player Ssumday, Kakao moved to Rolster A. They traveled to their first international experience, 2013 MLG Pro Circuit/Winter. After two easy wins over Curse NA, Rolster B would move on to face the infamous Gambit Gamin, the feared korean slayers. This should be a epic showdown of two interesting teams. Even tho, KT took the Series 2:1, gambit put out a strong fight, and the outplay of Diamondprox as Udyr on inSecs Lee Sin would go over the entire world. This series is surely an all time great and really recommended to watch, if you haven’t already! (Link to the games!)
KTB after winning MLG
Back in Korea KT would compete in Champions Spring ’13. Their Group record wasn’t that impressive as theirs during the winter season, but still B was a strong contender to win the Season. After a macabre series vs CJ Frost, where both teams tried to throw harder then the other ones, since the winner would face former Champion Najin Sword in the RO8, while the loser would face MVP Ozone, a massive underdog back then. (Link to the game!)
During the group stages Rolster B made themselves a name with the famous ”KT B Baron”, where they would buy 3 Spirit Jungle Items and do a baron under the 20th minute. Also during this game Mafa would play the first support fiddlesticks in competitive history. (Link to the game!)
First Mafa would clear vision around baron. Meanwhile Score is
pushing bot lane, while Ssumday, Ryu and inSec are going to the baron.
Now doing the baron is safe and doesn’t take more then 10 secs to take down, at 20 minutes.
After a win in game 1, KT Rolster B would eventually lose (again) to the eventual Even winner, MVP Ozone. This was a really dissapointing result, especially after the strong performance of the team in the groups and at MGL. At NBL, the team would lose again to the eventual even Winner, Najin Black Sword, and the KTB Curse continued. So the team would do a roster change again and remove weak link Ssumday, who would sit on the bench for the rest of the year, Kakao came back from KTA to be the jungler again and inSec would become the Top Laner for the new named KT Rolster Bullets.
Prime Roster of the Bullets, Summer ’13
The Summer season begann and again the team looked really strong during their group stage performance. inSec would mostly play the role of a tanky initiator with Malphite or Zac or play Shen. He would not play his Lee Sin for a while. Meanwhile Kakao would play Lee Sin and other champions in the jungle and showed an impressive performance in the jungle. The team was able to win most of their games through smart outrotating of their opponents or being able to counter the enemy composition, even during the game. For the quarterfinals we had a rematch of last winter 3rd place match. KT Bullets vs CJ Blaze. This should become another classic series of the Bullets. This is the series that shows all strengths and flaws of the Bullets. The first game would start with Kakao and inSec first blooding star Top laner Flame, a case that would repeat itself for most of the series.
Ryu on Ahri would be the first to rush a DFG, vs Ambitions TF, to pressure him in the early/mid game and solo killing him. The game was filled with team fights and skirmishes, with Bullets being ahead most of the time and ending the game with a quadrakill for Score’s Twitch. Flame attemps to win the game for Blaze would fail. This would motivate him to put out a outstanding performance on Vladimir, putting Blaze in his back and crushing the KT Bullets. Especially interesting in this game were the vision war mind games.
CJ running over the top jungle, while inSec pushes mid and the rest of KTB wait in a bush for a trap.
But this couldn’t help vs the massive lead Blaze already had and they would take their first win over the Bullets. For Game 3 the Game would look similiar to Game 1: A game full with blood, a lot of fights and fast rotations. Particularly Cpt Jack’s Vayne and Cleanse mechanics were impressive this game.
The Game would be won by a exceptionally Shen taunt by Flame, eating the Gold Card of Ryu’s Twisted Fate, so Cpt Jack could finish of KTB and CJ Blaze would take the win in Game 3, with the crowd shouting the name of Cpt Jack. For Game 4 inSec would take first blood again and Kakao put out one of the greatest single man jungle performances ever, being part of every kill for KT Bullets this game.
For the Blind Pick Game Flame would go for the Vladimir again, KT Bullets would use the Twitch/Shen Combo do make Cpt Jacks Life, who had chosen Ashe, a living hell by submarine ganking him.
The most stellar point was Ryus Zed, which gave Ambition flashbacks to the previous Final, where Dade crushed him every game with Zed. CJ Blaze Curse of the Blind Pick Game and playing vs Zed would continue, Bullets would take the 3:2 win and be the winner in the 2nd best of 5 in korea this year.(Link to the games!)
For the Semifinals KTB would face CJ Frost, but this series would look completely different. With outbanning Madlife every single Game, CJ Frost would suffer under Space’s performance and CloudTemplays weak jungle picks, which lead to KTB winning every game in dominant fashion. Finally KT made it to the Grand finals. Even Ryu smilled after the Game.
The Final Boss in the upcoming Final was SKT T1 K. The hype around this match was big, and the hype should be justified.
KT would win the first Game two, mostly because of Score, who in Game 1 played the Ezreal Game of his life and game 2, with a Tristana and Statikk Shyv rush to fast push the lanes, which lead to an exposed Nexus of SKT. But SKT and Coach kkoma, former team mate of Ryu, Score and Mafa, made adjustments vs the strategy of KT. A lot of people credit Faker for playing like a god, but to be honest the true MVP during this Series was Piglet, who played his heart out in every single game, opend up even in the losing games little windows to maybe win the game and ending up game 1 as Vayne 9/2, depsite losing the game. Faker did mostly nothing special during the first 2 games, but then came back to win the next games with Piglet. As the Score was tied 2:2, both times would lock Shen and Zed and start the most epic Blind Pick game in OGN History. The game would beginn with a 3 man flash/taunt from Impact and become the game that crushed the Hearts of the fans of KT. With the legendary Zed vs Zed play from Faker the game would end soon, SKT would do the legendary reverse sweep and KT Bullets, so close to the title, would lose another time. The most epic Series in League History was over.(Link to the games!)
This result and the 2nd place for MVP Ozone, KT Bullets had to beat CJ Blaze, Frost and SKT to win a ticket for the World Championship, since MVP Ozone and Najin Black Sword were already going. KTB and CJ Blaze would meet a 3rd time this year and again the Bullets would come ahead, crushing Blaze and going 3:0 into the next round, just to beat CJ Frost again 3:0. KT Bullets had proven to be the 2nd best team in Korea, possible in the world, with only being behind of SKT, who beat them again in the final of the regional qualifier, which made SKT go to worlds and winning the title, and denying KT Bullets the trip to worlds.
Kakao and the rest of the Bullets heartbroken
During Winter, the S4 patch was introduced, with support an trinket changes. KT Bullets would still innovate things, that were ahead of their opponents. In their 2nd Game vs Najin Black Sword, inSec would even play Lee Sin Top lane and do crazy and exciting TP plays with his favorite champion, which gave Bullets a early lead to crush Najin Sword in Macro Map Play. (Link to the games!)
For the Quarterfinals again CJ Blaze would face the Bullets, and this time the series was pretty one sided again, ending 3:1, with dominating performances of the Bullets in the last 3 games, after experiments during game 1. Fun Fact: After Faker popularized the Riven pick at Worlds, inSec, Ryu and Kakao all would play Riven once this series. (Link to the games!)
The big rival, SKT T1 K were again the enemy, this time in the semifinal. SKT still hadn’t lost a single game in the tournament and KT Bullets wanted revenge. In the first game inSec would play his TP Lee Sin again, and creating picks on the map, and also caused on of the most epic plays by the Bullets:
Still, this wouldn’t be enough to stop SKT from taking the first two games. The 3rd game seemed to be in KTB’s hand, but Faker decided to go god mode again, this time on Riven, win a crucial teamfight for SKT and set up for a super exciting moment of League history you should rather watch then read about:
SKT would move on and win the Season undefeated, KTB would beat Najin White Shield for the 3rd place match, but no team during this season came that close to beat SKT in their prime. Even though, it was a 3:0, it was a super close and entertaining Series. (Link to the games!
For the Spring Season, KTB made the first roster change in a long time, moving inSec back into the Jungle, Kakao back to KT Arrows and sub Leopard (now known as Duke) would become the new top laner. The first matches the team played were in OGN Masters, and these matches out to be a catasrophe for the Bullets. inSec seemed to be in a big slump, delivering a lot of bad performances, overextending a lot and ending with a terrible KDA in the end of the event. Still KTB was chosen to be the Korean team to go to IEM World Championship, facing of teams like iG, but even after being ahead early Bullets would grind the game out and win to face gambit Gaming in the Semifinals. The 2nd time both of these teams met and their circumstances were pretty similiar; both teams were once pretty innovative, now both were not as good as before. Luckily for us, both teams put out the last big gig together, delievering two great series with a epic ending.
For the Final Series, KTB would face not only Fnatic but also the crowd, which favored Gambit and Fnatic to win and almost never cheered for the koreans. Still, this couldn’t prevent the 3:0 for the Bullets and they won the tournament without dropping a single game. Finally KT Bullets had won a World Title.
Finally able to win a world title. IEM World Championship ’14
Back in Korea a lot of people believed KT B overcame their slump. They would deliver a ok performance in the Group Stages in OGN Spring, then head into the Playoffs to face Najin White Shield again. This was the 25th of April. The first 2 games were pretty dominating games for KTB, inSec did a strong early game performance on Pantheon and Jax. But this would be the last 2 games to be proud of as a Bullets fan. For the next games Bullets find themselves in a new situation, playing their one style but being unable to adapt to the enemy’s, which led up to a 2:2, then Ggoong crushing Ryu in Leblanc mirror matchup and giving KTB another reverse sweep, which led to inSec sitting in his own tears, being dissapointed in his own play. This was the first and only time KT Bullets ever lost to the non-event winner. After another OGN Masters Series, where inSec would end up 1/13 on Yasuo, the KT flagship would leave and join Royal Club in China. For the NBL matches, Zero would join KTB as a jungler and end up against SKT T1 K again, who also dropped out in the quarterfinals. But this should not be another classic series between the former two best teams in the world, since even tho SKT had faded in skill, KTB weren’t KTB anymore. SKT would win the NLB match 3:0.
Not the Bullets anymore
For the Summer Season ’14 Ryu moved to the jungle and Mafa would leave after some matches into the season. The new Bullets didn’t had anything like before, they only won 2 matches in the group, ending up in last place. For the Korean Qualifier the last original KTB Member, Score, was sourrunded by a bunch of random players like Limit, Prime and Destiny. Again Score would face Najin White Shield, to lose 3:0 against them. The era KT Bullets was over. For the next season both KT Teams would uinite to form a single team.
The mechanical god himself is one of my favorite players. He is just so amazing and fun to watch, he might not been a good decision maker and was more of a strong force who would engage a fight and being led by the startale trio which made the smart decisions. His Lee Sin play was always great to watch, and took the champion into a new level of play (even tho he didnt invented the ward/kick, he populized it). He was meta dependend to a extend and mostly play the game with his style. He was also a solid top laner, not the best, but being able to going even against the likes of shy and flame. His renaissance play of him during S4 worlds made me happy that he had one last good tournament after he left Korea and I was really happy for him reaching the final, his play during Worlds was really awesome to watch and reminded me a bit of old times. I think now after he lost another relegation series he prob will retire in the next months, but I still like to watch highlight videos and solo Q recordings of him, and will always be one of my favorite players of all time.
So far the best Montage of inSec I’ve seen. Also with some sick plays before his time at KT.
Prob the least innovative member of KT. He played the meta junglers and also some off meta stuff like Nocturne, but was one of the best on them and sometimes a even better Lee sin then inSec. He also never shit the bed, always played on a high level and high risk, which was also entertaining.
He is also one of my favorite players ever. His consistent style of play was always reliable. He had a wide champion pool (Zed, Kha’Zix, Karthus, Gragas, Ahri, TF and ofc his Orianna). His use of Orianna ult is imo the perfect way to use the champion. He was a top level mid, always top 3 in Korea, for many Seasons in OGN. I really hate that people only know Ryu as the other zed. People who say that and mean it serious, never watched any other gameplay from Ryu besides these 20 seconds. Today he is still top 3 in EU imo. He is super consistent and has a wide champion pool and can adapt to many styles. also: he may have had inSec/Kakao as his junglers, but they almost never ganked for him during laning phase; still doing fine vs any lane (even faker) and sometimes solo kill people.
My name brother. We share the same nickname, but I got mine since I was a teenager already, just another confidence from god for me to love KTB. One of the most frustrating things in LoL for me is: ”Score was the Cop of Korea”. He was not only solid but also really calculated. He always knew what to do in a teamfight, always knew his Limits, had a great read on the map and general a lot of gameknowledge. He also does well as jungler. Still today he is one of my favorite players, also for being loyal to KT still. Favorite peaces of his play for me were his Caitlyn and Tristana fast push strategy and his Ezreal play.
Not overly aggressive but his calculated playstyle gave Score a Pentakill vs Najin Shield.
Also a really consistent player. In a region of Madlife and Mata hard to make a name, but he had a solid champion pool, was really really good on Lulu and like the rest of KT he was really reactive in his item builds. he almost always build a fast oracles and get the vision for KT while leaving one ward up for the mind games. Like the other Startale guys he had a good read on the map and was good in rotating over the map.
Ode to KT Bullets, by Montecristo (at 49:28 if the timer fails)
If you like high quality League of Legends, you can only like the KT Bullets. They might not been a team stacked with super talented players like SKT T1, Samsung White or World Elite in their Prime, but they were still a really good team, contender to be the second best team in the world during late S3, one of the only Teams to give the best Team ever (Prime SKT) a run for their money in Best of Series and being able to come close to beat them. Their games were always fun, interesting and awesome to watch, because they were so different from most teams, really smart and they played in many games and series that were really entertaining and all time great for me.
KT Bullets were:
- incredible in strategic diversity, master of rotations and coming up with a new strategy in game
- one of the most unpredictable teams in League of Legends ever
- a really smart team being able to adapt to most of their opponents really fast
- also point out the weakness/strength of the enemy team and try to focus it
Christopher Montecristo Mykles: ”KT Rolster B, why are you so smart.”
One of the most fascinating things about the bullets were their vision war mind games. And I don’t mean the vision wars of CLG.EU/WE, where nothing happens for 50 minutes and people cheer for wards getting destroyed. KTB would toy with the enemy’s vision, knowing where wards were placed, walking over it to trap them in the jungle or bait them into a wrong rotation and take a objective during the time the enemy team tried to figure out where KTB were. Part of this were also the infamous KT Barons, where they would take a 15-20 minute baron while inSec was pushing the bot lane and let him apply pressure on the map, because he had a global taunt and always had people running after him. Their overall playstyle was mostly low risk high reward. Their Item Builds were always reactive and would adapt to the situation. They were a great League of Legends team, that will always have a special place in my heart.
Roster Moves in KTB
About me: I’m @hi_im_Score on twitter. I am a big fan of all KT Rolster Teams and Korean LoL in general. I made this article just for fun, I am no professional author and I don’t plan on becoming one. I am also no native english speaker, so I apologize for possible mistakes. Thank you for reading!
Photo sources: esportspedia, lolesports.com, cloth5, gosugamers, liquidlegends.net, inven.co/kr
Video Credit: Thooorin, OnGameNet, Intel Extreme Masters