The LCK Graveyard: The Reality Of The NA Promotion Tournament

Four teams battled for nothing more than pride at the NA Promotion Tournament, with LCS strugglers Team Liquid and Phoenix1 emerging from the weekend with their reputations intact.

As Gold Coin United and eUnited failed to prove themselves worthy of a spot in the NA LCS, 8 of the 20 players competing at the event were former LCK greats.

Korean legends and veterans, the Promotion Tournament featured players whose accomplishments ranged from LCK MVP titles to World Championships. Was the NA Promotion Tournament the last hurrah for these former LCK greats?

Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin was a former champion with SK Telecom T1, moving to North America after signing a lucrative deal with Team Liquid in 2015.

The closest he has come to returning to the World Championships was during his inaugural season, but the AD carry fell short after losing to Team SoloMid in the NA LCS Summer Playoffs, then to Cloud9 in the NA Regional Finals.

Since then, Piglet has struggled to carry the team back to playoffs and has now found himself in consecutive NA Promotion Tournaments.

Choi “DanDy” In-kyu was also a former champion with Samsung White in 2014. After signing with Vici Gaming for the 2015 Season, he hoped to earn another championship in the LPL but would leave the team empty handed.

He left the team in November 2016 and signed with Challenger Series squad, eUnited, in May 2017. Although he has sustained his aura as a former world champion, DanDy was unable to recreate the success enjoyed in the LCK within NA.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

The talents of Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon and Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook both played for KT Rolster before signing with Phoenix1 in December 2016. Ryu was already well established within the western scene by that point, having represented H2K-Gaming in Europe for a number of splits.

The signings of Ryu and Arrow paid off for Phoenix1, as Arrow was crowned the 2017 Spring Split MVP and Phoenix1 were featured in the 2017 Spring Split Playoffs. However, they struggled during the 2017 Summer Split and tied for last place with Team Liquid.

Song “Fly” Yong-jun also played for KT Rolster alongside Arrow, then with Longzhu Gaming. During his time with Longzhu Gaming, Fly struggled to remain consistent and left the organization for Gold Coin United in May 2017.

Since joining Gold Coin United, Fly has helped the team to the Promotion Tournament twice but has never been able to take the team to the next level.

Source; Riot Games

Hong “MadLife” Min-gi became a legend during his time with CJ Entus. Highlights would stream over social media like wildfire, with memorable Thresh and Blitzcrank former part of the support’s lasting legacy.In 2016, CJ Entus and MadLife’s skill waned as they struggled throughout the season and relegated from the LCK. MadLife joined Fly in Gold Coin United in hopes of rejuvenating the same success.

In 2016, CJ Entus and MadLife’s skill waned as they struggled throughout the season and were relegated from the LCK. MadLife joined Fly at Gold Coin United in hopes of rejuvenating the same success.

These former LCK greats had storied careers, but with some of their careers winding down, the NA Promotion Tournament potentially offered the last chance to see what some of these players had left in the tank.