A Marathon, Not A Sprint: Ambition’s Journey To World Championship Glory

Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong has been slowly forging his reputation as an eSports legend since 2013, when the Korean All-star League of Legends roster was announced.

During this time, Ambition was the mid laner for CJ Entus Blaze, renowned for his Twisted Fate gameplay; Ambition’s Twisted Fate set him aside as a player to watch.

In the 2013 Spring Split, the mid laner established himself as a dominant force and one of the teams to be reckoned with for the World Championships.

Ambition and CJ Entus Blaze flew too close to the sun, however, brought down to their knees in a shock 3-0 upset, that would deny the squad a place at the 2013 World Championship.

Determined to redeem himself, Ambition stayed with CJ Entus Blaze and went on to win the ZOTAC NLB Winter 2013/2014, setting high expectations for the team in 2014.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Disappointment followed once more, as Samsung Galaxy Ozone proved themselves superior to Ambition and co.; besting them in the playoff stage to deny their shot at Worlds in 2014.

The new OGN Champions rules and regulations triggered a new chapter in Ambition’s career, moving to the team’s jungle position as the two CJ teams merged into one.

Despite a strong start, with a victory over SK Telecom T1, the Spring Split proved to be another inconsistent period for CJ.

Yet out of the ruins of a failed playoffs run and a woeful international showing at IEM, Ambition established himself as a valued jungler, taking 3rd place in the MVP rankings for spring.

Still yet to attend a World Championship, Ambitions efforts would fall short of the mark yet again during the 2015 Summer Split, overwhelmed by the might of the KOO Tigers who would go on to the tournament finals.

As 2015 comes to a close, Ambition chose to part ways with CJ Entus, no longer content to watch the World Championship from the stands.

The revered jungler made the switch to Samsung Galaxy, in what would prove to be an inspired career decision but a hard transition for Ambition.

Uncomfortable in his new environment, Ambition’s ‘high-pressure’ style of play went missing, as he found himself slumping down the Korean jungler.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Outperformed by nearly every jungler in the league during the 2016 Spring Split, Samsung Galaxy staggered to a 5th place finish.

The team discovered a new lease of life in the summer, sparking hope that Ambition may achieve his dream of attending a World Championship.

Typically, Samsung Galaxy did it the hard way. Relying upon the regional qualifier after an inconsistent end to the split, SSG defeated Afreeca Freecs and perhaps most poignantly, KT Rolster, to seal their spot at Worlds 2016.

Finally, Ambition would have the opportunity to showcase his talents on the game’s biggest stage.

Samsung Galaxy entered the tournament as Korea’s dark horse, faced with a challenging task in a group containing Royal Never Give Up and Team SoloMid.

Ambition and his team made the analysts turn their heads as Samsung Galaxy managed to pull off a 5-1 victory in the group stage and made light work of Western opposition in the playoff stage.

After years of narrowly missed opportunities, finally, Ambition embraced the spotlight of a World Championship final: Samsung Galaxy against – quite possibly the strongest and most dominant team League of Legends has ever known – SK Telecom T1.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Understandably, SKT was the heavy favourite to retain their crown and after launching into to a 2-0 lead, the contest appeared to be an anti-climatic showing for Ambition.

Yet, Samsung Galaxy rallied to bring the crown back into contention, piling on the pressure as the underdogs mounted a comeback, tieing the series at 2-2.

In the end, it was not Samsung Galaxy’s fate to usurp the kings. SK Telecom T1 prevailed, but in his first season with his new organisation, Ambition had wounded the game’s greatest foe.

An unchanged Samsung Galaxy roster ushered in 2017, though the team added a substitute jungler into the mix, Kang “Haru” Min-seung, resigning Ambition to the bench frequently throughout the Spring Split.

Ambition’s pedigree showed in the Summer Split, as any doubt surrounding his place on the starting line-up was quickly extinguished.

As had become a tradition for Samsung organisations, the regional qualifier paved the way towards the World Championships once again.

KT Rolster and Afreeca Freecs would be the opponents blocking the way yet again, but two 3-0 victories soon saw SSG reestablish themselves as Korea’s 3rd seed.

Their tournament showing would soon bring their 3rd seed status into question. Drawn to face Longzhu Gaming in the first knockout round, many predicted Samsung Galaxy’s days to be numbered.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Samsung quickly defied the script, producing a stunning upset in front of the Chinese crowd by sweeping one of the tournament favourites with a 3-0 Victory.

Ambition’s level of dominance throughout the series quickly swung the pendulum in SSG’s favour, suddenly a force to be feared at the championship.

This trend continued with a 3-1 Victory over regional hopefuls Team WE, setting up a rematch of the 2016 final against SK Telecom T1.

Ambition would not let the opportunity to lift the Summoners Cup slip through his fingers twice, taking the series by the scruff of the neck to seal an uncompromising 3-0 victory.

Ambition’s story had finally reached its pinnacle, from humble beginnings as a consistent mid laner, transitioning into the one of the game’s legendary junglers and a worthy World Champion.

Summary