Jang Ha-gwon lifted the Summoner’s Cup in 2020 with great enthusiasm. Moments after winning the most important title in the history of League of Legends, all his euphoria turned into nerves. It was hard for the South Korean to express all the emotion he had felt when he was proclaimed world champion. At stake was not only the success of him and Dplus KIA, formerly DWG KIA, but also rebuilding the pride of an entire hurting region. Hence, in his first statements as world champion, the first thing he did was talk about showing the League of Legends Championship Korea (LCK) as the strongest region. His nickname, Nuguri, would go down in the history of electronic sports. However, three years later, that same Nick it is marked by the absence that it entails.
Internationally, or at least within the eastern scene, 2023 starts with the absence of Nuguri. The South Korean has decided to put an end to his career as a professional player after experiencing a before and after. While Kim Hyuk-kyu “Deft” rose with the Summoner’s Cup, vindicating the importance of enjoying the process, the top headed in the opposite direction. Taking a break from the competitive League of Legends scene was only a short-term measure. The remedy ended up becoming worse than the disease because not even going back to Dplus KIA was a strong enough engine to lengthen its run within Summoner’s Rift.
The outcome of the South Korean player has come marked by a decision: go to the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) after proclaiming himself world champion. In his hands he had to fight for a new dynasty with Dplus KIA, but he opted for an option that was as ambitious as it was risky. FunPlus Phoenix and DK exchanged tops: Kim Dong-ha”Khan” returned to South Korea, Nuguri set foot on the LPL for the first time. Within a few months Ha-gwon already noticed the change. “I have learned that there are a lot of really good tops and that style of the LPL, that ability to see the angle of the skirmish,” he explained to InvenGlobal. However, the major was outside of Summoner’s Rift. The player missed being in South Korea, giving meaning to the Portuguese word say goodbye what a difficult translation it has.
Nuguri disconnected. He got lost along the way so as not to return to being the one who seemed to be predestined.
Not being able to count on Zhou Yang-Bo”Bo” since the middle of the Spring Split Due to a sanction, he dismantled FunPlus Phoenix. With him, the 2019 world champions had found the key, their way of being. His absence and the return of Gao Tian-Liang”tian”, still not recovered, caused the dominance of the phoenix to cease. FunPlus added two runners-up throughout 2021, but on the lips of Kim Tae-Sang “Doinb”, the spring was the beginning of the end. “maybe after the Spring Split he realized that it was not possible to win a championship in this way, which affected him mentally. He sometimes didn’t even listen and didn’t talk to anyone”, the ex-captain came to affirm during a live broadcast. From there Nuguri disconnected. He got lost along the way so as not to return to being the one who seemed to be predestined.
Nuguri’s absence was accentuated exponentially in the World Cup that same year, when FunPlus Phoenix collapsed in the group stage despite being one of the teams with the favorite tag. The top was one of the players who did not respond, although the fall of the Chinese team did not seem to be as great as his on an individual level. “Each day, as I was practicing to worlds, I felt as if I had lost my way. Felt like I was playing blind”, confessed the South Korean in a interview with Ashley Kang months later. No reproach neither to his teammates nor to his coaching staff. Quite the contrary: flattery towards the rest, reproach towards oneself.
Those worlds They made him think of an imminent withdrawal because “he had hit rock bottom.” Starting 2022 with a break was enough. But watching the Dplus KIA matches revived his flame for the competition. Also, going back to what had been his house was a safety belt, avoiding the need to go into the unknown as an introvert. Anyway, the second part did pay attention to the famous cliché, since it was not good. Neither Nuguri was the solution to all the problems that the group was dragging nor did the player reach the best version of him. Unbeknownst to anyone, their quarterfinal loss against Gen.G became their farewell. The series reflected what had been his fleeting return: he was not a weight on the team, but neither was he the determining factor that he was before.
Before DWG KIA ruled the planet through Canyon and ShowMaker, Nuguri was the powerhouse of the team
Throughout the ninth season, the South Korean became popular for his particular style of play focused mainly on Kleptomania. The top wanted to exploit the laning phase in this way to generate a snowball effect, a style of play that characterized him from the beginning of his career. However, the player had no intermediate point: either he came out as a winner with a wide margin of difference or he lost resoundingly. Being an introvert, Nuguri took the same risk when he decided to join the LPL. The result, undeniably negative even for him: “I think I went to China too soon, I was too immature as a person.”
The consequence, like the deficits that he generated when his style with Kleptomania, has not been able to be sustained. Nuguri has hung up the keyboard and mouse with his time in China, shadowing the world champion he became. Because, beyond showing himself to be a promising player, throughout 2020 he showed that he had arguments to historically be at the same table as Kang Seung-lok “TheShy” and Song Kyung-ho “smeb”. Because before Dplus KIA ruled the planet through Kim Geon-bu”canyon“and Heo Su”ShowMaker”, Nuguri was the engine of the team that fought in the South Korean second division against Griffin. After all, the first MVP who initially elevated DK so that the club could later make history was him.