Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok could be taking a step back from professional League of Legends next year.
The Invictus Gaming top laner is “not too sure” if he’ll return to China to prepare for the next season, he revealed on his stream today, according to a translation by Korizon reporter Kevin Kim. “I haven’t decided on whether or not I’ll be a professional player next year, since my contract is expiring [soon],” he said.
The former world champion had a disappointing season, finishing third in the 2020 LPL Spring Split before failing to qualify for Worlds after an uncharacteristic 3-1 loss to LGD Gaming in the LPL Summer regional finals.
TheShy, who was once widely considered the best top laner in the world, could be leaving his team and taking a break from League. “I’ll have to think about it,” he said. “It’s mainly due to COVID-19.”
“Everything else is fine, but with the current COVID-19 situation, it’s not ideal, not being able to come and go from Korea,” he said.
The pandemic has evidently taken a toll on Korean-born TheShy, discouraging him from visiting family and friends back home. “I’m getting teeth corrected at the moment as well,” he added—another reason to prevent his return.
That being said, he hopes to remain a professional player while he still can, outside of “extraordinary circumstances.”
For now, TheShy said, “I’m thinking about it.” TheShy became famous in 2018 after winning Worlds.
TheShy and iG kick-started their season with a 3rd place finish in the Demacia Championship, losing 2-1 to Snake Esports in the loser’s semifinal. Just two weeks later saw the start of the LPL Spring Season. Despite a regular season series record of 18-1, with their only loss being against Royal Never Give Up, this did not translate into success in the Spring Playoffs. With TheShy himself sidelined due to a hand injury, Invictus Gaming were defeated 3-2 by RNG in the semifinals, this being followed by a 3-1 loss at the hands of Rogue Warriors in the third-place match. Although their performance could be considered a disappointment, their placement secured them a spot at Rift Rivals 2018.
A 3rd place finish in the Demacia Cup, this time losing to Bilibili Gaming in the loser’s semifinal without TheShy, was followed by a successful showing at Rift Rivals. Now recovered from his hand injury, TheShy and the team won both of their group stage games, helping the LPL to an eventual triumph over the LCK in the final.
Invictus Gaming once again achieved an 18-1 regular season record in the LPL Summer Season, their sole loss again to RNG. Despite the similarity of the year’s regular season performances, a successful showing in the Summer Playoffs, finishing runner-up to Royal Never Give Up after a tight 3-2 series, resulted in the team’s qualification to the 2018 Season World Championship on points.
Invictus Gaming was placed in Group D for Worlds 2018, alongside Fnatic, 100 Thieves, and G-Rex. The group stage round robin concluded with iG and Fnatic tied for 1st place at 5-1. The tiebreaker went in the favor of Fnatic, resulting in TheShy and the team being drawn against KT Rolster in the quarterfinals.
A tense affair saw iG emerge victorious 3-2 and progress to the semifinals where they met G2 Esports. A more straightforward 3-0 series secured them a place in the finals. Awaiting their challenge were Group D counterparts, Fnatic. Invictus Gaming’s convincing performance in the finals resulted in a 3-0 victory, and made them the first Chinese team to win a World Championship.