“I still have something left to prove to myself and the people supporting me.”
Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin is coming back to Team Liquid and the North American LCS to show that he’s still got what it takes to be among the best in the world.
Since winning the 2013 League of Legends World Championship with SK Telecom T1 K his life has been wrought with difficulties and missed opportunities. He was on the SKT K roster that missed Worlds in 2014, joined Team Curse (later purchased by and rebranded to Team Liquid), but was unable to push it over the top and win an NA LCS title. His frustrations with the main Liquid roster led him to dropping down to their Challenger sister team Team Liquid Academy, where he was once again unable to win a title.
Now, he’s back in the LCS and ready to win. Ever the prideful player, Piglet tells Yahoo Esports that his decision to stay in North America came as a result of promises that he made back home in Korea.
“I made a promise to my family and friends that I would win NA LCS and hopefully more,” he said.
To do that, he’ll have to find a way to coalesce with his current team. As evidenced by the Team Liquid documentary Breaking Point, Piglet had a significant amount of trouble finding common ground with players that weren’t performing up to a World Championship level.
After playing for a split with Team Liquid Academy, Piglet says he’s learned a lot about supporting a team that perhaps isn’t quite as talented or experienced as he is.
“When I played with TLA, I got a humbling lesson about what team play and sacrifice really looked like,” he says. “It helped me improve a lot in the way I play and I’m excited to continue playing with this kind of mentality.”
Coming into 2017, he’ll be joining a team with some of the same players that were on the roster that contributed to him to step down in the first place.
Top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson and support Matt “Matt” Elento will be returning to the team this split, a pair of players that Piglet seems to have made his peace with. In particular, he’s excited to lane with Matt.
“I feel like Matt and I have been playing very well here in Korea [where Liquid is boot camping],” he says. “We played almost a full season together and I think we are getting better every time we practice… I admire that he has improved so much even in the short time that we were apart from laning/playing together.”
Rarely able to keep his cockiness under wraps for long, he adds, “We are the best bottom lane in the NA LCS.”
Don’t think that he’s coming back in the middle of a 2v2 bot lane meta just to crush lesser AD carries beneath his heel, though. He says he’s genuinely excited to play with the young and talented Matt.
“I don’t feel like the meta changing back to 2v2 really impacted my decision,” he says. “I realistically feel like I’m part of that bottom lane to beat. I just think Matt and I have really good communication and an understanding for how we each play. We tend to have an instinctual sense of what we need from each other or what we want to do in certain situations, even without saying a word.”
Also joining him on the Rift are mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer and jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin. The former has had little success in the past, while the latter has a two-year history of solid showings in the West.
While no one on the team is a true rookie, Piglet is decidedly the veteran. As such, he’s taking his role very seriously.
“My leadership comes mainly from how hard I work,” he says. “Everyone can see how much I want to win with this group of players and I am going to do my best to keep this team winning and stable. I think I carry the same passion as my teammates to win LCS.”
Most of all, he still believes in Team Liquid.
“I respect Team Liquid as an organization and I feel like Team Liquid supports and respects me a lot for my time here,” he says.
“I really want to win NA LCS and I think this is my best chance to do so.”
Taylor Cocke would love to see Piglet with one more ring on his finger. Follow him on Twitter @taylorcocke.