Last year, Team Griffin’s Choi “Sword” Sung-wo was playing at a monstrous level in the League Championship Korea (LCK). He had helped bring his team to the Finals of the 2019 LCK Spring Split Championship and solo killed the renowned T1 Kim “Khan” Dong-ha in the top lane. Despite an eventual sweep by T1, Sword still garnered praise for his performance.
A Worlds quarter-final finish later, though, Sword has now been relegated out of the LCK and announced his intentions to take a break from the split after one of League’s most difficult controversies centred around two figures: Sword himself, and Kim”cvMax” Dae-ho.
📍GRF 2020 #Summer #Roster— Team Griffin LoL (@TeamGriffinLoL) June 8, 2020
Griffin will be unfolding new challenges with our new players. Please send us your kind love and support.
*Sword will take a rest during the first round of the Summer Split.
-Griffin Roster: https://t.co/QpfuE6FNi3#GRFWIN #Challengers #2020summer pic.twitter.com/2TaR8jR2Ch
Former GRF coach cvMax moved to rival team Kingzone DragonX amidst accusations of lack of capability and player abuse, despite two second-place finishes and a lack of evidence for the latter. cvMax himself responded shortly after during a personal broadcast. Reddit user u/nroproftsuj provided a translation of the discussion, in which cvMax revealed his disputes with Director Cho Gyu-Nam and Sword’s personal relationship with Gyu-nam. Many suspected nepotism from Gyu-nam that favoured Sword, and following an investigation, Cho Gyu-nam resigned from Griffin and its parent company Still8 in November 2019.
(Pictured: cvMax, left, and Sword, right, listening to GRF Lehends speak during an interview. Credit: Riot Games)
However, the damage had been done. Star players Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, and Son “Lehends” Si-woo all fled the sinking ship that was Griffin and signed under other teams amidst further revelations that Griffin had agreed to an illegal transfer contract concerning Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok. The team desperately attempted to stabilize, signing players Park “Untara” Ui-jin and Yoo “Naehyun” Nae-hyun as well as Coach Han “H Dragon” Sang-yong, but it was to no avail. Griffin ended up in last place during the 2020 Spring Split and were subsequently relegated from the LCK.
- Read more: Griffin and cvMax: what you need to know
They then attempted to rejoin the LCK during the Challengers Korea Summer Promotion Tournament but lost to Seorabeol Gaming and Sandbox Gaming. In the end, they had gone from a quarterfinal finish at the Season 9 World Championship to being eliminated from the LCK and demoted into Challengers Korea. Many celebrated Griffin’s downfall and the nepotism it had represented in the LCK.
With the franchising of the LCK on the horizon, Griffin’s hopes for returning to former glory grow slimmer and slimmer. Sword’s intention to take a break from the split seems to be a symbolic gesture that Griffin is distancing itself from the scandal that continues to plague it.
However, amidst recent controversies around TSM’s signing of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and persistent memories of the LCS Renegades scandal, a question remains in the minds of many: how many other cases of nepotism and wrongful behaviour exist, now and in the future, in professional League of Legends?