H2K Gaming’s mid laner, Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook has been understandably underrated for consecutive competitive splits. The EU LCS’ longest serving Korean import has emerged from the shadows at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, anchoring H2K’s progress through the tournament rounds with a number of strong performances. After cruising past Albus NoX Luna in the quarter finals, Ryu now has his sights set on a grudge match with SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok – the man whose play continues embarrass him to this very day.
“Oh, look at the cleanse, look at the moves! Faker!? What was that!?” – The Korean meme is that ‘Ryu dies every five seconds’, it literally refers to the fact that every five seconds, a League of Legends fans watches the incredible Faker Zed outplay during the KT Rolster vs SK Telecom T1 best of five. For the interest of continuing the truth of that legend:
Ryu got his first shot at redemption during the group stages of last season’s World Championship, at which point SKT were an unprecedented global force and H2K were Europe’s weakest seed. Speaking ahead of their clash in the group, Ryu outlined his desperation to exact revenge over Faker:
“As everyone may already know, I look forward to playing against Faker the most.
“Last time I played Faker, an awesome highlight came out of it. This time I hope to make another highlight video.
“Last time I lost the 1v1. But this time I want to be on the killing end of the video.”
Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook
H2K-Gaming were overrun by the might of the eventual tournament champions and Ryu never got his revenge. With just Samsung Galaxy now standing in the way of H2K being the first European side to the reach the final, there may yet be another chance of Ryu’s redemption.
In the closing stages of H2K’s opening quarter final game with Albus Nox Luna, Ryu took the game by the scruff of the neck and stormed down the mid lane – picking up kills left and right. With four enemy deaths to his name and a pentakill seemingly inevitable, Ryu snubbed the opportunity and instead headed to destroy the ANX base as soon as possible.
Since leaving Korea, Ryu has never reached the heights he hit during Season 3. At the time of the Zed vs Zed play, Ryu was arguably the second best mid in the world, and whilst he is still considered a top tier mid laner in Europe, he certainly hasn’t been compared to Faker on too many occasions.
Indeed, upon reaching the semi finals, Faker himself stoked the flames of the rivalry:
“I don’t think the remaining teams’ mid laners are extreme, top-tier players,
“I felt that last year Ryu wasn’t performing as well as he could have done,
“This year, I’m feeling that he has improved a lot. I can see Ryu is playing with confidence, so he’s doing great.”
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok
Ryu’s convincing display against Albus NoX Luna was the perfect appetiser for the semi final against Samsung Galaxy. H2K certainly face an uphill challenge against the might of Korea, but with each player performing at the top of their game, the European hope stand a solid chance of reaching the region’s first World Championship final since Season 1.
Zed may be out of the current game meta, but surely Ryu won’t pass up a second opportunity to wipe the slate clean…