Team Liquid’s agonising season may yet prove to be too much to bear for AD carry Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin. As the organisation skips from one troubling episode to another, there is a growing sense of sympathy for the Korean, who continues to give his all but to no avail.
The close of Team Liquid’s series defeat to Cloud9 ended with Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin staring vacantly at his screen, with his hand shaking as it rested against his chin.
There was little more the former World Champion could have done to lead his team to victory, having essentially solo-carried during Game 1 to give Team Liquid a lead in the series.
In what has become a depressing trend for Piglet, his teammates fell apart around him as Cloud9 completed the reverse sweep.
Consistently performing at a high level, despite mitigating circumstances, yet never reaping the reward of victory is taking its toll on Piglet.
Fans caught an unsavoury glimpse of Piglet’s distress following Team Liquid’s inexplicable roster decisions (and subsequent defeats) in Week 1 of the Summer Split.
Settling down to speak with South Korean journalists from Inven Global, Piglet did not hold back in voicing his thoughts:
“It’s a depressing story. Especially today, everyone just said what they wanted to say – they weren’t conversations, but just blurting out what they wanted for themselves – I don’t know what to do about this, even when we somehow manage to reach an agreement, not everyone sticks to it.
“It could be because they don’t understand the game enough, but they are too focused on the present to think about the future.
“NA players are not patient enough, not good listeners and yet greedy.”
Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin
Piglet was initially criticised for his public outburst, but as the split has developed, the Korean’s frustrations with his team have become increasingly understandable.
Team Liquid fans are not entirely unfamiliar with seeing Piglet in a state of disharmony from his teammates. Despite being one of the longest-standing brands in the NA LCS, the past two years have seen the team regress, in spite of numerous roster swaps, managerial changes and continued investment.
Team Liquid’s latest managerial decision marked a considerable swing in public opinion. The re-introduction of jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett – a player Piglet had infamously experienced difficulty working with – left many fans feeling a sense of anger towards the organisation, and sympathy towards Piglet.
After sacrificing a glamorous and successful eSports career with SK Telecom T1 in South Korea, Piglet’s American adventure has far from panned out as he might have wished.
Many analysts still vouch for Piglet, considering the Korean AD carry to be one of the best in the NA LCS, held back by the weight of the jersey on his shoulders.
Historically considered to be a conducive factor in the failings of Team Liquid, few can realistically fault the efforts and performances of Piglet during the Summer Split.
The arrival of Korean mid laner Son “Mickey” Young-min is likely to mark an important moment in Piglet’s Team Liquid career.
Mickey will replace current starting Team Liquid mid laner, Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, yet because of Riot’s limit on international roster spots in North America, this will require one of TL’s two pre-existing Koreans to step away from the stage to make room.
In the short term at least, the more likely of the two candidates to find himself on the bench is Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin, given Team Liquid’s two American junglers waiting on the sidelines.
Mickey will grant Piglet with the opportunity to spread his wings, in more ways than one.
The ideal scenario for Team Liquid’s management is that Mickey will relieve the pressure on Piglet by drawing more attention to the mid lane, granting the AD carry the long-awaited opportunity to flex his muscles in the bottom lane. But on the other hand, Mickey’s arrival could provide Piglet with the insurance policy to finally escape Team Liquid.
Few would blame Piglet for seeking a move away from Team Liquid, having loyally served the organisation for three years through the darkest times in the team’s history.
Piglet may be soon to leave Team Liquid without an accolade to his name, but he would at least step away from the fray having won over many of the critics who doubted his commitment to the cause