In a surprising final addition to the team’s roster, Team Liquid has announced that former Counter Logic Gaming Mid Laner Austin “Link” Shin will return to the competitive North American League of Legends scene as a team substitute. TL has since confirmed that Link will be playing for the team throughout the season, rotating with the recently promoted Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer.
Link returns to professional League of Legends after a prolonged period away from the game, pursuing an ultimately unsuccessful eSports career in the DOTA 2 scene. Link has not played LoL competitively since stepping down from CLG’s starting roster in May 2015, following the team’s elimination from the quarterfinals of the 2015 NA LCS Spring Playoffs, a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Team Liquid.
Undoubtedly a talented player, Link’s abilities are often forgotten, rather overshadowed, by the infamous 18-page letter penned by the frustrated Mid Laner upon his departure from Counter Logic Gaming.
The document, later dubbed the “Donezo Manifesto” (an excellent piece of bedtime reading by all accounts), tore into the “close minded” Counter Logic Gaming organisation and management teams, also placing considerable scorn on the attitude of his former teammate, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng:
“One biggest problem I have is with Double and him not playing as a team player. I mean he flamed the entire team and blame deflected after playoffs ended.
“To me that’s the biggest backstab anyone can do. You either lose as a team or you win as a team. You accept your loss and you move forward to figure out what you can improve.
“To blame your team and say there’s nothing you could have done = telling me you will never trust your teammates.”
Austin “Link” Shin
And then there’s the fabled section that birthed one of the greatest League of Legends memes of all time:
“At some point double lost respect for him and once he loses respect for ANYONE you’re fucking donezo. It’s what happened with him + chauster/jiji/saint/voy/nien/seraph/dexter/me/ go FIGURE.”
Many within the community, including former CLG coach William “scarra” Li, consider Link’s sudden ‘retirement’ to have cut the player down in his prime. Speaking some time after Link’s exit from Counter Logic Gaming, Scarra admitted to Link’s overwhelming workload during his time at CLG – in essence, Link was performing all the tasks which Scarra later appreciated, the coach was supposed to do.
Link would frequently sacrifice his own champion preferences in favour of a supportive role to allow teammates to play comfort picks, similarly Link was responsible for extensive research behind picks and bans. With an extensive coaching and support staff behind Team Liquid, Link will finally have a chance to redeem himself on the rift, a prospect of understandable excitement for TL coach David Lim:
“I’m excited to have finally rounded out our roster and welcome Link to the Liquid family. Link is an extremely cerebral player and a very team centred one at that.
“We will rotate between Link and Goldenglue through the season and it is my hope that as the season progresses, the twin headed dragon of Link and Goldenglue will challenge the upper echelons of top League rosters.”
David Lim, Team Liquid Head Coach
Within the Team Liquid setup, Shin will hopefully get the opportunity to focus simply on his individual play. His period with CLG proved to be a unsuccessful venture for a myriad of reasons, issues that shouldn’t get the opportunity to escalate as they did with his former team, under David Lim’s management.
Provided Link is given ample opportunity to step into the stage spotlight once more, 2017 may provide the Mid Laner with a deserved shot at redemption.