Team Liquid’s League of Legends management have made some curious roster swaps over the years; the addition of former NRG eSports Support Kevin “KonKwon” Kwon is another example to add to the growing list. Less than a week after relieving underperforming Mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer of his looming shadow, Austin “Link” Shin, the pressure has seemingly shifted onto the out of sorts Matthew “Matt” Elento.
KonKwon has spent the past few months dipping his toes into the minor League of Legends leagues, including periods with Apex Pride and Big Gods.NA. The Support player is best known for his period playing with NRG eSports, a fairly consistent performer on the roster before leaving to join Apex Gaming. Kwon retired from professional play after his play had entered a state of decline – he returns after an extended period away from the game.
“My main goal is to be starter in LCS for now. Obviously I aim to be top player but nothing will be possible if I don’t get play time.
“I started playing again after a long break of 5 months or so and I am re-learning the game and it’s been very enjoyable and helpful so far.
“I hope people can give me another chance and reevaluate my value as a player.”
Kevin “KonKwon” Kwon
KonKwon’s return to the NA LCS is far from the season shifting swap Team Liquid fans may have been hoping for. Whilst Matt has admittedly been playing below his best, his personality is not one that would seemingly benefit from having a rival vying for his spot. Matt has struggled to build a rapport with his lane partner Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, the duo have been unable to carry TL to consistent success.
KonKwon joins Team Liquid as an off-site sub, for which the job specification will be to provide support to Matt, working with him when needed. There should be no doubt however, “my main goal is to be starter in LCS for now” means just that.
KonKwon’s USP is his Korean and English bilingualism; an invaluable interpreter during his time on the NRG roster which consisted of a hybrid-Korean/English lineup. Whilst his abilities on the rift may leave a lot to be desired, his communication skills certainly add value to a team environment.
While starting Jungler Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin is a fluent English speaker, despite his nearly three years in North America, Piglet is yet to speak the native tongue comfortably. KonKwon’s ability to communicate with Piglet in his native language may ultimately give him the edge over Matt, given Team Liquid’s blind insistence on centring their team around the former World Champion.
If the move somehow motivates Matt, then Team Liquid will have redeemed themselves after the failure of the Goldenglue and Link charade. Objectively however, Matt’s performances will likely suffer from the effect of additional pressure on his position. If it reaches the point where KonKwon achieves his ambition and steps on stage in a Team Liquid jersey, even a fourth place finish will be an unlikely feat.