To describe Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo as being ‘too good’ for Team EnVyUs would be an understatement. After almost single-handedly keeping his organisation in the NA LCS, with a series of stand out performances during the decisive series of the NA Promotion tournament, many expected the Korean talent to be snapped up by a rival organisation. Sadly, highlights such as LirA’s outplay on Team SoloMid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is as close as jungler has come to training with the NA LCS elite.
Team EnVyUs lived to fight another day in the North American League of Legends Championship Series after fighting off Gold Coin United to retain their spot in the league. LirA stole the show that day, sealing victory for the relegation threatened side with a mechanically intensive play on Lee Sin. As the jungler prepares for the NA LCS Summer Split, his mechanics are evidently as sharp as ever, his hopes of rightfully challenging for the title however, non-existent.
After showcasing such a level of dominance in the promotion tournament, the questions regarding LirA’s unfulfilled potential were raised once more. The former LCK Afreeca Freecs player significantly outperformed the teammates alongside him during the Spring Split, largely responsible for nearly every positive result delivered by the Team EnVyUs during the opening half of their campaign.
LirA’s consistently high level of play has earned him a number of admirers within the community, many of whom are wishing to see NV build a strong team around him or see him move to another roster better suited to make use of his talents:
“I feel so bad for LirA – I think he’s a world-class jungler.
“He wanted to go to MSI after the Spring Split, but obviously we are tenth place and in the relegation tournament
“I’m gonna try even harder in the Summer Split, I hope the other guys do the same too.”
Shin “Seraph” Woo-yeong
LirA has a legitimate claim to the title of ‘Best Jungler in NA’, yet he is languishing at the foot of the table on account of the banner under which he plays A quick glance at the statistics highlights just how impressive the Korean’s play was throughout the Spring Split:
Lira has the 2nd least share of his team’s deaths, ranks 1st in Gold Difference @10mins, Experience Difference @10 mins, Creep Score Difference @10mins, Creep Score Per Minute, and Experience Gained Per Minute. Whilst this would suggest that LirA farms heavily in the early game and rarely ever ganks, LirA also boasts the highest First Blood Rate out of any jungler (49%)… all of which whilst playing for the worst team in the league, lest we forget.
Whilst many credit his background in Korea as the source of his power, ironically it is also one of the main obstacles to LirA’s career progression in North America. As an import, there are a limited number of teams who could accommodate the jungler directly into their roster without needing to also alter personnel in other role simultaneously.
Of the few options that could feasibly embed LirA without a major roster overhaul – namely Team SoloMid who, after a disappointing Mid-Season Invitational performance, have been pressured to acquire a replacement for the underperforming jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen – a move remains unlikely.
LirA’s predicament is certainly an unfortunate one: clearly too good for his current team, but with nowhere else in the NA LCS to turn. Glimpses of solo-queue genius, such as his remarkable prediction outplay on Bjergsen, remain one of the few outlets for LirA’s otherwise unappreciated talent.