After departing KT Rolster and the LCK in search of western success, mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook has experienced a mixture of emotions. After the highs and lows of his period with H2K-Gaming in the EU LCS, Ryu opted for a move to North America to rejoin his former Korean teammate No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon at Phoenix1. Faced by a resurgent Team Dignitas in the first leg of his team’s playoff run, Ryu delivered arguably his finest hour since moving to the west to earn a clean sweep for P1.
After initially joining H2K-Gaming and demonstrating the value of Korean imports, Ryu’s once incisive talents appeared blunted by the end of his period in Europe. Ryu and H2K reached the semi-finals of the 2016 World Championship before the mid laner found himself severely outclassed by the talents of Samsung Galaxy’s Lee “Crown” Min-ho. Seeking a fresh start in the NA LCS, Ryu has rekindled the form that has previously pitched him as the second best mid in the world, behind none other than Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok himself.
Ryu’s consistent performances for Phoenix1 have been a key factor in the team’s rise to prominence. Away from the spotlight of Arrow’s startling carry play from the ADC position and William “Meteos” Hartman rapturous return in the jungle, the Korean has played out the Spring Split with the same understated poise and class that he has been renowned for.
A third place finish set up P1 for a playoff quarter final tie with Team Dignitas, and it was at this stage in the season that Ryu took the opportunity to step into the limelight.
Ryu actually destroyed this series jeez. What a player.
— scarra (@scarra) April 8, 2017
@scarra Ryu has been a top 3 NA/EULCS mid for a long time LOL he’s finally getting credit for being a beast
— Ram Djemal (@Brokenshard_) April 9, 2017
The Phoenix1 vs Team Dignitas series saw Ryu provide his greatest performance for P1, if not his greatest performance since departing Korean shores.
First playing Syndra, before launching an assault on LeBlanc in game 2, Ryu dealt the most damage in each game as P1 charged through teamfight after teamfight. After finding themselves unable to contain a snowballing Syndra after a number of well-orchestrated roams, Ryu’s rogue split-pushing antics on LeBlanc left Team Dignitas tearing their hair out in dismay in the second game of the series:
The icing on the cake to a dominant performance was Ryu’s crisp Orianna play in the final game of the series. After besting his opponent, Jang “Keane” Lae-young, in lane for a third and final time, Ryu ended the series emphatically with a godlike shockwave and a scoreline to match (13/3/17), sending tremors to P1’s future opponents in the playoffs:
And just in case you want to enjoy that shockwave once more in slow motion…
Ryu’s performance in the Team Dignitas series was a snapshot back to the days of the KT Rolster mid laner, a player to be feared in the mid lane. Whilst his quiet demeanour may often cause him to sacrifice the glory to his teammates, Ryu’s ability and importance to the Phoenix1 squad is not to be underestimated.
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