Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon has fallen out of favour with SK Telecom T1 Head Coach, Kim “KkOma” Jung-gyun. After establishing himself as an LCK and Mid-Season Invitational champion, the top laner is now the second choice for his position behind Ui “Untara” Jin-Park.
Ahead of his move to the Korean powerhouse SKT, Huni was openly mocked within the League of Legends community for considering himself worthy of competing alongside some of the greatest names to have ever played the game, despite winning two domestic titles and placing third/fourth at the 2015 World Championship.
Huni soon became an iconic name within the roster, correcting his critics during his first season of the LCK and continuing his strong form as SKT defeated G2 eSports to claim his first international accolade.
Speaking during the tournament, the Korean outlined his ambitions with SKT in front of a global audience:
“For now with SKT, this is my first time in an international tournament, so it was really important that Huni is a really good top laner – I had to prove that from the first game with SKT.
“For sure, SKT is the best team in the world and in League of Legends history. Also, Huni is the best top laner in the world for 2017 with SKT – that’s what I want to prove.”
Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon
Perhaps it was an element of complacency, but Huni’s form dropped significantly upon his return from tournament glory.
In truth, the entirety of the SKT line-up suffered a post-MSI hangover, yet it appears to have lingered longer with Huni where his teammates are rediscovering their prowess.
Untara has eclipsed Huni in nearly every aspect of play during the LCK Summer Split, stating his claim to the starting position in the SK Telecom T1 top lane ahead of the 2017 World Championship.
Huni is seemingly struggling to coordinate himself with his teammates, posting a disappointing 1.5 KDA for the Summer Split, becoming notorious for leaving himself exposed to enemy ganks and making rash decisions during critical periods of important matches.
Untara meanwhile – with a 3.0 KDA – is fitting the SKT mould all too well: complementing his teammates’ rotations around the map and displaying the same level of mechanical skill previously displayed by Huni, without the costly errors.
Huni began to gradually concede games to the top lane substitute throughout the split, though has now become a clear second choice to the former Former CJ Entus and Star Horn Royal Club man.
The situation is now at a point where Huni admits to feeling pressurised when he is called upon to take to the stage.
SKT crucially defeated the bbq Olivers 2-1 in the LCK regular season finale, a series in which Huni featured for the final game:
“The coach told us that Blank and I would play if we won Game 2, and that’s when I got sweaty palms, thinking that I had to play well.”
Huni stepped up to the mark on that occasion – against relatively weak opposition it should be noted – one of the driving forces behind the win.
“Apart from the losing streak, there were many times when I played once and then got subbed out the next game after losing.
“I felt some pressure thinking that I should play without making a mistake, but it didn’t work out, so it was tough for me mentally.
“I was only thinking to overcome it and be better though because that’s what a professional gamer does.”
Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon
Against SKT’s rivals, KT Rolster, however, Huni found himself benched once more. Huni ended Game 2 with six deaths as Rumble, becoming a clear fodder target for KT.
Huni failed to feature at all in Round 2 of the LCK Playoffs against Samsung Galaxy, with Untara providing a strong showing during a clean 3-0 victory, validating his inclusion.
— SK telecom T1 (@sktelecom_t1) August 15, 2017
Unless Huni begins to feature once more in KkOma’s plans for the remaining playoff matches, there is a chance the top laner may not be selected as part of the squad to compete at the World Championships.