Like all sports, League of Legends has its own tier of greats. Above the hundreds of teams entrenched in a mindless squabble for second place, there are a few teams who rise above the rest in their historic success and undying passion for the game.
These greats define the sport’s trajectory, taking its strategy to new heights, and bringing its skill to the next level. They define an era of competitive play and secure a chapter in the history books. Samsung Galaxy is one of those rare teams.
While their opponents faded in the dust behind them, Samsung won a World Championship and attended two Worlds finals. Only a handful of legends – such as SK Telecom T1, Fnatic, and Royal Never Give Up can match their historic accomplishments. After falling in the finals of last year’s worlds, Samsung will rise again to become the ruler of LoL.
Despite Samsung’s rich history, however, the current line-up is not necessarily full of storied veterans with legendary careers.
Lee “Crown” Min-ho only got his shot with the team after a split in Brazil, Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in only narrowly avoided relegation as a North American AD carry and perhaps the most noteworthy rags-to-riches story of Samsung’s player is, Park “Ruler” Jae-Hyuk, who, in just six months, rose from the bottom of Challengers Korea all the way to the Worlds Finals at the Staples Center.
Though it may seem hard to believe now, the Samsung AD carry we all know today was not always Ruler. In his first split on Stardust, and for much of his early LoL career, his tag was Bung.
As soon as he joined Samsung, he changed his name to Ruler, the far more iconic persona that he carries today. However, Bung didn’t truly make the transformation into Ruler for some time after this change.
In the Summer split, he was acceptable, but not exceptional. Crown and CuVee drew far more attention for their individual play, while Ambition and CoreJJ brought in better storylines due to their redemption stories.
Ruler, on the other hand, collected dust as a solid AD carry who didn’t even start every game. No one cared about him. He was far from a ruler in the eyes of fans.
This year, the situation has changed. His steady improvement has reached a turning point in his career. In the past year, Ruler made waves in the LCK by mercilessly tearing through the toughest competition in the world.
Throughout the course of 2017, Ruler stepped up his carry potential to the level of his more experienced teammates, CuVee and Crown.
This patch has only given him more tools to show his worth. In an AD carry meta, he has left no doubt as to his abilities, consistently leading his team to victory as their primary carry. There is no doubt anymore: Ruler is a star in his own right.
Now, it is time for him to graduate into greatness. Since his debut, Ruler has remained in the shadows of other Korean ADCs. While Kim ” PraY” Jong-in, Bae “Bang” Jung-sik, and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu earned titles and fame, Ruler continued his persistence, constantly working to achieve their status.
Finally, he has broken free of their towering figures. Ruler has outperformed both Bang and PraY in this tournament in his epic finals run. It is time to recognize the achievements of one of Korea’s most talented players. He has joined the greats in his pursuit for success.
A year and a half ago, Bung was a young, inexperienced bot-laner for Challengers Korea team Stardust, at the beginning of an unthinkable journey. One year ago, he found himself in the finals of his first international tournament, overwhelmed by the pressure, he managed to produce a strong performance, but ultimately failed to match the likes of PraY and Bang.
The unsure anxiety of seventeen-year-old Bung is a remnant of the past now. In his stead, Ruler has achieved greatness. There is only one step left to complete the transition from Bung to Ruler. If Ruler can defeat his arch-nemesis and take the crown back from SKT, and win the finals rematch on Saturday night, he can truly become a legend.