Minsung "RapidStar" Jung, Hyunwoo "CloudTemplar" Lee, Dongjin "Helios" Shin, Hayoon "MaKNooN" Yoon; they are only a few of the founding fathers of Korean LoL scene. However, after almost half a decade since the beginning, most of those founding fathers are no longer professional gamers. Some became coaches, some became casters and some even went for greener pastures outside of competitive gaming.

However, there are a few that remain among the new generation of players, and today, we’d like to introduce you to one of the living legends that is still fiercely competing to be the best. He may not be perfect, but if there’s one thing that all these years have taught him, it has to be his perseverance - how he never liked to give up and consistently challenged himself.

▲ Shy, the Living Legend

A Jax main enters the battlefield

Sangmyeon “Shy” Park started his career in competitive LoL as the top laner of Azubu Frost, which would later be known as CJ Frost and subsequently CJ Entus after the merger. After Locodoco, the team’s ADC, left the team, Woong changed his role from top to ADC. To fill in for the vacant top lane spot, the team signed Shy, who had been known for being a skilled Jax main. At the time, the team was undeniably one of the best, and people started to wonder how this rookie would fare as the top laner of Azubu Frost.

▲ He had made his name known for being a Jax main even before joining the team.

During The Champions Summer 2012, Shy certainly proved that he was a Jax main by winning all 6 games that he played with Jax, but he didn’t fare well with other champions, winning only 4 games out of the 9 that he played as other champions. Winning 10 out of 15 games at his first season as professional gamer is an impressive feat on its own, but when compared to other players in his team, he was often considered to be the weakest link that other teams had to exploit.

▲ 100%. No less.

However, consider this for a moment: Shy was a rookie of a team that was already deemed to be one of the best; and yet he was able to carry the team every time that he played Jax. Soon, their opponents were forced to ban Jax, which meant that they only had two bans to work with for the other 4 players of Azubu Frost. If Shy could accomplish that much as a rookie, just imagine what he could do in the future.

So, with help from Jax, Shy was able to fight all the way to the finals of The Champions Summer 2012 in his first season as a professional LoL player with Azubu Frost.


▲ To the finals we go!

The Champions Summer 2012 was the last Champions tournament where overseas teams could participate, and their opponent was Europe’s powerhouse - CLG Europe. Shy had to face Wickd, a player who was famous for being an Irelia main and had an item build that he pioneered to become one of the most fearsome top laners in the world.

As Vladimir in the first set and Jayce in the second set, Shy just couldn’t defeat Wickd and his signature champion. With Shy and the team backed against the wall after losing two sets in a row, it was up to Jax to save the day.

Of course, this isn’t a drama, so Shy wasn’t the person who carried the team and saved the day. However, Shy still managed to pull his own weight, allowing the team to finally win a set and then proceed to reverse sweep the series and win the tournament.

▲ He also played Jax in the final set and won the tournament with him.

So, our rookie who mained Jax managed to conquer The Champions Summer 2012. However, the story doesn’t end there: Now that Azubu Frost had won The Champions, they were able to participate in the Season 2 World Championship.

Shy did not disappoint at Worlds either, and he once again showed how he was not only a world-class player with Jax but also with Jayce, Vladimir, and Singed, who was an off-meta pick at best. However, the highlight of Shy’s 2012 career came when Shy faced CLG Prime in the group stage and managed to take down both Voyboy’s Olaf and HotshotGG’s Dr. Mundo in a 1-on-2 gank.

It’s not hard to find a situation where a 2-on-1 gank turns into an equal trade after a fierce resistance, but turning a 2-on-1 gank around and making it a double kill is almost impossible. It was all thanks to Shy’s trusty Jax that he managed to pull off an ‘impossible’ feat.

▲ Shy does the impossible. (Source: YouTube, vert Re)

Unfortunately, although they reached the finals after defeating CLG Europe again in the semifinals, they were finally stopped after being defeated by the Taipei Assassins.

However, through The Champions Summer 2012 and the Season 2 World Championship, the world bore witness to how Azubu Frost’s super rookie quickly matured into a player that consistently showed great skill.

Not shy when it comes to being the best.

Although CloudTemplar soon left the team to become a caster for OGN, Shy had already established himself in the team as a veteran. He was able to inherit the empty captain’s seat that had become vacant when CloudTemplar left. Within the Summoner’s Rift as well, he had gone from playing mainly Jax to becoming skilled with many on-meta champions including Rumble, Jayce, Elise, Ryze, Kennen, and many more.

On top of his good results and consistent performance, he also had a soft-natured personality (as suggested by his player name) that made him more and more popular among fans; thanks to that popularity, he was chosen to represent Team Korea as a top laner in All-Star Shanghai 2013 after a close competition with another prominent Korean top laner, MaKNooN.

▲ All-Star Shanghai 2013 is a fond memory for Shy’s fans.

All-Star matches are usually done for fun in sports, and the fact that the participants were chosen by a popularity vote mirrors that sentiment. However, All-Star Shanghai 2013 had something real at stake: A ticket to the Season 3 World Championship for their region. So, the players that were chosen to represent their region were often the best that the region could offer and Korea was no exception. After the region’s success on the world stage, Korean fans expected nothing less from Team Korea than winning the All-Star competition.

Unfortunately for other regions, that expectation turned into reality: Team Korea did not lose a single set in the tournament, and they were able to crown themselves as the champions of All-Star Shanghai 2013. Although the players have sometimes pulled off some crazy moves, they were still good enough to win all the games that they played in.

As for Shy, he showed great performance with various top laners, but none were more impressive than his three consecutive solo kills against Liu “PDD” Mou’s Zac with Jayce. As PDD had been known for being the best top laner of China with a wide selection of champions and exceptional mechanics, Shy again proved that he was worthy of being called the best.

Funnily enough, when Zac became a top-tier top champion after that season, it sparked a long-lasting meme in the Korean LoL community that questioned how PDD managed to lose against Shy with Zac. Of course, PDD was not at fault, Shy was just an exceptional player. Besides, the meme made him popular enough in Korea to have an AMA session with Korean fans, and he was a very good sport about the meme, so I guess it was a win-win situation for everyone.

▲ Three times in a row! (Source: All-Star Shanghai 2013)

What goes up...

So, to recap up till now: we’ve seen Shy as a Jax main who was confident and skilled enough to be a member of Azubu Frost, the best team in Korea at the time; we’ve seen Shy as a skilled veteran who was able to prove his worth in the World Championship in his first year; and we’ve seen Shy as the team captain who would succeed CloudTemplar.

However, what goes up must come down, and Shy was not an exception. With the success of the World Championship and the All-Star tournament, League of Legends was undeniably the most popular competitive game in the world. With more popularity than ever, it began to see a huge influx of prospective pro players, and there were a few that were skilled enough to challenge Shy.

▲A new challenger approaches.


The team Shy played for continued to experience change. Following Hyunwoo ‘CloudTemplar’ Lee becoming a gaming commentator, there were other changes in their roster such as Gunwoong ‘Woong’ Jang and Minsung ‘RapidStar’ Jung retiring and being replaced with Changsuk ‘GBM’ Lee, Dongjin ‘Helios’ Shin, and Hosan ‘Space’ Seon and more.

But their time of hardships dragged on, as CJ Entus and Shy found themselves hassled by new rising contenders in a whole different atmosphere with new and foreign compositions. Their team continued to deal with their slump due to their failure in team rebuilding, which continued to drag onto the 2014 seasons. It was hard to recognize the remains of the former CJ Entus, and they failed to provide sufficient performances with their own unique play style.

▲ CJ was forced to taste a crushing defeat by Samsung Ozone.
(Source: OGN, 2014 LCK Spring semifinals off the record)

In the end, their failure to win at the 2014 LCK Spring semifinals was soon followed with another defeat in the 2014 LCK Summer Group Stage, and they were forced to play in NLB, which seemed to take the titles of ‘winning team’ and ‘frontrunner’ far away from them.

▲ The slump overcast Shy.

Shy, the dependable captain of the team, says goodbye to CJ Entus

Though the slump caused the team to be rebuilt, Shy continued to lead as the captain of the team alongside veteran player Madlife. Having to take charge in such difficult times, ‘dependable’ seemed like the perfect word to describe him.

In the 2015 LCK Spring season, Shy finally came up with a solution of his own- instead of playing Gnar like all other teams preferred at the time, he played Dr. Mundo, Lulu, and Shen and won the first victory in the 2015 LCK Spring season against the toughest team, SKT T1.

Shy managed to make a breakthrough during his team’s slump by using his own unique play style. However, rather than sticking to a specific champion as he did when he was a Jax master, Shy surprised us with varying picks. As they moved on to the mid-season, the team was faced with ban picks focused on Shy, to which Shy responded with a stellar Rumble performance, showing that his champion pool was much larger than expected.

We also got the chance to witness his ability to keep up with the newest metas. Entering late-season, it seemed like the new meta for top laners was to take ‘Smite’. To much of his fans’ awe, Shy also came up with a new Smite-Hecarim combination which he used to show off his stunning ‘This is Shy’ plays.

▲ “CloudTemplar: It’s been a long time, but that really was ‘This is Shy’ action”
(Source: OGN)

With Shy’s dramatic revival and the team’s overall advancement, CJ Entus was placed 3rd in the 2015 LCK Spring Split and 4th in the 2015 LCK Summer Split. Of course, compared to the team’s past glory, these accomplishments may seem a bit dull, but considering the long slump they’ve been through, this should be viewed as great progress.

Unfortunately, reality was cruel and their final result was grim. They seemed to be progressing at first, but actually only managed to be placed 3rd~4th. More decisively, they lost in the match against Jin Air Green Wings for their promotion to the 2015 World Championships Tournament in the 5th set, and failed to make it to the Worlds. Not only that, but they helplessly lost to ESC Ever, which was an amateur team back then, at the LoL KeSPA Cup. All of these led to long downturn and a major team rebuild.

Around the 2016 split, most of the players had left the team due to expirations of their contracts, and only Shy and MadLife were left on CJ Entus. Also, Hyunjong Kang, who have been coaching their team for a long time, was replaced by new coaches, Jungsuk ‘Reach’ Park and Nuri ‘Cain’ Jang. A lot of big changes were happening to the team in such a short amount of time.

Shy had gone through rapid changes and public criticism, and also could not play in most of the matches in the 2016 splits due to his wrist injury. In an interview with Inven, he mentioned that everything was hitting him pretty hard, and from this we could see how all these new changes were putting immense pressure on him.

This must be hard for you emotionally. How are you holding up?

Shy: I may seem calm at the moment, but that’s because I just pull myself together whenever I go through stressful situations. I didn’t really know how this would feel like back when I had never been put in such situations, but now that I’ve been through them, I do. That was same case for CloudTemplar, Woong and Rapid STAR, and I was like, ‘Why can’t they hold out?’, ‘If it was me, I’d pull through,’ but now that I’ve actually gone through it, I know it’s really hard to bear it all by yourself. That’s why I don’t go on the internet that much.

CJ Entus had gone through many changes in 2016. How did you feel when your original team members left?

Shy: I felt empty. I was the eldest and the captain of the team, so I felt responsible and got a lot of pressure. It felt like it should’ve been me who left the team, but instead, others did, so I got into thinking, ‘Can I really stay here?’. I felt sad and sorry at the same time. I kept thinking, things could have turned out better, if only we had tried harder when we had the chance.

In the end, CJ Entus’ team rebuild in 2016 turned into ashes. They did show great performance with MadLife-Kramer’s teamwork in round 1, but as they entered the late-split, they were soon counterattacked by other teams and they were down to 8th place in the 2016 Spring Split and 10th in the 2016 Summer Split.

Shy also did show great performance when playing on stage, but he failed to catch the spotlight as he ended up choosing to play safe champions like ‘Trundle’. CJ Entus, which scored lowest in the 2016 LCK Summer Split, was relegated to the 2nd league after they lost to ESC Ever in their promotion match.

▲ A shocking defeat in the 2016 promotion match. CJ Entus on their way down to Challengers. (Source: YouTube, CyberGame)

With the end of the 2016 splits, Shy’s contract with CJ Entus expired. Leaving the team that he played for since the time of Frost, the team that had given him his pro gamer career, must have held special meaning for him.

Many other pro gamers from the early scene were either considering retirement or already chose a different path. With criticism from the public and his departure from the team, we couldn’t imagine how difficult it must have been for Shy. Although one thing we knew for sure was that Shy, who had continued to improve with such a dependable manner all the time, won’t just give up.

▲ Shy montage.

Shy joined ROX Tigers, and new history was written

In 2016, after a series of successful victories, members of the Tigers left to move on to other teams. The ROX Tigers had gone through a completely new change, with a new roster and new coach, Hyunjong Kang. Shy, who overcame his frustration and the shame of his past, played for the ‘new’ ROX Tigers in the 2017 splits.

“The 2017 LCK splits won’t be easy for me. But still, I want to face this head-on. As for my retirement or any future plans, I will think about them when my pro gamer life comes to its end. LoL eSports has its own history, and I want to become a pro gamer that will remain in the hearts of our fans till the very last day.

From interview with Inven on January 9th, 2017



▲ A fresh start with the ‘new’ ROX Tigers.

With a number of old members from Afreeca Freecs joining, the ROX Tigers were able to show off their own unique style. Starting with Mickey, their aggressive play style became both a strength and trademark of the ROX Tigers. There were times when their aggressive play turned out to be reckless, but they still won their victories in such a decisive manner that you could not call them a rookie team.

And Shy also played a key part here - he started his role of building team stability. As the league carried on, the public criticism started to ease out, and Shy began to show his real talent without any difficulties. With the ROX Tiger’s aggressive play style and Shy’s famous Shen play put together, he was able to build some solid team stability

Shen may have become a rising champion, as many teams have been playing him, but it was hard to find someone who was as masterful at using Shen and as outstanding in split pushing as Shy was.

▲ Shy’s Shen play, which gave stability to ROX Tiger’s aggressive play style
(Source: OGN)

Jax was Shy’s ultimate strength and his pocket pick once, and now Shen had replaced him. Actually, he was widely known for his great Shen plays before as well. Rumor has it that his skills were learned from the gaming commentator, CloudTemplar, who was once known to love playing Shen when he was still a pro gamer.


Shy’s pocket pick wasn’t only limited to Shen- as the ROX Tigers focused on offensive team plays, Shy had another pocket pick to go along with them: Renekton. Renekton was another champion Shy chose for his extra aggressiveness as well as his ability to keep Camille, a champion once considered OP, in check.

Unfortunately, they lost against SKT T1 not long ago, but Shy’s Renekton play showed a great lead against Nautilus in the top lane with overwhelmingly higher CS. Considering how hard it is to have higher CS and overpower opponent champions in the lane at the same time in a pro match, even if you happened to have a great champion pick, this seemed to indicate the rebirth of former legendary top laner Shy.

▲ Shy’s other pocket pick, Renekton.
(Source: YouTube, Asialolreplay)

The ROX Tigers had a collective win in the late-season, but their plan for promotion to post-season went astray when they lost to SKT T1 in the match for the 3rd set on March 29th. Yet for some reason, this didn’t seem too regrettable. Perhaps it was because we were able to catch a glimpse of his old plays returning. What the ROX Tigers showed us in the late-season had something that sparked anticipation for the upcoming season. And of course, the fact that they were a considerably new team was cause for excitement as well.

Maybe it is too early to claim Shy’s had a complete ‘rebirth’. But one thing for sure is that despite the cruel slumps and harsh criticisms, he has risen again and won’t shy away from the challenge before him

He could have given up his pro gamer life in the 2017 season, but he didn’t, so the history of his gaming life continues on. We truly look forward to what Shy will carve into esports history.

▲ We sincerely hope for only happiness in this new chapter of his tale.

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