From teammates to rivals: Six hyped reunions at Worlds 2021

 

The LoL World Championship is the highest honor a League of Legends pro team can earn, but it’s also the stage for (un)likely reunions. Players that have switched regions often meet their former teams and sometimes even their former teammates. This is very much the case with Worlds 2021, with six reunion storylines converging in Iceland. 

 


DK Khan vs. FPX Nuguri

Nuguri (left, Source: FPX) and Khan (Source: Inven)

 

One of the most exciting reunion battles in this Worlds is between 2020 champions DWG KIA and 2019 champions FunPlus Phoenix. Despite struggles during the Summer Split, DK enter Worlds as undisputed favorites. FPX, on the other hand, are evaluated as equal, or even better, than LPL’s #1 seed, EDward Gaming, and are also penned by pundits to go deep in the bracket.

 

The story here is that the two teams traded top laners between each other. DK’s Kim “Khan” Dong-ha played in FunPlus Phoenix in 2020, while FPX’s Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon lifted the Summoner’s Cup with DAMWON Gaming last year. After winning Worlds, Nuguri headed to the LPL and joined FPX, while Khan postponed his retirement and returned to the LCK to join DWG KIA.

 

Both teams were drafted in the same group, which sets up the match-up between these two top laners very early in the tournament. Both know each other very well and are certain to bring a lot of eyes on them, especially given they will be the opening match of the group stage.

The Griffin reunion

 

HLE Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon.

EDG Park “Viper” Do-hyeon.

LNG Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong.

 

The main members that led the “Griffin Hurricane” will be reunited at Worlds 2021. Griffin had an amazing run since its promotion in 2018 Summer, reaching three consecutive LCK Finals (and winning nothing but silver at them). Their meteoric rise was only matched by their sudden downfall following the scandal in 2019 that saw the team relegated and later dissolved and its players scattered across the LCK and LPL.

 

After leaving Griffin, Chovy played for DRX for a while before ending up in Hanwha Life Esports this year. Tarzan and Viper stayed with Griffin for longer, but as Griffin eventually came to an end, they too moved on to new teams. Tarzan joined LNG Esports after a short break, and Viper signed to LPL’s #1 seed EDward Gaming. Even though no longer wearing the Griffin jerseys, the magic stayed with the trio and they played major roles in their team’s journeys to Worlds.

 

Chovy and Tarzan secured the last ticket to Worlds from their regions and have been paired against each other very early in the tournament: they will face off in the first match of the Play-in stage, which is also the first match of Worlds. Representing powerful teams, both are expected to reach the group stage, where Viper and EDG are already seeded. Since teams from the same region cannot share a group together, the Chovy-Viper or Tarzan-Viper match-ups can only happen in the playoffs — if they advance, that is.

GEN Ruler vs. TL CoreJJ

 

The legendary bot duo that were the runner-ups at Worlds 2016 and champions at Worlds 2017 is finally reunited. Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk and Gen.G had a difficult summer. After an undefeated start, stacking win upon win, Gen.G hit a rough patch and their performance severely declined in the second half. Team Liquid were similarly unconvincing, fighting their own internal drama, but still made it Worlds in the end as LCS’ #2 seed — their fourth consecutive World Championship appearance.


There were a few chances Ruler and CoreJJ were able to meet at Worlds in the past -- they both played in Worlds 2018 and 2020. In those two Worlds, they weren’t in the same group, so they needed to reach the Knockout Stage to face each other. Unfortunately, they both were eliminated in the Group Stage in 2018, and Team Liquid failed to advance in 2020.

 

This time, they’re in the same group, and the duo will finally face each other in the bot lane. The duo that was once called the ‘best in the world’ will be trying to claim each others’ heads with a new partner.

Vizicsacsi vs Unicorns of Love, MAD Lions

Source: Riot Games

 

We’ll be seeing Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamas again at the World Championship, this time, playing for PEACE. The veteran top laner had retired after reaching the quarterfinals at Worlds 2019 as a member of Splyce. Splyce rebranded to MAD Lions and they’re the proud first seed of the LEC this year. Vizicsacsi also served MAD Lions briefly as a coach, and they have a chance to meet again.

 

MAD Lions isn’t the only team Vizicsacsi played for. In fact, his longest tenure was at Unicorns of Love. Vizicsacsi played for Unicorns of Love for most of his career, and they might be excited about the reunion in Iceland. However, the chances for them to face off aren’t that high — the biggest chance they have is meeting at the elimination round of the Play-ins. Elsewise, they would have to face off at the Knockout Stage.

GS Crazy vs. DK Ghost

 

Kim “Crazy” Jae-hee had been in the LoL esports scene since 2015, and went through the hardest times during his stay in bbq Olivers. While he was in bbq Olivers, the team struggled in the LCK, barely avoiding last place. During that time, one of his teammates was Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun, playing bot lane. It was unfortunate for them that the team was relegated after the 2018 summer season, but things changed for them after leaving the team.

 

Ghost reached the peak of his career after joining DWG KIA, where he won the 2021 LoL World Championship. It took a bit longer for Crazy as he went through T1 academy and Rogue Warriors of the LPL, but things finally worked out for him in the TCL, where he won the championship and reached Worlds. If Galatasary Esports can make it out of the Play-in stage, there’s a good chance for the two to face each other. Crazy can also find himself facing T1, where he didn’t have a chance to play in any official matches.

HLE Deft vs. EDG Scout, Meiko

Source: Riot Games

 

It seems like a lifetime ago, but Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, Lee “Scout” Ye-chan, and Tian “Meiko” Ye played on EDward Gaming at Worlds 2016. They were eliminated by ROX Tigers in the quarterfinals, but they had a good run over that year as they won the LPL summer championship with an undefeated record and also won the Demacia Cup following Worlds. 

 

The year before that, (although Scout wasn’t there) Deft and Meiko had won MSI 2015 together. EDward Gaming had been on the top of the league while these players played for them. One little piece of additional information is that Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu was here as a coach at this time as well. It may not be as big of a reunion, but Reapered will be facing EDward Gaming in the Group Stage as the mastermind behind 100 Thieves.

 

Scout and Meiko are still on EDward Gaming while Deft returned to the LCK. Deft said that he’d “like to see how it would be facing them” when Hanwha Life Esports secured a ticket to Worlds. As the three put up the best records of their careers, they would be excited to meet each other, but like the Griffin reunion, we won’t be able to see them play against each other unless they meet in the Knockout Stage.

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