One of the greatest top laners in League of Legends history is back — in another role, at least. According to an official announcement on Team Liquid's social media account, the LCS team has signed former-World Champion Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan as the team's new Head Coach.
The news comes after a four-year absence from a public position in the scene — MaRin’s last big role competing with Chinese organization Topsports Gaming. The signing marks the first coaching role of the former SK Telecom T1 player's career, as well as his first time competing in North America.
The signing also comes after a disappointing year for Team Liquid. After the organization put together one of the most star-studded lineups in LCS history, the roster underperformed throughout most of the year — culminating in a failure to qualify for Worlds. There have been several major changes to the team since then — coaching staff members Albert "H4xDefender" Ong, Jonas "Kold" Andersen, André "Guilhoto" Pereira Guilhoto all leaving, as well as the departure of star mid laner Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg.
Though MaRin's presence as an elite player was quite short, he is notable for having numerous top accolades. Initially finding moderate success on SK Telecom T1 S, he rose to prominence when the organization combined sister teams — joining veterans Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and Bae "Bengi" Seong-woong. In the year playing together, MaRin established himself as one of the world's best top laners, and helped T1 win several championships. The highlight of his career was winning the 2015 World Championship, as well as the Worlds MVP award.
The move falls in line with the growing trend of OGN/LCK players becoming coaches, something League of Legends figure Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles told Inven Global in an interview, stating that "a lot of the first and second-generation players that have retired are now moving into coaching roles".
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