100 Thieves has made a big splash to start the LCS off-season by signing Chris "PapaSmithy" Smith as the General Manager of its League of Legends team. PapaSmithy previously spent the past four years of his career as a color caster and analyst for South Korea's LCK, as well as Riot-sanctioned international events such as the Mid-Season Invitational and the League of Legends World Championship.
PapaSmithy gained acclaim in the League of Legends Esports scene starting in 2012. As one half of an Australian casting duo with current LCS Play-By-Play Caster Julian "Pastrytime" Carr, PapaSmithy became the leading analytical voice in Chinese League of Legends when he and Pastrytime headed Riot's first official LPL broadcast in 2015.
Pastrytime would eventually move to the NA LCS ahead of the 2017 Spring Split to cast the region with arguably the most exciting play-by-play, but it was PapaSmithy who got a similar call a year earlier. The color caster had been offered to cast League of Legends in South Korea, which at the time, was indisputably the paragon of quality gameplay from an analysis perspective, and joined the LCK broadcast with Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykkles and Erik "DOA" Lonnquist in 2016.
Throughout this time in the LCK, PapaSmithy has not only become the English ambassador for Korean League of Legends sicnce Monte and DOA's move to Blizzard's Overwatch, but has built his brand out to Western fans in the form of in-depth VOD reviews of international games on his own channel. His frequent international casting and analyst desk appearances have brought unparalleled insight to the Western Audience about Korean League of Legends on a global stage.
PapaSmithy joined the 2019 LEC Summer Split Broadcast for Week 7, but looks to be returning to the West to join 100 Thieves in Los Angeles. 100 Thieves is one of the fastest growing esports organizations, boasting elite talent in multiple games and an investment group with the likes of musical artist Drake and talent manager Scooter Braun.
Headed by Matthew "Nadeshot" Haig and leading the 'esportswear' trends with several lines of quality merchandise, 100 Thieves has been a success since its LCS Franchise partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers ahead of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split. However, much to the chagrin of fans of the NBA affiliate, the 2019 League of Legends season was an absolute disaster for the squad.
100 Thieves may have fallen off towards the end of its debut League of Legends season, but a top 2 finish in the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split, a 2018 Spring Finals appearance, a top 3 finish in both Summer Split and Playoffs, and a #2 seed qualification for the 2018 League of Legends World Championship is nowhere near possibly being considered a failure.
Before the 2019 season, 100 Thieves signed former World Champion and SK Telecom T1 AD Carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik amongst a flurry of smart off-season moves. The new LCS class' best and brightest organization looked to solidify itself amongst the league's household names like Team Liquid, TSM, Cloud9, and Counter Logic GAming.
However, 2019 was a disaster for the Thieves. A 10th place finish in spring was slightly improved up on in summer with a late-split push highlighted by marked improvements team-wide, but calling 8th place a failure for the organization in its sophomore LCS season would be an understatement.
As GM, PapaSmithy brings knowledge of League of Legends from a gameplay and fundamentals perspective, but also boasts great familiarity with the inner workings of the scene. His vast in multiple regions and facets of LoL Esports should prove valuable to properly allocating the ample resources the organization has at its disposal.
In addition, PapaSmithy's familiarity with the differences in Western and Korean culture, both inside and outside the vector of League of Legends esports, will be a boon to 100 Thieves' roster, which currently features players from Europe, South Korea, and North America. The team's 8-6 run to finish the Summer Split might not be impressive in a vacuum, but 100 Thieves won more games in that two month period than they had in the 8 months prior.
PapaSmithy's new position within the organization should not only help streamline any improvements the team had already been growing into, and gives them a steady, experienced, leading hand with a keen understanding of the landscape of the globalized League of Legends competitive scene.