League of Legends

Sang-Myun ‘Shy’ Park: The Top Laner That Has Walked down the Royal Road for the First Time in the LCK

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It has been 6 to 7 years since the Esport for League of Legends was made. In the beginning, it was either NA or EU that stood out in the pro scene, but now Korean players are the ones dominating the Leagues worldwide. All positions in League of Legends serve a vital role in the game, but people often underestimate the influence of the top laners.


Most of the limelight seems to shine on mid laners, but if you cast a bit of that light on the top lane, you’re likely to see some awe-worthy sights. In Korea, there are many top laners, such as Khan of Kingzone DragonX, who have been leaving fans in awe for many seasons.


Most Korean top laners playing all over the world, including Khan, were greatly influenced and inspired by pros from the early period. The top laner we are about to introduce, Shy, is a player who inspires many Korean top laners to this day.

 

Sang-Myun ‘Shy’ Park made his debut as a top laner for Azubu Frost in 2012 and earned a high achievement that same year when his team placed 2nd in the 2012 League of Legends World Championship. Afterward, the world began to recognize the strength of Korean pro gamers as Shy continued to play in many international tournaments.


The path Shy took was exemplary to many top laners. Shy left CJ Entus after a 5-year run to join the Rox Tigers, and after playing for them for a while eventually announced his retirement on December 5th, 2017.

 

 

Shy has been renowned for his Jax master plays since the days of his amateur gaming. CJ Entus Frost was one of the teams that represented South Korea in the early era. After Locodoco left, and with Woong changing his role to AD, Shy came to fill in the top lane.


Shy’s Jax was simply amazing during his debut, but his mastery was actually a double-edged sword. He won all 6 games he played as Jax, and yet had a 44.4% win rate when playing other champions.


At the finals for the Champions Summer 2012, the Korean league that is equivalent to today's LCK, Frost’s opponent team was CLG Europe, which was at the peak of its performance. The team had Froggen, whose love for Anivia was well-known; Krepo, a Leona master; and Wickd, who was famed for his Irelia and his own special item builds in the top lane. Shy was to play against these skilled players, which was quite a burden for a rookie who just made his debut.


However, Shy still managed to help his team win the Championship and make it to Worlds; though they ended up in 2nd place, Shy became a popular player in Korea, and his fame grew as he became more and more experienced.


Eventually, he ran into a slump, just like many other players have in Esports. CJ Entus became unstable after CloudTemplar’s retirement, and Shy seemed to be struggling with this change all on his own. As time passed, he couldn’t perform as well as before, and he began to become frustrated.

 


Even though he was no longer as powerful a laner or player, he was still reliable; 2015 was a year with positive changes for both CJ Entus and Shy. He contributed to the team with his solid Dr. Mundo, Lulu, and Rumble. However, CJ Entus was relegated from the LCK at the end of 2016, and Shy had to leave for Rox Tigers in 2017 for a fresh start.


It was a difficult decision for Shy. He poured the last remaining bit of his energy into ROX Tigers, although he didn’t get to play in many of the games due to his injury and also because he joined the team as a player-coach. Even so, he performed well in most of the games he got to play in, and although he didn’t have the extraordinary mechanics that current players do, he did get to show off his abilities in the Rift. His accumulated experience served him well, and his top lane performance was nothing to scoff at.

 


▲ Video from: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgpqbM0pajgHVVaFvGi19YA


Having been a part of the LoL Esports scene for so long, Shy became a living witness to its history. He strived to be a part of that history, as he admitted during his time as a player.


“There is a history behind LoL Esports, a path it has taken to get here. I want to become a pro gamer who continues to remain in the hearts of fans to the very end.” - from an interview with Inven


And his goal was accomplished. The story of LoL Esports would not be complete without Shy, one of the greatest Korean top laners. While he was not part of the very first generation of pros, he still fought with them, bringing life to a competitive scene that was pretty barren at the time.

 

Shy, alongside Madlife, will be talking about the past and the present of LoL Esports while sharing his own story as a player at the IGEC - ESPORTS DEEP DIVE on this upcoming May 1st.


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