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T1 rebuild coaching staff after Worlds win

T1 rebuild coaching staff after Worlds win
Image via T1

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch

Published 

21st Nov 2023 15:20

Coming off a win at the League of Legends World Championship at home in Seoul, South Korea, T1 has announced the return of former star coach Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun.

Interim head Im "Tom" Jae-hyeon will remain with T1, working under kkOma. Kim "Roach" Kang-hee and former substitute player Kim "Sky" Ha-neul are attending their mandatory military service.

kkOma steps back in

It's a move that shocked the League community. The coach that helped build T1's legacy, kkOma steps back into the driver's seat for the most winning organisation in the esport only days after the organisation had lifted the Summoner’s Cup.  

The three-time World Champion and two-time MSI winner is taking over from Interim Head Coach Tom, who had led the organisation to a World Championship in 2023. For almost seven years, kkOma led T1, departing in 2019 after a three-year World title drought.

Bouncing first to China with Vici Gaming but returning to South Korea with DAMWON, he would later depart from DWG KIA in 2022 and remain without a professional team.

After a quiet year, kkOma returned to coaching for the Korean national team with whom he won the Asia Games for which the squad recently received presidential praise. Three of Team South Korea's players top laner Choi "Zeus" Woo-je, support Ryu "Keria" Min-seok, and of course, mid-laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok came from T1. 

The burden of a second dynasty

 

With T1, kkOma had previously built an empire that lasted from 2013 - 2016, with one hiccup in 2014, during which SKT T1 failed to qualify for Worlds.

Given this moment that kkOma is set to rejoin the team, the weight of creating another dynasty is palpable. Fortunately for kkOma, the prodigy that once helped him win his trophies is still around and has expressed a continued appetite for success. Ten years after his first Worlds victory, Faker is still with T1 and remains on top of his game.

With the free agency window opening and three starters in Zeus, Keria, and Gumayusi's contracts running out, kkOma's work is cut out for him to either convince those players to re-sign with the organisation or to find adequate replacements. Both Oner's and Faker's contracts are active for another year or two, respectively.

The next couple of weeks promises to be exciting with T1 and kkOma plotting their next plans for a new dynasty. 

Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.

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