League of Legends

Team Griffin officially disbands: The end of a surprising enigma

Team Griffin, League of Legends team and two time LCK runners up have officially disbanded. The news broke on the morning of Jan 5 on Team Griffin’s Twitter account. However, this merely confirmed what many had already expected to be the fate of the team. The organisation disbands having spent three years within the Korean LoL scene.

Griffin had failed to become part of the LCK’s new franchised format ahead of the 2021 season. After a dismal fifth-place finish to the Challengers Korea would have secured Griffin’s spot in the new LCK. With their departure, competitive LoL has witnessed the end of one of the great fairytales in esports.

The team were first formed in 2017 to compete in Challengers Korea 2017 Spring. Comprised of a group of amateurs with high aspirations the team set their sights on the LCK. With players such as the now LNG Esports jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong and Choi “Sword” Sung-won. The team successfully navigated the summer playoff and promotion tournament to earn a spot in the KeSPA cup 2017. There they admirably took a game off SKT T1 before their elimination.

In 2018 the team finally achieved promotion to the LCK. Immediately making a splash, the squad finished second in LCK Summer 2018, and headed to the regional finals. The team narrowly missed out on a Worlds invite, but later shocked the world by winning 2018 KeSPA Cup. 

Griffin competes in LCK 2020 Spring (Image via Riot Games)

Riding high, the team won both the LCK Spring Split and Summer Split in 2019. However, each time the team would fall short of winning the playoffs, falling to now rivals T1. From here, the team gathered the unfortunate reputation for choking. They lived up to this slight at Worlds 2019, where they found themselves eliminated by Invictus Gaming. 

After a humbling at Worlds, and the departure of their world-class calibre mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, the team floundered. Unable to replicate their earlier success, which in hindsight may have been simply the product of Chovy’s incredible play, the team fell out of the LCK in 2020 Spring. They failed to return to the league in the summer promotion tournament. 

What remained was a slow death for the team. With a new format shaking up the LCK there was no chance of a Cinderella-style qualifier available anymore. Today’s announcement stating that Griffin disbands confirms simply what many had already know – Things are over for Griffin.

But the team leaves behind a remarkable legacy and story. Rising from an amateur league and defeating the best teams in the world to earn your spot is something that cannot be replicated. Griffin will remain remembered as the last great amateur team that came out of nowhere and shocked the LCK.

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