Kim Jeong-soo, the head coach that helped Invictus Gaming win the 2018 League of Legends World Championship title, has entered free agency. The news comes directly from the coach’s Facebook wall.
Coach Kim was instrumental for iG’s success this year. Often a mid-table team domestically, Invictus Gaming never left an international impact either. They qualified for Worlds sporadically and when they did, they were blasted out with ease. Before 2018, Worlds 2015 was iG’s last appearance at the major stage — a tournament which ended in a bottom 16 elimination for the Chinese side.
The coming of coach Kim ushered an era of domestic dominance for iG. Between the Spring and Summer regular seasons, iG went 36-2, culminating in an LPL grand final thriller against RNG. Although iG lost that final 2-3, the redemption came very soon thereafter when the LPL runner-ups hoisted the Summoner’s Cup — the first Chinese team in history to do so.
Coach Kim’s track record goes further back yet. In 2017, he joined Longzhu Gaming and reinvented them from a 7th/8th place team to LCK Summer champions and Worlds quarterfinalists. The year before, he coached Samsung Galaxy — another team that was struggling the year before — to Worlds runner-ups.
With Kim gone, Won “Mafa” Sang-yeon remains the only coach behind Invictus Gaming — a gap that the reigning champions are likely to fill soon if they’re to defend their title in 2019.