Griffin disbands after failing to make an impact for over a year
Korean organization Griffin has announced the disbandment of its League of Legends team. After a meteoric rise, one of the LCK’s biggest underdog stories has come to an end a mere two years after the team reached the quarterfinals of Worlds 2018.
Griffin started its journey in the Korean Challenger in 2017, finishing its inaugural Spring Split in second-to-last place. The team’s fortunes changed for the better after the acquisition of support Kim “Newt” Jin, with Griffin finishing both the Summer Split and Playoffs in fourth place, missing out on the promotion tournament.
With the addition of Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, Griffin skyrocketed into the League of Legends limelight. The team was unbeaten in the 2018 Challengers Korea Spring Split and ultimately qualified for the LCK 2018 Summer Split after defeating MVP.
In its inaugural LCK season, the team exceeded expectations, finishing the split in second place but ultimately failed to qualify for Worlds after falling to Gen.G in the Regional Finals.
Heading into the 2019 season, Griffin was a true powerhouse in the Korean scene, finishing both splits as the runner-up and ultimately qualifying for Worlds 2019. At Worlds, Griffin topped its group before getting eliminated in the quarterfinals by Invictus Gaming.
In contrast to the team’s meteoric rise, Griffin’s downfall was equally as rapid. After losing head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho just before Worlds as a result of the Griffin-Kanavi incident, long-time support player Son “Lehends” Si-woo and superstar mid-laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon also left the team.
All of the losses proved to be irreplaceable, as Griffin finished the afterward Spring Split in last place, dropping down to the Challenger division following defeats to Seorabeol Gaming and SANDBOX Gaming.
With Griffin losing the bulk of its longtime core in the form of top laner Park “Untara” Ui-jin, mid laner Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon, and ADC Park “Viper” Do-hyeon, hopes were slim for a swift comeback to the LCK. With a hastily stitched roster the team only managed to snag a 5th place finish at CK Summer 2020, failing to qualify for the Challenger Summer Playoffs.
The final nail in the coffin came in the summer of last year after the team revealed it would not be applying for a LCK franchise slot in 2021.
Despite hailing one of the most talented cores in the competitive League of Legends scene over the last couple of years, poor managerial decisions ultimately sealed Griffin’s fate. The team will likely go down in League of Legends history as one of the biggest “what ifs”, as one of LoL’s brightest chapters comes down to an unexpected end.