Griffin relegated from LCK after poor performance in Spring Split

Olivia R. April 29, 2020

After a harsh loss to Sandbox Gaming in the lower brackets of LCK's summer promotion series, Griffin has been eliminated from the LCK. 

The team was relegated after losing back-to-back matches, first to Korea Challenger team Seorabeol and then to Sandbox Gaming, in the summer promotion tournament. This means that they won't be competing in the Summer Split. This is a harsh wake up call for Griffin, who also finished the 2020 LCK Spring Split in last place. 

Griffin's new roster lets them down

Griffin's terrible performance is a far cry from previous years' showing, when they were considered one of the best teams in the world. Most of the blame for this downward spiral has been placed on their roster changes in the 2019 offseason. Going into the Spring Split, only Choi "Sword" Sung-won, Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong, and Do-hyeon "Viper" Park remained. 

Once known for their unstoppable jungle/mid synergy, Griffin had consistently placed first and second in the LCK thanks to Tarzan and former mid laner Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon carrying the team. Before the 2020 season, Chovy left to join Gen.G, leaving Griffin to rely on Son "Ucal" Woo-heyon in the mid lane. Unfortunately, Ucal didn't prove to be a good replacement. 

But Chovy wasn't the only person on the team to leave Griffin before the Spring Split. They also lost Son "Lehends" Si-woo and Choi "Doran" Hyeon-joon after the organization dissolved everyone's contracts and allowed the players to be free agents, a decision they made after being accused of creating "unfair contracts" and forcing players to sign them

Before the 2020 season, Griffin also lost long-time coach Kim "cvMax" Dae-ho. He was banned from the LCK entirely after players accused him of verbally and physically abusing them. 

Griffin coach Byun “Chaos” Young-sub had told an esports publication that there had been physical and verbal abuse since he joined. This included notepads being thrown during feedback, players having their chairs hit, and even cMax holding players by their collar and shaking them.

The decision led to much deliberation in and around the League of Legends community, as some noted that cvMax's behavior, right or wrong, was typical among LCK coaches, and that other coaches would also deserve punishment if this was the standard to be set in the region. There was also controversy regarding Sword's antagonistic relationship with cvMax.

The drama and ensuing roster changes ultimately caused a major drop in Griffin's performance, leading to them being relegated from the LCK. It's an unfortunate outcome, but maybe one that will push them to improve their standings.