Golden Guardians complete turnaround with first ever playoff birth

Devon H. March 25, 2019

Destroying the bad record the team left behind in 2018, Golden Guardians beat Optic Gaming to secure playoff positioning and move towards cementing a new legacy in season nine.

Heading into its first game in week nine, Golden Guardians looked to take a control over Optic. Despite only a single kill being given to GGS by 25 minutes, Optic could not respond to their opponents’ pressure on neutral objectives. The Guardians’ lead continued to grow and Optic was forced to respond. But it was a feeble response for Optic in the ensuing engagements, and the slew of resulting kills sealed the win for Golden Guardians and secured the playoffs spot.

During the offseason, the Golden Guardians were forced to make big changes. Even with franchising keeping their league spot secure, landing in 10th place for two splits in a row put the organization in a bad way. It was the 2019 Spring Split that demanded success, and the new roster pulled through.

Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell was one of the first acquisitions for GGS and he’s proven to be a pillar in their success. In 2018 on TSM, Hauntzer struggled to make an impact despite his history of successes. But entering 2019, GGS have managed to bring out some of Hauntzer’s old potential as a rock in the top lane.

Henrik “Froggen” Hansen was GGS’s mid lane pick for the offseason. Having not played professional League of Legends in nearly two years, many were skeptical of Froggen’s ability to compete with modern talent. A common criticism was that his champion pool lacked in current meta picks. This split, Froggen has proven himself to be a reliable carry, performing on any champion that could assist in his team’s victory.

At support, the squad’s final offseason pick was Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung. Despite taking two domestic championships in a row with Team Liquid, Olleh was eventually criticized as the weak link. Olleh’s play had the potential to be competitive on the international stage, but the pressure proved too stressful for Olleh to maintain himself reliably. The move to Golden Guardians seems to have provided Olleh with the fresh environment he needed to succeed.

With 2018 in the rear view mirror, Golden Guardians head into 2019’s playoffs with new energy, hoping to prove themselves a worthy mainstay in the LCS.