Mata has been a part of the competitive scene ever since 2013. Under Samsung White’s banner, he was the world champion just a year after his debut. Now, he’s the last member of the team that took the crown at Worlds 2014 to retire. The news comes just a few weeks after T1 decided to end its contract with the support.
LCK fans were sad to find they won’t be cheering for Mata anymore. The veteran player truly built himself a legacy on the scene, through the ups and downs of a long pro career.
Many will remember Mata’s Samsung White bot lane with ADC Gu “imp” Seung-bin, still considered to be one of the best bottom lanes in the history of competitive League. The duo dominated Worlds 2014, and ever since fans have considered Mata among the best Thresh players in the world.
In the 2015 season Mata tried his luck in the Chinese LPL and joined Vici Gaming, but the run didn’t go as well as was hoped. In 2017 Mata joined up with KT Rolster, then joined KT Rolster’s domestic rival T1 in 2018. After two seasons with Korea’s most prominent esports organization he has decided to leave pro gaming as T1 has ended his contract.
The retirement decision was surely also encouraged by the fact that T1 was giving him less and less time on the scene since the start of LCK 2019 Summer, giving more opportunities to Lee “Effort” Sang-ho. Mata only played two games at the 2019 World Championship, both resulting in a loss.
Mata shared that his retirement feels bitter, but he’s no longer confident in his plays in-game and feels like he’s losing fans’ interest, which led him to decide it’s time to end his competitive career.
As soon as the news went public, hundreds of fans thank him for his performances. A number of pro players called him a legend as they said their farewells as well.