On December 14, Mata took his personal Facebook to announce his retirement as a player. Mata thanked the fans for their constant support through his seven years as a player, as well as the organizations that he joined along the way, including RNG. Other players reacted to the announcement wishing him the best of luck and thanking him for being a good teammate.
RNG then surprised fans by announcing Mata as their new head coach ahead of the 2020 LPL. After winning the World Championship in 2014 with Samsung White, Mata transferred to the LPL where he joined Vici Gaming. In 2015, Mata transferred to RNG and played with the team for one year before returning to the LCK.
Since his return to the LCK in 2016, Mata achieved three domestic titles, one with KT Rolster and two with T1. He was part of the LCK representative at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational and attended the World Championship as a sub.
As a sub with T1, Mata helped the development of rising support Lee “Effort” Sang-ho, who recently extended his contract with the team through 2021. Mata is an experienced player and leader, and is familiar with the LPL and particularly with RNG.
RNG is going for a new look in 2020, as the organization signed former Flash Wolves bot laner Lu “Betty” Yu-Hung and rookie junger Li “Xiaolongbao” Xiao-Long. The team also promoted jungler Wang “S1xu” Kang-Can and mid laner Zhang “yuekai” Yue-Kai from Royal Club, RNG’s academy division. Bot lane duo Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming, as well as mid laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, have extended their contracts with the team.
Mata will start his career as a coach with a largely new roster. The new coach will have the opportunity to experiment with different rosters combinations in the spring. RNG is known for subbing out players from time to time, most of the time not due to poor performance but instead as a measure to prevent burnout. Uzi has been struggling with injuries for the past few years, so the team only uses him when necessary, and this is where new addition Betty comes in.
Betty is moving to the LPL after it transpired that Flash Wolves had disbanded. He has been dominant domestically in Southeast Asia and was part of the core Flash Wolves roster that put the LMS on the map.
Mata has his work cut out for him. With two consecutive World Championship titles, the LPL is now the world’s strongest and most competitive league. The league currently has 16 teams with one more joining ahead of 2020. Next year, the World Championship will take place in China and RNG, as one of the most popular teams in the region, cannot miss it.