G2 Esports signs Emperor, Trick, add YoungBuck as coach
Today the team announced the signing of AD carry Kim “Emperor” Jin-hyun and jungler Kim “Trick” Gang-yun. The two will compete in the League Championship Series (LCS) next year with G2 pending Riot’s approval, fleshing out a lineup that features rising Croatian star Luka “PerkZ” Perković in the mid lane, Dutch support Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal, and LCS veteran Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek.
Szkudlarek, who competed as a jungler for Unicorns of Love in the LCS during the Spring of 2015, will move to the top lane to make room for Trick.
“I am really excited about our roster for LCS,” Jakub “Lothar” Szygulski, Chief Gaming Officer for the team, said in the announcement. “We had quite a few changes and we are going for an experimental lineup that can be a big surprise for our opponents... Good players, perfect coach and fierce motivation, that is something you will see the next season.”
In some ways bringing in Trick is a bit of a gamble. The 20-year-old started his career last year as a substitute for CJ Entus, riding the bench behind veteran Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong. Trick only started 6 games last season, making him a relative unknown, but we saw that kind of move work in Europe with Fnatic last year. G2 Esports is confident Trick will prove a talented addition in a starting role.
Western fans are likely much more familiar with the 22-year-old Emperor. Also a former member of a CJ Entus team, Emperor left CJ Entus Blaze after 2014 to head across the Pacific, competing in Brazil as a member of Keyd Stars after a year where he established himself as one of the most mechanically talented players in the world. After one split in Brazil, Emperor moved to LCS side Team Dragon Knights, but visa issues kept him from competing for half the season. By the time he entered the lineup, TDK’s fate was essentially sealed and the team finished the split in relegation. Now, he moves to an LCS side across a different ocean, and this time he’s featured on a roster that should stack up better against the local competition within his league.
Heading up the operation will be Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool, who takes over as head coach. Steltenpool ended a lengthy tenure as top laner for Copenhagen Wolves as the team collapsed to relegation last year and will now continue his career behind the bench, bringing a mix of veteran knowledge and leadership to a team playing its first split in the European LCS.
The new lineup will get its first taste of action on Jan. 14 when G2 Esports kicks off its LCS run against Elements, followed up by a match the following day against ROCCAT. Assuming the team can integrate its two new Korean players into the lineup, G2 certainly has the firepower to make an impact in Europe with talented carries in each role.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr