(Photo Courtesy of @Wackman3209)
“Keane has such an infectious passion for improvement and mastery. I hope his eSports career continues to grow from here.” – Steve ‘Liquid’ Arhancet
“Keane is one of the most motivated and passionate players I have been able to work with.” – William Hoag, Manager of Curse Academy
Lae-Young “Keane” Jang (Left) and his brother (Right) in 1997/2003
Never before has League of Legends seen a player as inspired as Lae-Young Jang. Born in Seoul, South Korea, on August 3rd of 1993, Jang had an apparent passion for the sport of soccer. He would frequently tune into matches from the Barclay’s Premier League, watching some the best teams in the world compete for money, fame, and the all-important bragging rights of being number one. At some point during this early period in Jang’s life, the young boy found himself watching a Manchester United match. During those 90 minutes, a tackle by one of Manchester’s Midfielders earned his attention. The player’s name: Roy Keane.
Jang adopted the soccer player’s surname, using it when he began to play League of Legends in early 2012. Keane showed aptitude in the Top Lane, quickly climbing the Ranked Ladder during Season Two and eventually reaching the coveted Challenger Tier. The Korean teenager’s immense talent caught the eye of CJ Frost’s Woong in early 2013, prompting an invite to join the newly-formed MiG Wicked. Due to a roster of relative unknowns, Keane and his team were not able to qualify for Korea’s HOT6iX Champions Summer.
Becoming a Professional:
Guided by Woong, Keane made the transition to the Mid Lane in Season Three. The soft-spoken player took the position by the reigns, never looking back. This was a highly developmental stage in Keane’s League of Legends career, and there have been little to no records of his first team’s success. However, what we do know is that Keane highly valued receiving a good education. Along with his parents, he left his home country of Korea for New Zealand in November 2013, on a mission to study abroad at the University of Auckland. However, schoolwork wouldn’t be able to keep Keane off of the Rift forever.
In February of 2014, Keane joined Australia’s “Little Wraith”. His stint under the team name was short- lived, as Little Wraith was acquired by the North American Curse organization just two months after his arrival. Having built up a reputation for playing League at a public library near his college campus, Keane and the rest of the newly-rebranded Curse OCE battled their way all the way to the semifinals of the 2014 Oceanic Regional Winter Tournament.
The Journey to NA:
It was during this time that his play drew the overseas attention of Team Curse’s Steve “Liquid” Arhancet. Liquid had been renowned for his ability to scout talented players for his team, and Keane was a prime pickup for the reformed Curse Academy. The Korean native was flown out to Los Angeles in order to compete for the upcoming Challenger Series Playoffs, where his team had a chance to qualify for a spot in the coveted North American LCS.
In his first NA series against Team LoLPro, Keane was heavily hyped up by experts and critics alike. He was hailed as an incredibly skilled player, mainly due to the fact that he held top ranks in three separate regions. Keane’s first test at Curse Academy was against the mechanically gifted, homegrown North American talent LOD. In Game 1, Keane locked in his signature Orianna against LOD’s Yasuo.
Keane fell behind in CS early in the matchup, keeping LOD away from his tower for the first ten minutes of the game. Maintaining a completely passive farm-fest during the game’s opening minutes, Keane took everyone by surprise as he decisively killed his lane opponent with help from
Saintvicious’s Kha’Zix. Just minutes later, Keane struck again, taking down both LOD and HeavenTime after his Jungler had been caught. The game began to snowball in Curse Academy’s favor, with Keane’s excellent roaming securing a victory for his team.
Game 2 went in a similar manner for CA, as they jumped to a lead over Team LoLPro. Keane took a backseat role as Corki, while teammates Cris and Impactful showed up huge. When the dust finally settled, Curse Academy had secured a spot in the North American Promotion Tournament with a 2-0 victory.
Keane and his team would later be defeated by a red-hot Team 8 in the Challenger Series Finals, meaning that they’d have the second choice in who they would face in the LCS Relegations. Opting not to face a resurgent EG, Curse Academy announced that they would go head-to-head with Counter Logic Gaming for a spot in the North American LCS. CLG had been experiencing major internal problems, as a botched Korean boot camp had them swiftly eliminated from the Summer Playoffs. The team was in shambles, and it was heavily exploited by Curse Academy in the first two games of the series.
Keane picked his trademark Orianna in Game 1, utterly destroying CLG’s Link in a 20-6 blowout. The Korean had four less deaths than his lane opponent by the time the Nexus was smashed, and Counter Logic Gaming’s chances at staying in the LCS were looking slimmer by the minute. A stellar performance by ADC Joshua “Impactful” Mabrey solidified a victory for The Academy, as they took the game in just over 40 minutes. Game 2 was neck and neck until the 30 minute mark, where Keane landed a devastating 3-man Shockwave that completely foiled CLG’s hurried Baron effort. CA rode the momentum to another convincing win, looking more and more and more like an LCS-caliber team with each victory.
With Link on Orianna in Game 3, CLG jumped out to an early lead. Despite receiving an early kill, Keane’s Xerath couldn’t compete with the king of hyper-carries: Doublelift. CLG bounced back just in time, clinching a low-kill win and moving them one step away from the ever-present chasm of relegation. Counter Logic Gaming returned to form in Game 4, holding Curse Academy to a single kill in a game that lasted less than 30 minutes. Keane was heavily outclassed by Link’s Orianna, finishing with a measly 0-3-1 K/D on Ziggs.
Game 5 was do or die for both teams. In Champion Select, CLG opted for a high-damage comp that allowed for major snowballing on Doublelift’s Tristana. With Orianna banned away by CA and Link on Ziggs, all eyes were on Curse Academy’s Mid Laner as the game’s final pick rolled over to Bunny FuFuu. The clocked ticked down from 60 seconds, but it appeared that Keane had already made up his mind by taking Ghost/Ignite. With 49 seconds left to pick, Bunny hovered over Hecarim briefly, before locking it in. With the roar of the surprised crowd and the disbelief of the casters fueling them, Curse Academy loaded into the Rift to do battle in the series’s fifth game. CLG’s Dexter picked up First Blood on Impactful’s Lucian, setting CA slightly behind in the early game. 7 minutes in, Keane’s first roam towards the Top Lane secured a tower dive kill on Seraph, keeping the score even at one apiece. Saintvicious went down in his own Jungle to Dexter, but Keane’s quick movements around the map notched another kill under his belt. Though Curse Academy found another kill onto Link, a twelve minute teamfight went sour and gave CLG a definitive lead. CA finally collapsed at the 38- minute mark, with Keane’s 5-4 Hecarim being one of the only bright spots in the final game.
Though they had lost the series, it wasn’t quite over for Curse Academy. With the newly announced North American Expansion Tournament looming in the distance, CA would renovate their starting roster. They would drop Cris and Impactful, filling the void with Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell of Team LoLPro, and David “Cop” Roberson of Team Curse. Curse Academy lived up to the initial hype that their new roster invoked, making short work of the newly-formed Complexity White in a 2-0 stomp.
Keane and his teammates would dominate Team Coast, the new home of their former Top Laner, Cris. With a 3-1 victory, Curse Academy smashed their way into the Finals of the Expansion Tournament. Keane would have to play against Team Fusion’s Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun, a fellow Korean who previously played for Bigfile Miracle. In the initial game, Fusion came out of the gates strong. They reached an early lead, but failed to capitalize on it as Curse Academy regained control. Keane went ballistic on Fusion, going 8-3 as Zed in a 46 minute bloodbath. HuHi would match his opponent’s aggression in Game 2, boasting an impressive 6-3 K/D 30 minutes into the match. Despite the strong early game, Curse Academy’s ultra-mobile composition would utterly pick Fusion apart. FSN’s first win of the series came due to great performances by HuHi and Nientonsoh, who both went 6-1 before a 35 minute surrender from CA.
Keane saw the opportunity to play Hecarim once again in Game 4, where he and his team would mow down Fusion in a 28-17 victory. On their second attempt at glory, Curse Academy had finally forced their way into the NALCS. With Curse retracting as the main sponsor for all three of their teams, CA would be rebranded to “Gravity” in early 2015.
With years of experience behind him, Lae-Young “Keane” Jang is now set to lead his team into the Season 5 North American League Championship Series.
Keane alongside Bo “SoulDra” Shim in Week 1 of the NALCS