One Call to Rule them all, and Bind them all to Order: The Reapered Show
To the list of greatest League of Legends players of all time Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu brings a strong case, backed by a unique combination of talents but an unusually low amount of accomplishments for the level of abilities he showed. Second hindering factor whenever we consider his body of work, is that we are essentially looking at a period of about a year and a half of him being a professional, again unusually low when we consider the company he keeps on the aforementioned list. While he was undoubtedly an elite level individual performer for the majority of his top lane career, the big reason why he isn’t all but forgotten in the history of great LoL players, even by the analysts and historians of the game, is that as a leader, strategist, innovator, tactician and shot caller, he remains largely unrivaled, even to this day.
￼Back in the early part of 2012, merely months after the Korean LoL server was launched, he emerged as a player with an utterly astonishing skill set. Reapered innovated strategies, builds and picks; kept in check strong personalities, made sure lesser players didn’t fall behind too much and ordered everyone around the map as peons; all the while he was delivering sublime carry performances to secure his team the win. That is who Reapered was and that is why to this day he is revered by everyone who’s seen him play — fans, players and analysts alike. And to those who have played against him, he remains one of the most terrifying opponents you could meet on Summoner’s Rift.
While nowadays we have players like ClearLove and Aphromoo filling somewhat similar role as leaders, shot callers and star players, we need to remember that he did it with less years of experience and, for all intents and purposes, right from the get-go. In 2012, ClearLove was a jungler who was famous for farming and appearing in team-fights to assist the best ADC we’ve seen to this day. Although he was known as a talented solo-queue player, and once in a blue moon delivered monstrous performances in competitive play as well, it would take him all the way until spring 2015 to become the impact player we applaud nowadays.
￼In similar vein, Aphromoo, in 2012, was known as highly skilled player whom everybody loved and he’d be the centerpiece of his teams; unfortunately he would hugely underperform during LAN and bracket games. Following up on ClearLove’s spring, in the summer of 2015, the North American finally managed to solve his personal conundrum of being a leader while shot calling and performing individually on a world class level in high pressure matches.
It is also important not to forget, while those players fill the same role to a great extent during games, they don’t take on the same duties as him out of game. In terms of innovation Reapered was surpassed only by MadLife revolutionizing the support role and Diamondprox’s jungling adventures. All the more so to this day, he remains one of the best drafters and strategists. Back in 2012 when coaches were not only rare, but largely a glorified babysitter and manager, drafting, strategizing and figuring out new patches was just some more weight he took on his shoulders.￼
To further accentuate for new viewers how unique a skill set like that is and the impact it has upon a team, even more so when we consider the timeline, let’s take a look at one of the most successful five-man lineups in NA LoL and the team he’s currently coach for: Cloud9. The classic C9 roster emerged in the summer of 2013, featuring strongly specialized players in terms of their roles. The shot caller and team captain would be Hai, LemonNation took care of drafting and preparation before game with coach Charlie, the role of primary carry would fall on Meteos and later on Balls or Sneaky. Reapered not only filled all four roles himself, but did so a year earlier.
"I don’t want to be just an average guy. I want to do whatever possible to win a lot of games. I’m a competitor.” — Felix Hernandez
Later, through the years in interviews, he’d reveal that it was always his philosophy to innovate and build upon the current meta game, but all of that was done only in the effort to make sure his team won. As an individual performer, he was just as fierce as he was in the pre-game preparation and shot calling. At a time when top laners were at best the rare case of secondary star, more often than not a distraction for the enemy team or an afterthought (ex. respectively Wickd, Darien, Dyrus), Reapered came up to the professional scene, adopting the new position and showed that it’s not only possible for a top laner to be the driving force behind a team, but it is supposed to look easy if done properly.
The level at which he carried would be rivalled only by fellow Korean top lane legends: MakNooN, Shy, Flame and later on Duke (in NaJin), Smeb and ssumday. Furthermore, while the likes of Save and MaRin would all but crumble, surrounded with lesser or underperforming teammates, that would be the time Reapered would deliver the most masterful of hard-carry performances.
0 to 100 real quick
At the time, having formed team ACE, Reapered was prepared to commit his own personal savings to running the team. But he fell victim to a scam and lost all the money he’d saved from his previous jobs. He no longer had the necessary funds to run a team.
. . .
As I witnessed his misfortune, I thought that even just for the sake of the game’s competitive development, Reapered must stay in League of Legends. So I invited a now homeless Reapered to our team house, gave him my spot, and began to commute.
— MiG coach Kang ”Onair” Hyun-jong on Reapered joining MiG for THIS IS GAME. Translation credit to Nilu Kulasinghamn in A Dynasty of Ice and Fire
￼Before joining Blaze, Reapered was known as a player within the Korean scene, for a while competing online under the tag ACE with Ambition, RapidStar, MighTiLy and Pecko for a while, but he was playing as a jungler at the time. After winning OGN’s Invitational, Frost’s Onair would recruit the impressive ADC Cpt Jack to build a second team around him. Second on the list of prospects would be Reapered, who moved to the top lane, as no one else on the roster felt confident taking on the role. The final lineup would consist of Cpt Jack, him, Helios in the jungle, Ambition as a mid laner and Lustboy supporting.
Being new to the position, however, didn’t seem to hold him back for long. By the time qualifiers and group stages for OGN Spring 2012 were played, he was already delivering dominant carry performances and all eyes were on him. He continued in the quarterfinals with another strong 2–0 sweep over CLG.NA led by HotShotGG, who was still considered one of the best top laners in the world. On the back of that and good team-fighting performances in a 3–1 semifinal win against Team OP, despite troublesome early games, Blaze’s captain was getting ready to claim the title of "best top laner in the world." Considering that Frost’s Woong was in the talks himself and MakNooN’s NaJin e-mFire had lost to the boys in blue, the finals was the perfect opportunity to secure it.
Going into the match versus Frost (Woong, CloudTemplar, RapidStar, Locodoco, MadLife), Reapered and his boys in red were the underdog. All three of Blaze’s carries were known as highly skilled players, but this was their first good tournament as a team; on the other hand, Frost had recently won OGN’s Invitational and been together for longer. The match, however, would show Blaze to be superior, as they swept their sister-team 3–0. Blaze’s captain presented two strong carry games and by the end of the tournament, he had achieved wins on seven different champions (Wukong, Olaf, Riven, Talon, Vladimir, Kennen, Jax).
￼Additionally, he had displayed that he didn’t need a strong laning phase to have an impact in the team fights, despite having the ability to deliver them seemingly on demand. What was even more fascinating, and probably the piece that put him over MakNooN in most people’s eyes, through a listen-in on Blaze’s communications, during the tournament, everyone found out that Reapered was the one calling the shots. On one hand, he was an excellent individual performer and primary carry threat, but on the other , he was also the mastermind behind one of the most intelligent teams at the time.
If MiG Blaze competes in a foreign tournament we’ll beat any team! Any team!
— Reapered boasting in an interview with OGN after the 2–0 sweep over CLG.NA
It didn’t take long for the opportunity of putting Reapered’s gasconade to the test to present itself. After a clean 3–0 group stage at Champions Summer 2013, including dominant wins over WE (already featuring WeiXiao, Misaya and CaoMei — 3/5 of the now legendary lineup) and MakNooNless NaJin Shield, they flew overseas to attend MLG summer arena. The tournament , closer to a LAN party considering it was held in MLG’s offices, featured four invited teams and a prize pool entirely dedicated to the winner.
Blaze, now under the Azubu banner, in interview with MOBAFire at the MLG.
In the first match of the round-robin stage, Reapered would show himself to be clearly superior to his counterpart Dyrus on an individual level, as well as once again displaying strategical prowess by having Blaze systematically eliminating TSM’s structures with little to no response from the Americans, despite managing to keep up in terms of kill score. Additionally, the 3–0 would also show him doing to Dyrus what would be eventually be named "Flame horizon" and utilizing "the sixth man tactic",
later on popularized by the classic lineups of WE (WeiXiao, CaoMei, ClearLove, Misaya, FZZF) and CJ Entus Blaze (Flame, Helios, Ambition, Cpt Jack, Lustboy). The next series would be against the up-and-coming team BLACK, who managed to go trough the European qualifier without dropping a game. The qualifier itself was held online but featured the prominent lineups of Curse.EU, Fnatic and aAa. While none of BLACK’s players went on to do anything significant (within the professional LoL scene) they had earned their spot and for the event they used two talented substitutes. In the jungle, they had the, then little known, Danish jungler Svenskeren and at ADC they featured a newcomer to the big-league, Rekkles. Regardless, this series would be another convincing 3–0, starring Reapered terrorizing the juveniles without need for any special tricks.
The last opponent in the round-robin stage was a Saintvicious led Curse. With the score ending at 2–1, the Koreans would drop the second game in a composition focused on allowing Helios to counter-jungle the opposition. It was a notable accomplishment on Curse’s resume, as they were the first western lineup to take a game off of them, but Blaze’s captain didn’t seem to think too much of the loss. Crushing American fans’ dreams once again, he’d write it off to his team trying out new stuff.
“We won the first game, which meant we already got into the finals,” said Reapered. “So going into the second and third games, it was more experimental for us because we are playing other matches right after we get back to Korea. We won’t have much time to practice so we thought the second and third games would be our experimental games for when we get back to Korea. Like scrims.”
— Reapered, explaining the map loss versus Curse, in an interview with MOBAFire.
The finals showed Blaze with another clean sweep over TSM in an even more convincing manner and just like that, Blaze had went 5–0 against NA’s best team, despite Korea getting their server more than two years later than the US. At that point of time, with top contenders CLG.NA and Dignitas losing in OGN’s tournament, effectively all the best teams from NA were shown up by Korean opposition only three months prior to the 2012 World Championship.
Back to work.
After their flight back home, Reapered and company dispatched of the spring season’s third place team (Xenix Storm) in a convincing 2–0 and were ready to make another appearance in the finals, as they were the clear favourites against their sister-team Frost in the semifinals. During the offseason, Frost dropped their ADC (Locodoco) and replaced him with Woong (previously a top-laner for the squad), in favour of solo-queue talent Shy taking over at the top lane. The combination of a new roster, a less impressive road to the semifinal and Blaze holding a 3–0 over their heads from the last meeting had the boys in blue as heavy underdog. Furthermore, facing the consensus best top laner in the world with a rookie would rock Frost’s boat too hard for them to handle it, is what most were predicting. To everyone’s amazement, not only did Frost hold their own and even take the series 3–2, with a blind pick in the fifth game, but moreover Blaze’s captain had terribly timed his drop on an individual level.
More problems for Reapered and company would follow in the third place match as their performance would again be found lacking in a clean 0–2 by MakNooN’s newly formed NaJin Sword. After two weeks of recuperation, both Reapered and Blaze would regain some of their form for the World Championship regional qualifiers, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. They ended up losing another series to MakNooN’s squad, this time 3–2 in a yet another blind pick fifth game and all in the space of a month they went from champions of Korea to watching the World Championship on the TV.
We wanted to have security among ourselves, so we can create new things and lead the meta.
— Reapered explaining why he didn’t want Blaze & Frost scrimming other amateur KR teams on an episode of “True LoL show” after retirement.
Eventually, Blaze and Reapered would part ways as the former captain was determined to continue gaining edges by further innovating, while the rest of the team had lost faith in his methods and would prefer sticking to a more conservative style of play and more democratic approach to shot calling. Throughout the rest of the year, Frost’s Shy would overtake him as the king in the top with numerous wins and hard-carry performances in multiple international tournaments. Seemingly to add insult to injury, he would sub-in as Blaze’s top laner at the MLG’s Fall Championship for a win over MakNooN’s NaJin Sword in the grand finals.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
While all that was happening, Reapered was back to the drawing board, plotting his return. The players that he picked alongside him were: H0R0 in the jungle — coming over from Xenics Storm, MighTiLy in the middle, Raven (named UandME at the time) was the ADC and StarLast as support, both plucked straight out of solo-queue. While H0R0 was one of the more experienced junglers and Raven was at the time an up-and-coming player, known as a rival to Piglet (back then just a solo-queue hero himself), none of the players’ individual level was comparable to Reapered’s or his old teammates’.
The team would form under the name of their captain’s choosing: "Eat Sleep Game" and shortly after would come their first test in the form of the Korean qualifiers for IEM’s Season VII Global Challenge at Cologne. They made it through on the back of individual performances by the now fully replenished Reapered, including two games of him stomping over dade, inSec and space’s infamous CJ Entus squad (LongPanda, inSec, dade, space, kkinsh). Following that, they’d get picked up as the first League of Legends team for the most prestigious organization in Korean esports: SK Telecom T1.
The main event at Cologne would feature only two elite level teams: the late-game powerhouse CLG.EU and the blazing hot Fnatic (sOAZ, Cyanide, xPeke, Rekkles, nRated) that had placed second at IPL5 the previous week, losing only to WE, while taking wins against Blaze, CLG.NA and going 4–0 against the reigning world champions — Taipei Assassins. The rest of the teams were CJ Entus and either future EU LCS members or lineups composed of solo-queue heroes and skilled, although unaccomplished, European players.
After going 2–1 in the round-robin group stage, losing a map to Fnatic, SKT would go on to sweep MYM , featuring three/fifths of the WCG 2011 runner-up team, and beat Fnatic 2–1 in the finals, all on the back of outdrafting the opposition and hard carry performances by Reapered. And when everyone thought he was finished astonishing us, to compliment the individual performances and interesting picks, came out the now famous translations of the in-game voice communication.
Reapered was taking the term "shot calling" to a whole new level and it was leaving western and eastern viewers alike dumbfounded. He was witnessed micromanaging his teammates to the point of ordering them around the map, not unlike chess pieces at the hands of a Grandmaster, and even dictating their buys. One of those situations would be Kog’Maw asking if he should farm more for a pickaxe, where Reapered answered, "just go home get a cloak“ not finishing "of agility" (critical chance item), assuming a professional player wouldn’t need the clarification. Alas, he was wrong, and his ADC purchased Negatron Cloak (magic resist item). Another equally hilarious situation, perhaps only to the viewers, would be Reapered telling Zyra to hold mid turret and use abilities if necessary; the support player would proceed to use all abilities, including exhaust and ultimate with drake spawning in 30 seconds. The question whether they lacked the decision-making abilities or simply weren’t allowed to utilize them was never answered and while some would blame it on SKT’s captain, most knew better.
“Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.” — Jean-Paul Sartre
￼When SKT won IEM Season VII’s Global Challenge at Cologne, Reapered finally had four players willing to ask "How high?“ when he ordered them to jump, but many wondered if he had sacrificed way too much in terms of teammates’ skill for that. While his own individual abilities and the way his thinking elevated his squad were more obvious than ever, another thing became just as clear to the observers — this wasn’t a combination of players which would be even a contender for OGN title. Reapered had made himself a champion and was the only one responsible for that feat. He celebrated with four teammates, but no one except him could lay a claim on the trophy that day. Still, the question remained: how long could a single man stand tall, above everybody else in a game meant for five? SKT and the organization’s followers alike were celebrating, but Reapered’s own fans were secretly hoping for drastic lineup changes in the near future.
Unfortunately his chef d’oeuvre would mark not only the apex, but also the direction in which his career would go. He had proven his approach to the game was more efficient than the style the rest of Blaze would embrace for years to come. Sadly, going forwards, the effectiveness of his teams would always be limited by his teammates’ individual capabilities, until the end of his career as a player.
Yes, Reapered is the best!
— SKT teammates reacting to Reapered successfully manoeuvring trough pick&ban. Translation credit to Wekke.
Reapered clearly forgot to clarify for the guys they should use their index fingers.
Revenge is a dish, best… if served..?
Back in Korea, SKT failed the two subsequent IEM qualifiers and exited StarsWar’s second season in last place, holding a winning record only against the recently rebuilt NaJin Shield. The disappointing performances would lead to replacing MighTiLy with solo-queue stand-out SuNo, followed by another round of disappointment at the qualifier for MLG’s Winter Championship.
Having won in Cologne, Reapered had already secured a spot at IEM’s World Championship. There we’d see him almost single-handedly deliver losses to Frost and a bunch of future or current EU LCS teams. In the semifinals, SKT would lose to former teammates and successor Flame, despite Reapered showing good play in both of those games as well. His teammates would prove inferior, even the lesser players from Blaze and many fans across the globe would already have answers to the questions born in Cologne. SKT would listen and attempt to follow their captain’s orders, but against Reapered’s former team, they looked like a flyweight fighter trying to armbar heavyweight - even with flawless technique, it would only take the other guy applying some raw strength to counteract all the efforts.
Reapered found out the hard way that to defeat teams in contention for the best in the world is required more than a good game plan and innovative ideas. His individual skills and shot calling talents were still very much at an elite level, but they were no longer enough to best five skilled players, headlined by not one but two elite players. While the tournament would mark a red-hot, spring run of form for former teammates and successor Flame, it was just a bright spot in the barrage of frustration and disappointment for their former leader.
One more? Just to be sure!
After their return to Seoul, SKT would qualify for OGN Spring 2013. A year had passed since Reapered's debut in OGN, but it didn’t seem to have affected him too much. In the groups, the top lane captain would once again show formidable performances, getting named MVP for four of the five games his team won. As chance would have it, in the quarterfinals, SKT was to face Blaze one more time.
The result would be the same as at IEM, but unlike the previous meeting, this time, Flame would show that they clearly surpassed their predecessor in terms of individual level. Akin to Batman battling Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, he faced opposition stronger than him and initiated in his ways of trickery, the result would be just as similar — Reapered and Batman alike were broken down. While perhaps not surprising, even for SKT, the beatdown by the hands of his successor would leave fans and Reapered alike tearful. His individual level might have been more than acceptable for any championship winning squad, but neither that, nor his strategical and tactical prowess, were enough to get SKT a championship anymore.
And although Reapered’s old teammates were the best team in the world at that point, ultimately they fell victim to strategical stagnancy and got ripped apart by MVP Ozone (Homme, DanDy, dade, imp, Mata) in the finals of the same season. Admittedly, the latter had a roster that in hindsight can be considered a true all-star lineup, but that day, Blaze were clearly outdone before the games began, something that would have never happened on Reapered’s watch.
Prior to the finals, Blaze was on their famous 13 game winning streak, using the strategy of surrendering early game team objectives so they could funnel gold in their solo-lane carries (primarily Flame) by freezing side lanes and presenting good wave-clear in mid. This would lead to incredible late-game carry performances by the two star players, combined with heavy utilization of the aforementioned "sixth man“ tactic to push all three lanes at the same time.
Before the finals, fans and analysts alike were all predicting Blaze to take the championship, but after the games had played out, it was just as unanimous of a decision — they had lost the series before they even began. Ozone used strong early game, assassins and split-pushers to accumulate early advantages and later on continuously dive Blaze when they tried freezing side lanes. Ultimately, while some of the games were closer than the stats suggest, Flame and company had no real answer for MVP’s early and mid-game aggression.
“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” — T. S. Eliot
Eventually, SKT would drop the roster and opposing to fans’ desires and speculations, Reapered would stay together with Raven and StarLast, instead of joining another team. They were accompanied by solo-queue pick-ups Miso (now known as FeniX) and Roar under the banner of Jin Air Falcons. The group draw for Champions Summer would pit them against the reigning champions MVP Ozone and two Xenics teams. Before losing 0–2 to MVP, their most notable feat throughout the group stage was taking a sweep over Xenics Storm, who fielded the then largely unknown CoCo, Arrow and Daydream led by "crazy Ragan" in the top lane. Off the back of that and another 2-0 versus Xenics Blast, Reapered managed to lead a team into the quarterfinals for a second straight season.
Publicly, in interviews, I would say that I always liked the position and wanted to play it. But the truth is the team itself had three at bottom, two at top, and nobody for mid or jungle, and nobody knew how to play it.
— Reapered on Jin Air and his position switching, during an appearance on an episode of “True LoL show“
Reapered, clearly not tall enough to handle Jin Air (Green Wings).
This time, though, he had done it on "hard mode"; Jin Air had recruited another top laner, previously CJ trainee, in the face of Miso and Roar as a second ADC. Citing as a reason that he wanted to give the new pick-up a chance to show his skills and develop, the captain would give up his top lane home to the rookie. Roar would be the mid laner, having just switched to the position from ADC and Raven with StarLast as the bot lane, all together in a rather unimpressive roster, led by Reapered jungling for the first time in about a year and a half.
In and of itself, the fact that he had managed to lead another batch of nonentity players to the round of eight, in two consecutive seasons, was impressive. Doing it from a new position, leading a roster of two ADCs, a rookie top laner and arguably no top-eight (for the tournament) player at any of the positions, was mind-boggling, borderline miracle work. An additional “feat” Falcons achieved was being the only playoff team that didn’t have a representative in the top-five KDAs for any of the positions. Even amateur team CTU had managed to get a player in there, despite getting stomped 3–0 at the hands of the reigning champions and group with spring runner-up Blaze and NaJin Sword headlined by Expession.
The context positively turns this into a herculean effort by an ingenious character, but it was in the end just a top-eight finish and while Reapered’s jungling looked promising at first, meetings with DanDy and Bengi would mark the switch as a failed attempt.
… and deeper we go.
With the Korean regional qualifiers for the World Championship marking the start of the early offseason, Reapered's fans would once again find themselves disappointed after another round of hopes for him joining other teams, returning to the top lane or even going to the western regions. In the end, not only had he stayed, but Jin Air had again recruited terribly, as this time, we’d see him starting at the mid position, in favour of the average, if somewhat promising, ActScene going in the jungle. The rest of the roster would be rounded up by the ever so unimpressive Miso, Raven and StarLast.
With them failing to qualify for any international events we'd until OGN’s Champions Winter 2014 to see them play. The group draws would once again see them face Xenics Storm, but this time, with a new roster featuring the four future star players Swift, CoCo, Arrow and Piccaboo. The other two teams would be Jin Air's sister-team Stealths and CJ Entus Frost headlined by MakNooN in the mid position.
Unsurprisingly in hindsight, Xenics Storm would top the group as their talents had already started to develop into the players we know today. Frost would scrape by for second place with a clean sweep over Stealths and splitting with the rest of the teams.
As a result of the switches, Reapered's champion pool had suffered and he would continuously take his picks blindly, culminating in two AD Tryndamere games (mid) versus Frost. For Jin Air’s captain, this would be the nadir of his career; he’d have poor performances one after another, constantly trying to put himself in a position to carry the games during drafts, but in the end, showing his individual level to be insufficient for the task.
In one last match, for seemingly nothing but to draw a single laugh from fate, he’d face his old rival MakNooN in the middle of the map. One versus one in a solo-lane, as they did more than a year and a half before. As their final performance in OGN’s arena drew near an end, there they were sitting, the warrior berserker and the puppeteer — grandmaster of gamesmanship. There they were, now shells of their former selves, about to split the match in equally unimpressive wins. There they were, the legends of a yesteryear playing it out one last time, on the most prestigious of arenas, sitting in the booths, with hopes they had done enough to be remembered and to inspire someone to try as hard as they did, for the dream of winning just like them.
Reapered having a laugh during post-game chat after his final game.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter whether lack of motivation had claimed him, as he insisted in an interview some time after retirement, or simply time had finally run him over. The result was obvious, Reapered’s bag of tricks had finally run empty, his once superb mechanics had waned in a position-switch after position-switch and his name would invoke nothing more but a tale meant to inspire future generations of top laners and leaders. Gone were the days where he dominated everyone with just his gaze and him stepping on the rift no longer meant dismay arising in the opposition’s gut.
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
— Matt Smith, in "Doctor Who."
More than anything else, Reapered’s career filled the heads of his fans with possibilities and questions. What if he never switched from jungle to top to begin with? What if Blaze got to 2012’s Worlds as they were favoured to or managed to find a compromise in terms of style? What if he had joined SKT #2 “judgement day”, or recruited better, or joined a better team after he left SKT. What if ..?
In the end, as neutral observers, it’s hard to claim we didn’t get the best case scenario, as we got to watch one of the best and most dominant shot callers ever, performing at an elite level, single-handedly hard carrying and showing us how much a single person can do in a game for five, even when "stuck in Elo hell.“ Had he found skilled teammates, perhaps even in the face of a western team like Alliance, he could have been a Tony Stark amongst his peers — showing off his new shiny tactics and strategies, leading his own squad of skilled players to the win. But instead we got to relish observing a Daredevil — jumping around positions, aptly adapting to and overcoming the meta-game and not always winning, but fighting the good fight for smarter League of Legends.
A￼nd although parting ways with Blaze would leave him and them alike in bad positions, he did manage to prove his style worked. Blaze, in turn, would eventually rise up and even be the best team in the world at some points, but in the long run, fail to become the champions of Korea again, if only to show force alone can’t do it without guidance.
On the flip side, finding himself in just as ludicrous of a situation, Reapered would spend the days emptying his bag of tricks for the purpose of elevating a bunch of third-rate players, to a level arguably none of them had business being at. On paper, small international tournaments, top-four at IEM’s World Championship and two top-eight finishes in OGN’s Champions tournaments (in addition to the accomplishments under Blaze) might not seem like much to new viewers, and for anyone else it would certainly be insufficient to be considered an all-time great. In his case, however, with the details painted around the results, they start to look much more as the final, yet ingenious, brushstrokes in the exquisite piece of art that is Reapered’s playing career. And even then it is hard to claim his was the "better way to play,“ considering he never had any skilled teammates to work with and, just like Blaze, he never became a champion of Korea again.
As one of the founding fathers of the Korean LoL scene, his influence as a player can still be seen today, most notably in the face of the Tigers’ top lane superstar Smeb carrying and shot calling at the same time. Not only was he the first in the long line of revered Korean top lane carries, but his ideas from 2012 of how teams should work and improve are the basis of the model squads rely upon to this day. This is who Reapered was and continues to be, now as a coach — master of orders, man with answers for questions not yet asked and a true competitor, simply looking for a win.
Ultimately, you may dislike the way Reapered did it, yet you can’t help but admire the power of the mind, will and skill involved, can’t help but marvel at and recognize the level of control over the battlefield he applied, and can’t help but wonder what questions had he asked himself to come up with the answers he offered to the opposition.
I hope you enjoyed the article! If you did and would like to keep track of future content by me, consider following me on twitter at @followradon .
Special shotout to the editor, @JBinkk for putting up with me through several edits and releases!
Photo credits: OGN, XportsNews, Naver, Dailyesports, MOBAFire, Azubu, ESL, THIS IS GAME, , GameMeca, inven.