The aftermath of an event like the League Championship Series expansion tournament, where teams made their professional gaming careers by qualifying for League of Legends’ top league, or saw those crumble before their eyes, is never kind.
Team Fusion, the team that was a single game away from qualifying for the LCS before losing three straight to Team Coast in the final match of the tournament, is now suffering the consequences. Two players from the lineup that took them so frustratingly close to the LCS have now left the team.
Yoon “MakNooN” Ha-woon, the Korean superstar top laner around which the team was built, is returning to Korea to reassess his League of Legends career. Support player Nicolas “Gleeb” Haddad is also leaving the team.
At one point, there was no bigger League of Legends superstar than Yoon. But the promotion tournament showed why he’s been out of the Korean professional scene since 2013, as the top laner put up an incredibly inconsistent performance. Yoon underperformed in games against LCS contenders, putting up a terrible performance in the final all-important series against Coast. Now he is returning to Korea to catch up with his girlfriend and is contemplating whether switching positions could save his career.
The circumstances around Haddad’s departure are quite different. He leaves to take care of his health, a mutual decision between both parties. After a diagnosis of Type 1 Bipolar disorder in July, Haddad struggled to balance his health issues with his playing career. It became a problem he struggled with publicly during his time with Fusion, the team using a substitute for the early portion of the expansion event.
“Treatment for mental illness is lifelong and something I must deal with but it is in no way an excuse or crutch for a poor performance,” Haddad said.
He plans to continue his League career, this time with a different squad in the challenger.
As for Team Fusion, they’ll be holding tryouts to replace the departing players. When the team was first formed, a squad built around the star power of Yoon, it would be hard to conceive of a Fusion without him. But after the expansion tournament, it looks like losing two of the higher profile members may be best for the team.
Still, it’s a precipitous fall for a team that needed to win just one of three matches to reach the League Championship Series. If Fusion had managed to make one more play, one less mistake, hit one more skillshot, the lineup might still be intact, hungrily training for the upcoming season.
Image via ESL