5kid was pushed out of the LCK ecosystem and quickly found success with Team Aze. Now, MSI 2022 is a chance to impress those he left behind.
After being pushed out of the Korean League of Legends ecosystem, Park ‘5kid’ Jeong-hyeon has found his feet again in the LLA with Team Aze. Now back on home soil at MSI 2022, he’s making his pitch to the world to get back onto the prized LCK stage.
His story in this regard isn’t unique. In fact, over the 2022 offseason alone, you can find numerous examples of LCK talent being shipped overseas — even on his own team he has former LCK prospect Han ‘Lonely’ Gyu-joon.
Two of 5kid’s former teammates, Lee ‘Harp’ Ji-yoong and Lee ‘Juhan’ Ju-han, are at MSI 2022 but not for the Korean representative. High-profile moves like Park ‘Summit’ Woo-tae and ‘Berserker’ were the talk of the town. Rogue’s Kim ‘Malrang’ Geun-seong found plenty of success again in the LEC too.
Looking at every region outside of the LCK, there’s Korean talent everywhere. In the 12 Worlds-qualifying leagues, there are 80 players who had previously played in the LCK ecosystem but were now competing abroad as of Spring 2022. Some are former (or current) World champions, others are teenagers looking for a kickstart. There’s more if you look beyond the Tier 1 leagues and into European Regional Leagues and other development systems.
At the end of the day, there’s only 50 starting spots in the LCK. Quality talent has to go somewhere, Chronicler says, and finding success overseas is a must unless you’re in that top 0.1%.
“I’m actually really happy to see LCK and CL players go to other regions and do well. It’s a much better representation of how good the player actually is; it’s just not ‘top 15 Korea good’ which is honestly pretty reasonable,” he laughed.
“Players are still able to have meaningful careers and expand their horizons. It’s a wonderful benefit for them to get in touch with other cultures, to meet new people. Look at Malrang and how he flourished on Rogue — people love him. I assume his English is steadily improving.
“Gaming is such an inherently risky career that I’m happy to see players doing well. And even if that’s doing well in a worse region, who cares? For a competitor, it might matter, but winning LLA is still amazing [for 5kid and Lonely], and I’m happy to see players like that succeed.”
However, what that means for an LCK berth is a bit trickier unless you are returning from the LPL.
“The LCK doesn’t give a flying f**k about results outside of the LCK and LPL.The pipeline to me is generally you’ll go straight to LCK from Academy or Challengers, or you get picked up the lower leagues and into the LPL.
“The barrier of entry for LCK is ridiculous. It’s the reality.”
5kid did rue the fact that, so far, at MSI 2022 he hasn’t been able to use the opportunity presented to him properly. His first three games in Group A he’s barely been able to leave the base, let alone have a fighting chance in lane. The gulf in opposition is just immense.
“It means a lot to me [to be at MSI]. We got a really huge opportunity, but we weren’t able to use it properly. It was a huge chance for us because this region has never made it to the Rumble Stage, so I wanted to do it for them,” he said.
However, it’s not the end of the road for him and Aze yet. 5kid still has a chance to impress those back home, as well as garner some pride for Latin America in the process. Even just one win in this tough group would mean a lot.
“As long as I can focus up and stay sharp, it’s going to be doable [getting back to the LCK]. I think it’s likely I’ll be able to give a great impression, but I have to give it my all on Sunday.
“The chances are extremely low [of us getting out of Groups] because T1 is in our group, but even if we can’t make it out of Groups I want to show them everything we’ve got.”Team Aze's 5kid is fighting for an LCK spot at MSI 2022 after LLA move View Story