Newly crowned League of Legends world champion Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-sang has revealed that after finally achieving his goal of winning the game’s ultimate prize with FunPlus Phoenix, he may call time on his now-illustrious career.
The South Korean star took the long road to the title, perhaps even longer than most. The 22-year-old has never been a flashy superstar in the same vein as players like Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok or Song ‘Rookie’ Eui-jin, but he’s brought his own brand to the game.
Doinb has toyed with the idea of retirement before. In 2015, he was one game away from winning the LPL with the QG Reapers, and was involved in such a high-profile fallout with jungler Baek ‘Swift’ Da-hoon that the team forfeit playoffs the next year.
Another strong campaign on Rogue Warriors was cut short by eventual world champions Invictus Gaming, and that was the first time Doinb really considered retiring. After so many attempts at the Chinese crown, he felt as if he was never going to break through.
Now he has a message to his former self, who he said would be a “very similar scenario” to himself right now because he’s considering calling time on his career: “If I had a chance to go back and talk to old Doinb, I would tell him not to give up. There’s always hope.”
“A lot of people have said that a mid laner with my playstyle doesn’t deserve to win the championship, but I’ve proven that I do deserve it. We’ve been waiting for 40 days to say this on stage, and now we can finally say it. We are the champions!”
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While Doinb and the whole team are in raptures after their shock landslide win over the hometown European representatives, FPX’s mid laner turned to thoughts of beyond after leaving the stage, and admitted in the post-match press conference that his ongoing battle with injuries, and the fact that he is now married to teenage sweetheart Li "Umi" Youzi.
“Before Worlds, I told (Umi) that I’d take her to Worlds, but didn’t say that I’d win the championship… I really want to thank her for being there for me,” he said. “Before this year, I was contemplating retirement, but she told me to believe in myself, and try it for the last time. I couldn’t have lifted this championship trophy without her.”
The South Korean star also admitted that Umi almost told him to forgo the World Championship because of his injury concerns, but finally decided to urge him on instead – a decision that led all the way to Doinb lifting the Summoner’s Cup.
“She was very worried at the beginning, given my condition. Physically I wasn’t feeling so well, so she was on the fence, but she felt like, if I was to retire, it would be a bit of a pity,” he revealed.
“I want to say sorry to her. Everyone knows this, even when the team is taking breaks I really don’t go home often, and even if I do, I’m playing ranked all the time. I’m so sorry to you Umi. I’ll be with you later. We’re married now, so we can live together.”
That’s not to say that Doinb’s retirement is official by any means. When asked if he had made up his mind yet, he simply pointed fans to his streaming account, and said that he would have to have a long conversation with Umi, and a long think with himself.
After a 40-day campaign in Paris, that took him from the battles against Splyce in the group stage, to 3-1 victories over Fnatic and Invictus Gaming, before a rapid-fire 3-0 smashing against G2, he said he just wants to rest, "be with my wife," and "interact with my stream."
And as for his world championship skin? Well, while the rest of FPX seem to have made up their minds – Lee Sin for Tian, Thresh for Crisp, Vayne or Kai’sa for LWX, and Gangplank for GimGoon – Doinb admitted he’d have to decide his skin with his chatroom fans.
For now, Doinb’s dreams have been realized. He’s a League of Legends world champion, and his team has become just the sixth organization to claim the crown. All that’s left is to see if this is the end of the road for the “Super Carry,” or if there’s more on the horizon.
The League of Legends signing window opens on November 18. The Chinese Pro League, complete with the Season 9 world champions in FunPlus Phoenix looking to defend their domestic title, is expected to return in January 2020.