EG Impact on turning down SKT to stay in NA: “It would have felt weird to go back”

Tina Jo/Riot Games via ESPAT

In the latest episode of Dexerto’s Esports Stories, veteran top laner Jeon ‘Impact’ Eonyoung discussed his League history, and why he declined an offer to play for SKT T1 in 2017 in order to stay in North America.

Impact is one of North America’s longest-standing import players. He’s been a beloved mainstay of the region ever since he made the move from LCK to LCS in 2015, and has won multiple domestic titles in both Korea and NA.

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He began his professional career as the top laner for SKT Telecom T1, winning the 2013 World Championship in his first year with the team. But after almost two years with the team, he felt it was time for a change.

Riot Games
Impact and his teammates on SKT T1 won the 2013 World Championship in a clean 3-0 vs Starhorn Royal Club.

He came to NA to join the NA LCS’s Team Impulse (yes, really), and quickly became one of the region’s most accomplished and beloved top laners. Team Impulse, a team that LCS caster David ‘Phreak’ Turley describes as “one of the first superteams”, did not live up to the prestige of their roster, failing to win a domestic title throughout 2015.

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After his brief stint with TIP, Impact joined Cloud9. It was there he would stay for the next two years, winning two regional gauntlets and representing North America at two World Championships. However, that domestic title still eluded him.

The SKT T1 offer

In 2017, Impact received the chance of a lifetime – an offer to return to SKT after his three-year absence.

The community had often questioned why he chose to stay in NA, hypothesizing that he was staying in the region for the money. However, he clarified to Dexerto that the money was never a consideration. He wanted to win, and he wasn’t going to leave until he did.

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“I thought I needed success in NA. I was with Cloud9 for two years, and we lost in the finals two times. I thought I wanted to join another team, because playing games here wasn’t bad.”

It was that need for success that saw him turn down SKT’s offer in favor of accepting a starting spot with LCS organization Team Liquid. He considered the SKT offer, but ultimately, he couldn’t leave NA without a trophy under his belt.

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“I felt like not winning NA LCS and then going there would have been weird.”

And as it turns out, he made the right call. He went on to win four domestic titles with Team Liquid, and make it to North America’s first international final in two years at MSI 2018. Now, he’s hoping to run it back for yet another LCS victory with Evil Geniuses, who will play Cloud9 on April 17 for their chance at a spot in the 2022 LCS Spring final.

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