League of Legends

Faker and Kkoma split for first time as coach leaves SKT

by Joe O'Brien
Riot Games

Share


SK Telecom T1 have officially confirmed the departure of coach Kim ‘Kkoma’ Jeong-gyun from the team ahead of the 2020 season.

The long-time SK Telecom coach has been with the organization throughout their storied run in League of Legends, the only other constant alongside mid-laner Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok.

With three world championships, a Mid-Season Invitational and eight domestic titles to his name, Kkoma is by far the most decorated coach in League of Legends, and over the years has often been credited as playing a key role in the success of SKT.

While SK Telecom’s coaching staff has included a variety of other coaches over the years, Kkoma has overseen Faker for the entirety of the superstar’s career, and 2020 will mark the first season in which the legendary mid-laner will compete without him on the team.

Kkoma’s departure comes after a bittersweet year for SK Telecom fans, which saw the team claim back-to-back LCK titles in Spring and Summer, but fall short internationally at both MSI and Worlds, eliminated in the semi-finals of both by G2 Esports.

Riot Games
Riot Games
Faker has played his entire career so far with Kkoma as a coach.

While such a year could be considered an unmitigated success for almost any other team in the world, for SKT – especially an SKT that had arguably built a roster stacked with more talent than ever before – anything short of yet another World Championship will undoubtedly have been something of a disappointment.

SK Telecom released a farewell video for Kkoma in which the coach gave some thoughts on his time with the organization.

Kkoma’s new destination has yet to be officially announced, but according to a report by ESPN, he is set to take up the head coaching role for Vici Gaming in China’s LPL. The same report states that Kkoma turned down a seven-figure, multi-year deal with SKT to do so.

Kkoma’s replacement on SK Telecom will be Kim Jeong-soo, often referred to as Coach Kim. Kim previously coached Invictus Gaming to their World Championship victory in 2018, before coaching DAMWON in 2019 and taking the LCK rookies to the Worlds playoffs.

SK Telecom have now also confirmed their starting line-up for 2020, following the departure of jungler Kim ‘Clid’ Tae-min and top-laner Kim ‘Khan’ Dong-ha, who will be replaced by Moon ‘Cuzz’ Woo-chan and Kim ‘Roach’ Kang-hui respectively.

SKT 2020 starting roster:

  • Kim ‘Roach’ Kang-hui
  • Moon ‘Cuzz’ Woo-chan
  • Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok
  • Park ‘Teddy’ Jin-seong
  • Lee ‘Effort’ Sang-ho