After HLE Esports knocked the Jin Air Greenwings out of the League of Legends LCK Spring 2020 Promotion Tournament, HLE head coach Kang “OnAir” Hyun-jong couldn’t help but get choked up at the departure of their fellow competitors.
The LCK Spring 2020 Promotion Tournament had the bottom two teams from the previous LCK split and the top two teams from previous Challengers split compete to see who would qualify for the Spring 2020 split.
On the way to qualifying, Hanwha Life Esports (AKA HLE) fell to APK Prince in the first round of the tournament, before beating out Team Dynamics before facing Jin Air in the Qualifying round of the Loser’s Bracket.
An emotional win for HLE
The Jin Air Greenwings are a fan favorite in the LCK despite them not finding much success in LCK and failing to ever win the tournament. The team has also only been to one international tournament - The IEM Season 9 World Championship in 2015 in Katowice, Poland.
This hasn't damped Greenwings fans spirits though, who love the team despite their relative lack of success - and based on the emotional response from HLE, their fellow competitors enjoy having JAG around as well.
— kenzi (@kenzi131) September 11, 2019
It was an emotional match and afterwords both teams had a hard time keeping it together - JAG obviously because they had been relegated and HLE for having to knock out their fellow LoL pros.
In the post game interview, HLE coach OnAir broke down after being asked how the day's match went overall.
"I cannot say I'm really happy that we won, it's really sad because we've been together for a long time and Jin Air was always doing their best, their players were doing their best," OnAir told the interviewer. "It's really sad, we're sorry we met in such a hard situation - so I just want to say that they did a great job to coach Han (H Dragon) and all the Jin Air players."
What's next for HLE and the Greenwings?
HLE qualified for the LCK Spring 2020 split with their win against Jin Air, along with APK Prince - who went undefeated in the tournament.
Meanwhile, the Greenwings will head down to the Challengers Korea (CK) tournament, which takes the 8 best League of Legends teams not playing in the LCK.
Even though the tournament didn't end the way Jin Air, or HLE, really wanted it to, the emotional match should give the Greenwings and their fans some fire to try and make it back into LCK.
We don't have an exact start date for the LCK 2020 Spring Split, but the 2019 split started on January 16, 2019, so a similar start date in 2020 wouldn't be surprising.