Sword, Tarzan slam former coach cvMax in ongoing Griffin controversy - Dexerto
League of Legends

Sword, Tarzan slam former coach cvMax in ongoing Griffin controversy

Published: 21/Nov/2019 0:18 Updated: 21/Nov/2019 0:52

by Andrew Amos

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Former Griffin coach Kim ‘cvMax’ Dae-ho has been put in the hot seat following his indefinite suspension from League of Legends, with Griffin players Choi ‘Sword’ Sung-won and Lee ‘Tarzan’ Seung-yong speaking out against the coach’s violent conduct.

Riot Korea dropped a bombshell on November 20, deciding to indefinitely suspend Griffin coach cvMax, former team director Cho Kyu-nam, and fine Griffin almost $100,000 USD over numerous allegations.

Toxic team culture, violence towards players and management, and contract exploitation have all been investigated by Riot Korea, and even looked at by members of the South Korean government.

All these allegations broke during Griffin’s Worlds 2019 run, where the Korean hopefuls finished in 5-8th after losing to China’s Invictus Gaming in the quarterfinals. Now back home and with a chance to refocus, some players have stepped forward to clear the air about the accusations.

Colin Young Wolff for Riot GamesGriffin finished 5-8th at Worlds 2019.

In an interview with Korean news outlet InvenGlobal, Sword, Tarzan, Shin ‘Rather’ Hyeong-seop, and coach Byun ‘Chaos’ Young-sub came forward to speak about their experiences with Griffin under cvMax.

They gave a damning review of the under-fire coach, saying he was physically and verbally violent towards players during his two years with Griffin.

“On February 9, during feedback, he held me by the collar and shook me aggressively,” said Sword, recounting one of his experiences.

“After that, he called me to his room and said, “I’m not sorry to you at all. You earned all this. Do you know what you did wrong?”

The threats didn’t stop there. Instead, they got even more extreme, and according to Sword, cvMax was out for blood.

“He said that if we lose because of me, he’ll follow me to the end of the world to get revenge or that he’ll kill me,” the Griffin top laner said. “He also heavily cursed in a phone call, which I have a recording of.”

Michal Konkol for Riot GamesSword said that he was abused by cvMax numerous times in an interview with InvenGlobal.

Tarzan, Sword’s teammate, wasn’t on the receiving end of cvMax’s tirades, but saw the impact it was having on his teammates on and off the Rift.

“I wasn’t the victim of physical [or] verbal abuse,” said Tarzan,” but I witnessed him doing so to other players. While we were preparing for the Summer finals, cvMax once said to a player “a**hole, you really f*cking suck,” and that was strongly engraved in my head.”

Trying to speak out against cvMax was almost impossible for the players. There would either be repercussions from management, or their parents would get involved — which none of them wanted.

“It was really difficult to tell [anyone] that the feedback was oppressive,” said Sword. “If I told my parents, I was worried that they would tell me to stop being a pro gamer, and to convince cvMax directly to stop giving feedback in such a manner was something that I didn’t have the confidence to do so.”

Colin Young Wolff for Riot GamesTarzan supported his team mates after cvMax allegedly abused them.

As most of Griffin’s players are young and new to the competitive scene, cvMax was their first experience of what a head coach was like. This left an impression on the players, who wondered if every team in the LCK was like this.

“Since cvMax was the first Head Coach of my career, I thought that it was like this everywhere,” said Rather. “There were times that I thought he went too far, but I believed what he said — that it was all just an act for the greater good. So I just endured it, and tried to not to accept it on an emotional level.”

While cvMax was in the firing line with Inven, other news outlets in Korea took a closer look at the team themselves. Griffin’s contracts have been scrutinized since it was revealed that jungler Seo ‘Kanavi’ Jin-hyeok was exploited after being traded with Chinese team JD Gaming.

Naver broke down some of the clauses in each player’s contract after obtaining a copy. According to the contract, players would be instantly fired if they missed more than 30 days sick, and not be allowed to join another team for a year.

Twitter: Team Griffin LoLKanavi joined JD Gaming in May, but there were concerns surrounding his contract.

Griffin also added clauses saying they could kick players for poor performance without warning, and that if players did not communicate with the team about absences, that they would be fined over $40,000 USD. 

They also claimed rights over each player’s intellectual property and trademark, which could be as simple as their in-game names, and forced players to pay Griffin out to get the rights back.

However, the investigation that has come out of Riot Korea has been heavily scrutinized by members of the Korean esports community, including former members of Griffin. 

Ha Tae-kyung, who originally brought the Griffin saga to South Korean parliament, told Naver that Riot’s report was “abhorring,” coming out in defense of cvMax.

“This is clearly revenge toward the whistleblower,” he said, according to a translation by Reddit user ‘classs3’. “Riot can be punished for this under the Whistleblower Protection Bill and can receive up to three years of jail time.

If it wasn’t for cvMax’s courageous act, Kanavi’s slave contract would have gone unnoticed. cvMax is someone who should be protected and praised, not punished.”

Twitch: LCKcvMax (right) has been suspended indefinitely from all Riot-sanctioned competitions.

A petition for the South Korean government to take action against Riot Korea has amassed over 70,000 signatures in under 24 hours

cvMax was expected to join DragonX for the 2020 season, but the team will be forced to look elsewhere for coaching options after his suspension. Griffin are yet to confirm if any of their players will be returning for LCK 2020.

Esports

Bjergsen retires from League of Legends to become TSM Head Coach

Published: 24/Oct/2020 17:29 Updated: 24/Oct/2020 17:57

by Daniel Cleary

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LCS veteran Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg has announced his retirement from professional League of Legends, surprising fans with a transition to TSM’s Head Coach.

After winning multiple LCS titles and cementing himself as one of the greatest players to have competed in the LCS, Danish star Bjergsen revealed that he would be retiring from League of Legends on October 24.

Despite carrying TSM to another LCS win in the summer split and securing a spot at Worlds 2020, after their 0-6 record in the international event’s group stage, he released a vlog to give fans an update on his future.

bjergsen on LCS stage
Riot Games
Bjergsen has competed under multiple iterations of TSM.

In the TSM announcement video, Bjergsen confirmed that he would not be competing in the 2021 spring split and would be coaching the TSM roster instead.

“After playing professional League of Legends for about eight years and playing for TSM for close to six, I’m here to talk about the fact that I’m retiring as a professional player and stepping into the head coach role for TSM,” Bjergsen added.

The mid-laner explained that the decision was not made because of their Worlds showing and revealed that it was one he had thought about for quite a while.

“It probably comes a shock to a lot of you guys and I don’t want it to seem like it’s a sudden reaction to our poor Worlds run, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” he revealed, “I really wanted to have a good season before becoming a coach.”

As TSM’s general manager Parth Naidu had been filling in as head coach in 2020, the move makes a lot of sense from an organizational standpoint but will likely disappoint many fans of the star player.

Bjergsen has also been a part-owner of TSM, since re-signing with them in October 2019, meaning that he will likely be staying with the North American organization for the foreseeable future.

As of now, the future of TSM’s starting roster is still unclear, but it is likely that more roster moves will be revealed during League’s 2021 preseason.