Worlds champion PawN explains League comeback: “I want to be on stage again”

PawN competing for EDGRiot Games

Legendary League of Legends player Heo ‘PawN’ Won-seok has announced his intention to return to the Summoner’s Rift as a coach, explaining his decision in an interview with Dexerto.

The former Korean mid laner, who won two LPL trophies and one LCK title during his six-year career from 2013 to 2019, was part of the Samsung White team that took home the Worlds trophy in 2014.

It’s a moment he cherishes to this day.

“I still feel the thrill of winning worlds 2014,” PawN told Dexerto. “I will always remember it because that was something that I had always dreamed about since I was young.”

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Samsung White celebrating their Worlds title in 2014Riot Games
PawN was part of the Samsung White team that captured the Worlds title in 2014

PawN’s career ended in 2019 following a third-place finish in the LCK Spring split with KING-ZONE Dragon X (now DRX).

“When the setting isn’t right, it becomes more difficult to perform as a world-class player, especially when you have an obsession to be at that level,” PawN explained. “I couldn’t be satisfied with my performance.”

PawN explains return

On November 19, PawN announced that he was coming out of retirement to pursue coaching opportunities.

“I missed professional esports so much,” PawN said of his reasons to come out of retirement, “and now I want to be on the stage again.”

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2021 has been the year of unretirement in League of Legends, with both LEC legend Tamás ‘Vizicsacsi‘ Kiss and LCS icon Yiliang ‘Doublelift‘ Peng both announcing their intentions to return as players.

PawN competing in the LCK in 2019Riot Games
PawN is eager to return to the Rift as a coach

However, getting back to the mid lane as a player is not what PawN has in mind.

“When I was thinking about what I could do best, I thought coaching was the most suitable position for me,” PawN explained. “Helping young players and teaching my mid laner what I know.”

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He also has a very clear goal for his return.

“Personally, I want to be a person who wins Worlds both as a player and coach,” PawN said.”I want to make the team’s mid laner a world-best mid laner, and use that as a stepping stone to win Worlds.”

In his quest, PawN will likely run into stiff opposition from a familiar face. Arguably, the world’s best mid laner is EDward Gaming’s Lee ‘Scout’ Ye-chan, who won MVP honors at Worlds 2021. Scout and PawN were teammates on EDG for the 2016 LPL Summer split, winning the LPL title and reaching the quarterfinals of Worlds.

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EDG's Scout with the Worlds MVP trophyRiot Games
EDG mid laner Scout took home the MVP award at Worlds 2021.

Aside from the two years he spent in China’s LPL, PawN’s playing days were spent in Korea. However, he is not opposed to leaving the peninsula for his coaching career.

“If there is a team that wants me, and we share a clear vision for next season, I think I can continue my career abroad,” PawN said.

Perhaps this could mean a reunion with EDG in the LPL, or PawN taking his talents to Europe or North America. Cloud9 have recently shown an interest in learning from the LCK, and have acquired two Korean rookies for 2022. However, neither is due to play in the mid lane.

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Whatever the future holds for PawN, fans will be excited to the see return of one of the best mid laners to grace the Rift.

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