It feels like only yesterday that Counter Logic Gaming’s beloved (yet criticized) midlaner Jae-Hyun “Huhi” Choi put on some stellar (draconic?) performances on Aurelion Sol, one of the many driving forces behind CLG’s ascension through the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational that found them second only to future returning World Champions SK Telecom T1.
It was that same Aurelion Sol, those same unexpectedly innovative level 1 plays, that same must-ban champion, that also led CLG to break Group A at the Season 6 World Championship wide open later in the year, with a surprise victory over eventual finalists ROX Tigers. However, it was Huhi’s proficiency on this champion alone that led him to be unable to replicate similar successes; whether it was when the champion was disabled due to a bug mid-series against TSM, or whenever teams would throw a respect ban his way (more often than not), Huhi looked out-of-sorts and uncomfortable on more conventional meta picks. This was only one of multiple contributing factors to CLG faltering in actually exiting their group, and allowing wildcard representative Albus Nox Luna a chance at the crown (or to be 3-0d by H2K).
That, however, isn’t to say he looked terrible – far from it, in fact – and it was his performances towards the middle of CLG’s tumultuous 2017 season that actually kept the team and their Worlds aspirations afloat. This, however, apparently wasn’t enough – Counter Logic Gaming have yet to make another Worlds appearance since that aforementioned 2016 run. It also wasn’t enough for some fans, especially considering Huhi was occupying a very coveted import slot at the time (teams in the NALCS can only have two non-resident players in their starting line-up).
It was initially Xmithie’s 2017 departure that signified the winds of change were coming to everyone’s favourite roster, and whatever honeymoon period Dardoch brought was quickly dispelled as he was forced to step down in favour of untested Academy player Omargod. Aphromoo’s subsequent departure following CLG’s failure to qualify for Worlds also had its lasting effects on the roster, a wound even the addition of superstar support Biofrost couldn’t mend. Veteran jungler Reignover also joined the line-up, and CLG looked set to take themselves to new heights come 2018 – until they didn’t.
Missing playoffs in Spring. Surging performances at the start of Summer – missing playoffs by the end of it. Inconsistencies plagued individuals across the board, and most “fans” were calling for further changes. Coach of over three years Zikz (now with rival team TSM) left, but it wasn’t enough – CLG were looking at major changes heading into 2019.
It seems like the first to go is Huhi, but it’s not all doom and gloom for fans of everyone’s favourite Aurelion Sol player. A top 3 mid in the entire league on a good day, and certainly able to easily contest the position of number one resident NA midlaner regardless, Huhi finds himself surrounded by superstar players now, something his relatively unique supportive playstyle facilitates. CLG fans pointed to him in their losses mostly because his playstyle is only as good as the team’s consistencies, and now with him having reunited with his best friend Aphromoo, as well as having veteran midlaner Ryu as a positional coach, Huhi looks set for success in the 100Thieves camp.
Pending official announcement, Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage’s carry playstyle is pretty different to Huhi’s but unique in its own right – only time will tell if the German Worlds Quarterfinalist can find success in a roster Huhi was unable to. Then again, we could see more changes – I will always have a soft spot for every CLG player, current or former, and whilst the future seems scary now I can only hope it gets better for all of us here in camp Counter Logic Gaming.
At least Huhi will be happy, right?
Images Via: LoL Esports Flickr and Imgur