100 Thieves will be a force to be reckoned with when the next split starts after bolstering its team with two-time world champion Bae “Bang” Jun-sik. The 22-year-old ADC has a wealth of experience under his belt and he played a starring role for SK Telekom T1 as it seized back-to-back world titles. His arrival follows hot on the heels of mid laner Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun, who joined from CLG in another exciting transfer. It leaves 100 Thieves with a stacked line-up as it bids to build on an impressive debut season and conquer the world.
Please welcome Bang @JunSikJjang123 to 100 Thieves.
— 100 Thieves (@100Thieves) 22 November 2018
The good news keeps on rolling in for the North American team, which was set up by former Call of Duty pro Matt “Nadeshot” Haag in 2015. Last year it secured a $13 million investment from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. That allowed them to muscle their way into LoL as a new NA LCS franchise team at the start of 2018, and they exceeded expectations. They finished second in the league in the first split of the year and went all the way to the Finals in Miami before losing to Team Liquid. 100T then finished fourth in the second split of the NA LCS series, although they struggled in the Worlds.
Yet overall it was a strong first season and the team’s profile gained a huge boost last month when it was announced that rapper Drake and entertainment mogul Scooter Braun had invested to become co-owners. They were partly attracted by 100 Thieves’ thriving apparel business and its gaming content division, but first and foremost the team has to be about gaming itself. 100T competes in Fortnite, Call of Duty and Clash Royale, but its flagship team is the LoL franchise and now it has a truly formidable team to take it forward.
Mid laner Yoo “Ryu” Snag-wook is moving up to the role of assistant coach and that freed up one international roster spot. The NA LCS only allows two imports per team, so each franchise needs to find three North American players. Bang and Huhi will link up with top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho, leaving it with three players of South Korean descent. However, Huhi gained a Green Card earlier this year, becoming a permanent resident of the USA, so he no longer counts as an import.
There will be no room for bot laner Cody Sun, who has been linked with OpTic Gaming after being shown the door. Samuel “Rikara” Oh is also on the way out, leaving behind Andy “AnDa” Hoang, a Canadian jungler, and support Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black. A duo of Aphromoo and Bang looks particularly fearsome and it will be intriguing to see how they perform together.
“It is a great honour to join 100 Thieves and I’m already very excited to meet fans within NA very soon,” said Bang. “Having the chance to talk with 100 Thieves and its teammates several times, I saw the team’s fire in winning and their eagerness to succeed, which I thought would be a great fit for me and led to the great honour of joining 100 Thieves in the end.”
The bot laner began his career in 2013 and he has won two world championships, two Mid-Season Invitationals, 2016 IEM Katowice and four domestic LCK titles. Huhi played with Aphromoo at CLG and they won two NA LCS titles in their time together.
Huhi managed impressive stats despite the team’s struggles this year. He is known for his Aurelion Sol and he should bolster the team’s chances further.
“At CLG we didn’t really do well this past year, and I felt that for CLG and I, we both needed some kind of change. And I was really confident that if I come to 100 Thieves I could hit my peak again,” he said.
It all shows just how serious 100 Thieves is about earning success in LoL and they are sure to be a popular choice on esports wagering sites like Unikrn.com for glory going forwards. Betting on esports is soaring right now, and popular teams with stacked rosters like 100 Thieves are driving that trend. Yet Bang and co will not have it all their own way in the next split.
The team finished 2-4 at the Worlds and could only watch on as Invictus, G2 Esports, Fnatic and Cloud 9 made the semi-finals. Invictus went on to beat Fnatic 3-0 in the Final, winning its first ever World Championship. Fnatic is always there or thereabouts and Cloud9 will be emboldened by their performances this year. KT Rolster, Kingzone DragonX, Rogue Warriors, Griffin and others will be back with a vengeance.
Then there is SK Telekom T1 to consider. The ultra-successful team endured its first trophyless year in 2018, and they have acted in a bold and decisive fashion. Bang and Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan, two key components of the team’s previous successes, have both departed, along with five other players.
In the top lane, the team has signed Kim “Khan” Don-ha, formerly of Kingzone DragonX, and Kim “Crazy” Jae-hee, formerly of BBQ Olivers. In the jungle, former Gen.G star Kang “Haru” Min-seung was brought in along with Kim “Clid” Tae-min, along with Jin Air AD carry Park “Teddy” Jin-seong.
That is a superstar roster alongside the legendary Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, plus the re-signed Lee “Effort” Sang-ho and AD carry Han “Leo” Gyeo-re. Khan has been one of the best top laners over the past couple of years, while Teddy was always the star of the show at Jhin Air. That leaves SK Telekom T1 with an extremely stacked roster of its own, and we could see all of these super-teams meet up at the Worlds in 2019 to battle it out for glory in a gripping spectacle, so it promises to be a fascinating year ahead in LoL.