DWG KIA Is Rebuilding Its League of Legends Roster

DWG KIA Is Rebuilding Its League of Legends Roster

DWG KIA are seemingly looking to rebuild its League of Legends roster ahead of the 2023 season, having already parted ways with five members.

DWG KIA are seemingly looking to rebuild its League of Legends roster ahead of the 2023 season, having already parted ways with five members.

On Tuesday, November 15, DWG KIA released athletic director Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun, head coach Yang “Daeny” Dae-in, coach Lee “Zefa” Jae-min, and two players in Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon.

Coaching Personnel Changes

DWG KIA unveiled one of the biggest roster shakeups on Tuesday when the South Korean esports organization announced the departure of five members, including three members of the coaching personnel, as well as top laners Nuguri and Burdol.

The news comes just three weeks after DWG KIA’s unconvincing performance at the League of Legends World Championship 2022, where the Korean squad placed fifth-sixth after losing to Gen.G in the quarterfinals.

KkOma leaves DWG KIA nearly two years, having joined the team at the end of 2020 as a head coach before he transitioned to the role of athletic director in December 2021. Known as one of the best LoL coaches in the scene, the 36-year-old had previously coached ViCi Gaming and SK Telecom T1, with who he won three LoL World Championship titles.

Even though Kk0ma couldn’t achieve the same success at DWG KIA, he has helped the Korean team win both 2021 LoL Champions Korea (LCK) splits and reached the finals of both the Mid-Season Invitational and LoL Worlds.

Daeny and Zefa, like KkOma, have worked with T1 in the past but were fired after just eight months due to poor results in 2021. Daeny started his coaching career with DAMWON Gaming in January 2020, then returned to the Korean squad in July 2021 as an analyst before getting promoted to the head coach position, where he continued to work alongside Zefa as his assistant coach.

Zefa is a former pro player who made his debut as a coach with Kongdoo Monetsers in June 2016 and has since served as a coach for Afreeca Freecs, SK Telecom T1, and DAMWON Gaming, which he joined in November 2019.

Like Daeny, he left DAMWON to join T1 in November 2020 and returned to DWG for a one-year stint.

Changes On The Rift

Besides releasing Kk0ma, Daeny, and Zefa, DWG KIA also announced changes to its LoL roster with the departure of top laners Nuguri and Burdol.

The two players have been splitting game time this season, with Nuguri serving as the starting top laner for most of the 2022 season, while Burdol played in various essential matches, namely in the LCK Summer Playoffs and the Regional Finals.

Burdol started his esports career in May 2019 when he joined SK Telecom T1 as a substitute before joining T1 Academy in December 2019, also enjoying a short stint with T1 Rookies in October-November 2020. In January 2021, Burdol joined Gen.G where he served as a substitute top laner.

In December 2021, Burdol got picked up by DWG KIA as a replacement for Nuguri and served as the starting top laner for most of the LCK Spring Split before Nuguri’s return to pro play.

Of the two players, Nuguri is a more recognized name as a key member of DAMWON Gaming, who won the LoL World Championship in 2020. Nuguri started his esports career in March 2017 with I Gaming Star before joining DAMWON in November 2017, spending the next three years with the Korean team.

After winning the LoL World Championship, Nuguri joined FunPlus Phoenix but left the team following a disappointing 2021 season and announced that he’d take a break from pro play.

Upon returning to DWG KIA in the summer, Nuguri got placed straight into the active lineup, and while he had solid individual performances, the team failed to reach their goals, placing fourth in LCK 2022 Summer regular season and in the playoffs.

And although DWG KIA won the Regional Finals, they crashed out of LoL Worlds in fifth-eighth following a 2-3 loss against Gen.G.

What’s Next For DWG KIA?

It’s currently unknown who will replace the departees at DWG KIA, but knowing how chaotic the LCK and LPL offseason are shaping up to be, it’s fair to say that DWG KIA will have plenty of options.

As reported earlier this month, most of the top LCK and LPL teams are making major roster changes, leading to many top players entering the transfer market and looking for a new team.

So while DWG KIA have yet to announce who’ll take over their top lane and coaching position, we can expect more news about the team’s future to pop up in the coming weeks.