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NRG Moves on From GM Jonathon Despite Worlds Success

NRG Esports made a fantastic run at Worlds 2023 but is deciding to part ways with the man who built the roster.

The League of Legends World Championships continue to rage on in Korea as four teams remain to compete for the Summoner’s Cup. Unfortunately for North American League of Legends fans, NRG is not one of the teams remaining, as they were eliminated in the Quarterfinals after being the last remaining western team in the tournament. Entering the season, no one expected this squad to be the best in the West. Even entering the World Championships, the expectations for this team were relatively low. 

Despite their expectation-defying success shortly after NRG’s return to North America, the team announced via their social media that they’d be moving on from their General Manager, Jonathon, who was the architect of the roster that had so much success. Many see the move as another signal that NRG is looking to downsize its League of Legends operations. The move marks the beginning of the annual LCS offseason shuffle, in which many more are sure to be finding themselves with new organizations.  

The Announcement

NRG announced their decision to let go of Jonathon on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) with a post that they uploaded Monday night at 9:11 PM Eastern Time. Jonathon would make a post of his own announcing that he is currently available for new management opportunities in the esports world. The post has many fans and analysts confused as NRG had a great year, finding success that no one could’ve predicted. 

Jonathon’s Success

The NRG roster that found all of the success at Worlds started the year under a completely different banner, playing for the now-nonexistent Counter Logic Gaming or CLG. CLG was one of North America’s most historied franchises. They competed way back in the first competitive season of the esport, competing in the first World Championship. The team would have early success around LCS fan-favorite players like Xmithie, Stixxay, Doublelift, and Aphromoo, who would help the team win two LCS splits and make multiple international appearances. 

However, the pristine had disappeared from the brand as they’d hit a slump starting in 2018 in which they’d find themselves consistently in the bottom half if not at the bottom of the LCS. 2020-21 saw the team end as a bottom-two team in all four splits. Jonathon would step in to lead the team in a new direction after the 2021 competitive season and built a roster that found slow but gradual improvement. Despite finding 5th-6th place finishes in the LCS, the CLG ownership decided to sell their company, including the League of Legends roster and LCS spot, to NRG Esports midway through the 2023 competitive season.

Under the NRG Esports banner, the team would go on to have an unprecedented season. The team would end the 2023 LCS Summer Split Regular Season with a 9-9 record and 5th in the standings. They then made an unforeseen run in the Playoffs, taking down Team Liquid, Golden Guardians, and Cloud9 en route to the organization’s first LCS title. 

No one knew if the momentum would carry over to the World Championships, and many expected the team to fall off and not find any success at the international tournament. However, they were once again to prove the doubters wrong, taking down Team Liquid, MAD Lions, and G2 Esports to make it to the Knockout Stage Bracket and further than any other Western team this year. Though Jonathon’s future is uncertain after this past year’s success, it’s hard to imagine that he’d have a hard time finding a new team wanting and needing his help.