South Korean representative Griffin has generated controversy coming into the League of Legends World Championship 2019. Just two weeks before Worlds, Griffin announced the departure of their head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho. They made it look as though it was mutual, but cvMax has since refuted this. He alleges his departure was the result of a long-lasting argument with Cho Gyu-nam, Griffin’s manager. Gyu-nam supposedly often butted heads with cvMax, making him the scapegoat of Griffin’s failures. A few weeks following cvMax’s firing, one of Griffin’s former players, “DdangWoo,” has now given insight on the controversy.
Prior to the dismissal, Gyu-nam apparently told cvMax any coach other than him would have won at least one LCK title from the three finals they were in. cvMax also said Gyu-nam blamed him for the poor quality of scrims the team had prior to the summer finals. Supposedly, teams didn’t want to scrim Griffin, and Gyu-nam blamed it on the team’s head coach. Gyu-nam apparently said to cvMax things to the effect of, “We have a higher goal, so technically we can lay you off by not meeting our high standards.”
Based on the statements he made on stream, cvMax also had arguments with some of the players. He specifically mentioned Choi “Sword” Sung-won, after substituting him for Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon. cvMax’s intention was to give Doran more playing time as he saw a lot of potential in him. However, Sword disagreed with the coach’s decision and thus butted heads with him. In an interview with Fomos ahead of Worlds, he also criticized cvMax’s statements he supposedly made after leaving the team.
DdangWoo used to be Griffin’s ADC who retired from the game after witnessing Viper’s talents (no joke here). In his statement, DdangWoo emphasized multiple times how cvMax is responsible for 88 percent of Griffin’s success. He gave a lot of praise to his former coach, saying cvMax was never arrogant and saw little things the players didn’t. DdangWoo further added cvMax brought the players down to Earth, giving them detailed insights into what to improve upon.
On the other hand, DdangWoo confirmed a lot of the speculations around Griffin’s manager. He said Gyu-nam would often scorn cvMax, telling him their success has nothing to do with him. Furthermore, in-between matches, Gyu-nam would often criticize the coach for not giving the players a break as he was trying to give them instructions. Lastly, he said the manager would often interrupt cvMax as he was trying to go over strategies with the team.
DdangWoo concluded his statement saying he can’t believe what the players are saying publicly. He believes they were forced to say what they did, adding an example of an interview where Sword looks into other directions as alleged evidence.
We’ll see how Griffin’s situation impacts their Worlds placement and their coaching structure.
Do you think firing their coach right before Worlds was a smart idea? Let us know in the comments! For more League of Legends content, stay in touch with Daily Esports.
Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.