LCS: Reapered’s Successful Yet Complicated Legacy on Cloud9

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games /
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League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

After famed coach Reapered has been fired by Cloud9, we take a look at his history of success with the organization and why it suddenly ended.

Yesterday Cloud9 announced they would be parting ways with League of Legends head coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu. It would not be a Cloud9 offseason without a major departure, and after announcing the organization had re-signed the starting five for 2021 fans had been fooled into a false sense of security that another such departure would be avoided in 2020.

However, it was not to be. Reapered, the longest-tenured head coach in the LCS after joining C9 before the Summer Split in 2016, has officially left.

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In those four years, Reapered has amassed a resume that is unmatched in the region. Four Coach of the Split awards, five LCS Finals appearances, four Worlds appearances, three Worlds Quarter-Finals appearances, a Worlds Semi-Finals appearance, and most recently his first LCS title.

Repeared is by far the most accomplished coach the LCS has ever seen. He has been at the center of nearly all Cloud9’s success during his tenure and has coached a plethora of players to contender status. In his time on Cloud9 he directly coached 18 different players on the main roster, and probably played a role in the development of even more C9 Academy players.

This all begs the question, why is he leaving?

Just last offseason Repered’s contract was extended and a fake-out tweet from the organization solidified their commitment to the Korean coach for the foreseeable future. Several brought up his impending military service in his native South Korea, but Reapered himself recently clarified on Twitter that his military service has been waived and was not the reason for the departure.

Then what is?

Perhaps it is because after having the most successful split in the organization’s history Cloud9 fell out of the playoffs and failed to qualify for the World Championship for the first time. To imagine C9 would reach such heights as being touted as the greatest team in LCS history only to fail so spectacularly has to demand changes. As previously mentioned, the organization is committed to the players for next year, so the changes were due to come to the coaching staff.

Jack Etienne appeared on ‘The 9’s’ with Monte Cristo last week and hinted at big changes coming to the organization and changes to the LoL coaching staff. Despite these hints, many assumed the changes were to come from the team’s CS: GO department and their recent high-profile acquisitions.

We still do not know if Reapered left Cloud9 because he was fired by Jack and the C9 management, or because he himself asked to be relieved of his coaching duties to search for greener pastures. Reapered tweeted that he was interested in all jobs related to League, not just coaching. It is possible he desires to be a general manager of another organization and expand his resume from an accomplished player and coach to add owner/general manager as well.

It seems the most likely scenario is Reapered was left go by Cloud9 management due to a track record of underperforming. How can the most accomplished coach in LCS history have a history of underperforming?

Despite coaching C9 for four years and being in countless finals, Cloud9 only managed to win one championship in that time. It is obviously not fair to blame all the failures of the past on Reapered, but there are several legitimate instances you can look at where he directly led to the team’s underperformance.