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Huni announces step down from the LCK

Huni announces step down from the LCK

League of Legends
14 Jun
Andre Guaraldo

The esports community is experiencing a mix of emotions as Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon, a well-known figure in the League of Legends scene, has announced his departure from the LCK to fulfill his military duties. Mandatory military service for all able-bodied South Korean men lasts between 18 to 21 months, depending on the branch of service. This requirement presents a unique challenge for esports athletes, who have to pause their careers during a crucial time in their professional development. Huni’s departure leaves a gap in the LCK as his insights and engaging presence on the broadcast were highly valued.

Huni is a legend among LCK fans and well known worldwide (credits: Sheep Esports) Huni is a legend among LCK fans and a well known figure in the LoL world (credits: Sheep Esports)

A fond farewell

Huni, celebrated for his energetic personality and exceptional skills, officially announced his enlistment on June 12, 2024. His departure mixes both sadness and respect from fans and colleagues. Huni has been a significant presence in the LCK, transitioning from a top player to a valuable commentator and analyst on the English broadcast.

One fan shared, "Huni was peaking when I started this game. He was one of the players who really got me interested in pro play". This sentiment reflects the deep impact Huni has had on the community, both as a player and a personality.

The broader challenge for Esports gamers

Huni’s situation highlights the broader challenges faced by young esports professionals in South Korea and many other countries, where mandatory military service can interrupt careers at pivotal moments. This obligation often creates a hiatus that can be difficult to overcome, impacting both personal progress and team dynamics within the competitive scene. Returning to form post-service varies, with some players successfully reintegrating, while others struggle to regain their previous level.

Many notable players have navigated this difficult transition. Bang, a two-time World Champion with SK Telecom T1, enlisted in 2021, pausing his successful career. Similarly, Rush, known for his time with Cloud9 and Echo Fox, returned to South Korea to complete his service. PraY, another standout in the LCK, enlisted after his notable stints, as did InSec and Ambition, who both transitioned from professional play to fulfill their duties.

Bang, one of the many examples of top-tier players who stopped their runs to serve the military (credits: Inven Global) Bang, one of the many examples of top-tier players who stopped their runs to serve the military (credits: InvenGlobal)

Looking Ahead

Despite these challenges, there is hope within the community. Fans eagerly anticipate Huni's return after his service, hoping that he will continue to contribute to the esports scene with his distinctive style. His journey from professional gamer to fulfilling national duties is seen as a commitment and resilience to the adult challenges we all face. As one fan noted, "We just need characters like him in the League space." Huni’s departure, while significant, also opens the possibility for an inspiring comeback.

In conclusion, Huni’s enlistment in the Korean military marks an important chapter in his life and career. It highlights the balance that esports athletes must maintain between their professional ambitions and national responsibilities. The community bids him farewell with warm wishes, looking forward to the day he returns to the LCK and continues to inspire future gamers.

Feature image credits: InvenGlobal

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