Deft and Canna sign with DAMWON KIA for LCK 2023 season

League of Legends
Foo Zen-Wen

Another superteam

Just yesterday, DRX confirmed the official entry of their main roster into Free Agency (FA), and today, the landscape of the LCK shifts once more. Worlds 2022 Champion AD Carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu has joined DAMWON KIA (DWG KIA) for the 2023 season. Joining him in the move is former Nongshim Redforce top laner Kim “Canna” Chang-dong.

Last week, DWG announced the departure of long-standing top laner and decorated star Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, considered one of the best top laners in the world at one point. AD Carry Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil would see his own departure from the roster as well. Whilst “Deft” is undoubtedly an upgrade for the bot lane, it remains to be seen whether “Canna” is capable of reaching his former heights.


Stacked Roster for 2023

Top laner “Canna” is an alum of T1, having played alongside the ‘unkillable demon king’ for nearly two years. He garnered a reputation as a strong player capable of winning his lanes and performed well during his time on the roster. As a rookie, he earned an unofficial title for winning LCK Spring Playoffs in 3-0 fashion against Gen.G.

His peak on T1 came about in 2021, where the roster qualified for Worlds through the LCK Regional Finals before making it to the Semifinals. In late 2021, he joined Nongshim Redforce as part of an attempt to create another South Korean superteam. That roster consisted of the likes of Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong and Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun, historically championship contending players.

“Canna” and “Deft” will join the 2022 remnants of the DWG KIA roster, Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, Heo “ShowMaker” Su, and Kim “Kellin” Hyeon-gyu. “Canyon” and “ShowMaker” are the only remainders of the 2020 DAMWON Gaming roster that won Worlds. Adding “Deft” to the mix, means three Worlds winners, and a Worlds semi-finalist on a single roster. “Kellin,” for his part, was part of the DWG KIA roster during Worlds run, and performed well as one of the stronger supports in the tournament.


Rough 2022

Like their South Korean brethren, Gen.G, DWG KIA had entered 2022 with high hopes of contending for Worlds again. The organization had previously won Worlds in 2020 and reached the finals in 2021, barely falling to Edward Gaming. In 2022, however, their first draw of Playoffs came against tournament favorites, Gen.G.

Despite losing the first two points, DWG KIA would claw back to an even 2-2 and fifth game, only for Gen.G to shut them down in the last moments. Furthermore, the year had not even gone DWG KIA’s way, with T1 and Gen.G the teams that everyone was talking about. After failing to qualify through LCK playoffs, DWG KIA stormed through the LCK Regional qualifiers, even beating out eventual Champions DRX. They looked set for a late year redemption arc; yet it never felt like 'their [DWG KIA's] time.


Running it back for the peak

In anticipation for the new season, DWG KIA has also updated their support staff, resigning Park “Bubbling” Jun-hyung, and Kim “Woong” Sun-woong. “Deft” will also reunite with two of his teammates. Choi “Acorn” Cheon-ju will be the DWG KIA new head coach. He previously played on Samsung Blue. Kang “GorrillA” Beom-hyun joins as the other new coach, having previously played on Kingzone DragonX.

DWG KIA roster now looks as follows:

  • Kim “Canna” Chang-dong

  • Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu

  • Heo “ShowMaker” Su

  • Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu

  • Kim “Kellin” Hyeon-gyu

Image credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

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