Griffin signed former Afreeca Freecs mid laner Son "Ucal" Woo-hyeon as the eighth and final member of their League of Legends roster, which will compete in the 2020 LCK season.
The announcement of the new arrival surfaced earlier this Monday, on Griffin's official Twitter page, where they welcomed Ucal to their team and promised their fans they can expect great plays from the 18-year-old pro.
Ucal started his League of Legends career in May 2017, when he joined KT Rolster as their substitute mid laner and has later in December, the same year, earned a promotion to the main roster. During his time with KT Rolster, Ucal won LCK 2018 Summer regular season and playoffs, to which he added a silver medal at Rift Rivals. The 18-year-old also made an appearance at 2018 Worlds, where KT Rolster finished fifth-eighth, after losing to the eventual champions Invictus Gaming in the quarter-finals.
Shortly after Worlds, Ucal's contract with KT Rolster expired, however, he opted not to extend it but rather decided to join up with Afreeca Freecs in November 2018. Unfortunately, Afreeca Freecs failed to impress in 2019 season, as they finished LCK Spring Split at eighth place and LCK Summer at fifth. Afreeca also made an appearance in LCK Regional Finals, where they finished fourth. Following a disappointing season, Afreeca decided to rebuild their roster and released Kim "Aiming" Ha-ram and Ucal.
Since his contract with Afreeca ended, many LoL fans were wondering which team Ucal would join and although it took quite some time before we got the answer, it was unveiled this Monday, that Ucal will be joining Team Griffin as their third mid laner.
Ucal has had some iffy performances during 2019 LCK Spring Split, however, found his form for the Summer Split, where he was just phenomenal. Ucal finished the second split with the sixth-highest WR out of all mid laners (56.6%), third-highest total kill count (26), and an impressive 3.46 KDA. While he has been in the scene for barely two years, Ucal has made a name for himself for being one of the best young mid laners in the league and due to his young age, many respected names in the scene believe he has the potential to grow and become one of the best.
While he still has a lot more to prove and a long road ahead of him before he will be considered as one of the greats, Ucal has shown before he is capable of greatness, and we can be sure that Griffin will provide him with the right environment to grow and achieve his full potential.
Griffin, while a respected and successful team, have seen a huge shadow cast on them over the off-season, following the controversy involving their general manager and coach. As it was reported and later confirmed, Griffin were offering players highly controversial and unethical contracts with unfair clauses, which ultimately led to Riot Games intervening and punishing the organization’s management.
Following the controversy, Griffin decided to dissolve all of the players' contracts, which gave their whole roster a chance to either sign new contracts or leave. That, however, resulted in Choi "Doran" Hyeon-joon, Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon and Son "Lehends" Si-woo all leaving the organization in search for new challenges elsewhere.
Doran and Chovy joined DragonX, while Lehends teamed up with Hanwha Life Esports. Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok, on the other side, decided to remain at JD Gaming instead of returning to Griffin. As their replacements, Griffin signed Park "Untara" Ui-jin and Yoo "Naehyun" Nae-hyun, promoted Jeong "Kabbie" Sang-hyeon to the starting roster and now signed Ucal.
With the departure of their star players in Chovy, Lehends and Doran, Griffin lost a lot of quality they had last season when they finished second in LCK Spring Split, won the Summer Split and clinched a fifth-eighth place finish at Worlds. Nonetheless, with the new talent and young players in the roster, we can expect Griffin to grow and one day reclaim the tag as one of the strongest LCK teams.
LCK 2020 season will kick off on Wednesday, February 5, when we will get to see Griffin in action for the first time since KeSPA Cup 2019, where they finished fifth-eighth after losing to SANDBOX Gaming in the quarter-finals.