Griffin are considering ending all contracts with their League of Legends roster after they failed to survive LCK relegation last month, the organization confirmed Tuesday.
“Griffin is discussing contract termination and other options with the players,” the team wrote on their official Facebook channel, promising to “come back as a new Griffin.”
The latter hints that the organization might indeed return in 2021 with a new roster, especially if it’s selected as a partner for the new franchised LCK. Regardless, this is still a dark period for the org, which went from one of the most promising teams in the league to being relegated.
Griffin broke out in 2018 by finishing second in the Summer Season, barely missing Worlds, but acquiring a large fan base over the course of a single split. In 2019, Griffin returned to become back-to-back LCK finalists, making them three-time silver medalists in their first three splits.
While the team held promise in heaps, their end to 2019 brought only trouble. A series of mismanagement issues led to the departure of head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho, who was followed to DragonX by star mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and up-and-coming top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon. On his way out, cvMax also revealed contract mishandling by Griffin upper management, involving — among other things — the unlawful five-year loaning of jungler Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok to JD Gaming.
The latter triggered a series of investigation by LCK and LPL management, which ultimately forced the resignation and follow-up suspension of CEO Cho Gyu-nam. Parent company STILL8 was also made to divest from the Griffin franchise.
To fill the vacant spots on the roster, Griffin signed former Jin Air Green Wings coach Han “H Dragon” Sang-yong, but just like with JAG, H Dragon only led Griffin to the depths of relegation. In the Summer Promotion tournament, Griffin lost 1-2 to Seorabeol Gaming and 0-2 to SANDBOX Gaming, which eliminated them from the LCK.
If the player contracts end up terminated, this will leave several high-profile prospects as free agents, notably jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong and bot laner Park “Viper” Do-hyeon.