The 2019 shuffle season has begun. Substitute top laner Lee “Duke” Ho-seong has left Invictus Gaming, the player himself confirmed Thursday. This ends the three-year-long tenure the player had with the 2018 world champions and is now a free agent.
“Hello everyone, this is Duke from IG.
2019 is coming to an end and for us, this season has passed already. Though we made wonderful achievements last year, our performance this year was not quite ideal for both the team and me. The fact that I didn’t have a chance to play in the Worlds 2019 is also a pity for me.
It’s been three years since I came to IG. At first, I was very worried whether I could get used to it here, but luckily, I’ve been living a very comfortable life here in China thanks to the staff and owner of IG.
I also want to say thank you to all the fans supporting IG and me. My Chinese is not good enough so I don’t post on Weibo very often, but whenever I open Weibo I can see the encouragements from our fans, and this is an important motivation that keeps me in the professional tournaments. Sorry I didn’t reply you one by one.
As this season’s over, though I’m leaving IG, I’ve been very happy in IG and I will always remember the good times, the 3 years I’ve spent here. I hope you can keep supporting IG and me, no matter where I will be. Wish every one of you to be happy. Thank you!”
Duke joined iG after a world championship run with SK Telecom T1, looking to repeat these successes in the LPL — a region known for being the richer cousin of the LCK, attracting many top players with high salaries and prospects.
The first years for Duke in iG were rough, as the team as a whole struggled to make finals. It wasn’t until 2018 that iG started to pick up pace, winning both the Spring and Summer Splits, narrowly losing the Summer Finals 2:3 to Royal Never Give Up. By that time, however, Duke had moved to be the sub of star top laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok — considered the best in the world in his position — which meant less and less stage time for Duke.
At Worlds 2018, Duke played only five games total, but still contributed to iG’s first world championship and Duke’s career second, making him the first player in history to win Worlds with two different organizations.
Where Duke will go next is unclear. At age 24, he’s likely to start his military service, although a return to LCK to act as coach, analyst, or just a regular player is also not out of the question.