Long-time Team WE top laner Ke “957” Chang-Yu will retire on January 18, the day his team faces JD Gaming in Xi’an. This will end 957’s five-year-long career, all of which he spent in the WE organization.
During his time with WE, 957 won one LPL title and placed top four at MSI and Worlds, all in the span of year 2017. Since he was brought on to WE’s main team in December 2015, he acted as the starting top laner until the signing of Kim “Poss” Min-Cheol, who took over.
According to WE, 957 will stay in esports, but in a new roles. Speculation among Chinese fans is that the top laner will transition into a casting/analyst roles — a natural career progression for many retired pro players — but a coaching/managerial role within the LPL, or even within the same org, is not out of the question either. This off-season, several retired professionals transitioned into coaches, including Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong (currently coaching Royal Never Give Up) and Ming “Clearlove” Kai who is now at the helm of EDward Gaming.
Team WE’s Jan. 18 game against JD Gaming will be the team’s debut in the 2020 LPL Spring Season. Last season, WE barely missed the playoffs, finishing 9th and in the off-season lost key players, including bot laner Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun and mid Su “xiye” Han-Wei. 957’s retirement is yet another loss of a veteran, that is looking to make WE’s Spring Season all the more difficult.