Ryu Domestic Career
Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook began his League of Legends career on Startale. He had his first competitive games at the 2012 OGN LoL Invitational, but unfortunately, his team faltered in the series against MiG Frost and was knocked out of the tournament. Startale later took part in Azubu The Champions Spring 2012. But they were still rough around the edges, so they fell short in the group stage.
After such a disappointing showing, Ryu role swapped to the jungle. Surprisingly enough, the move worked, and Startale made it out of the group stage at Azubu The Champions Summer 2012. This was the end of the line for them, though, and Startale lost 0-2 to Najin Sword in the Quarterfinals. When Startale disbanded, Ryu went on to join KT Rolster Bullets (KTB).
On KTB, his first notable tournament was OLYMPUS Champions Winter 2012-2013. His team had a strong run, topping its group with a 5-1-0 (wins-ties-losses) score. In the Quarterfinals, KT Bullets took down their sister team, KT Arrows. However, Semifinals ended with a staggering 1-3 loss to Najin Sword. And while KTB managed to bounce back in the third place match against Azubu Blaze, this was still an underwhelming result.
But things were about to get worse. KTB had a much shakier showing at OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013. They still made it out of the group stage with a 2-2-1 record, but in the Quarterfinals, they suffered a crushing defeat at the hand of MVP Ozone.
KT Bullets finally made their presence known at HOT6iX Champions Summer 2013. With a 1-2-0 record, they qualified from the group stage and went on to defeat CJ Blaze and CJ Frost in the playoffs. In the finals, KTB clashed with SKT T1. Their series came down to the wire, but in the end, SKT T1 won with a 3-2 score.
With this loss, KTB went to the Regional Finals. They had a promising start by 3-0’ing CJ Blaze and CJ Frost, but in the finals, they once again faced SKT T1. The series ended with a 1-3 loss, and KTB missed out on their Worlds ticket.
In 2014, KTB attended PANDORA.TV Champions Winter 2013-2014. They climbed to the top of their group with a 2-1-0 record. In the playoffs, they crushed CJ Blaze, but the following loss to SKT T1 K knocked them down to the third place match. Still, KTB regained their composure and scored a 3-1 victory over Najin White Shield to seize the bronze medal.
They entered HOT6iX Champions Spring 2014 with high hopes, but the results were underwhelming. And even though they managed to make it out of the group stage, KTB fell in a close Quarterfinals series against Najin White Shield. HOT6iX Champions Summer 2014 went even worse, and for the first time in a while, KTB failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Afterward, Ryu was released from the team. He quickly found a new home on Millenium and took part in the 2015 European Expansion Tournament. Unfortunately, Millenium failed to show up at the event, and a quick 1-2 loss to Giants Gaming eliminated them from the tournament.
In the off-season, Ryu joined H2K Gaming in the EU LCS. He had a rough start in the 2015 Spring Split, but H2K gradually gained momentum to finish the regular season in third place. In the playoffs, they took down Copenhagen Wolves but faltered against Fnatic, losing to them with a 2-3 score. Still, they managed to squeeze out a win in the third place match against SK Gaming.
H2K’s regular season went the same way in summer. But while their playoffs run started with a promising win against Giants Gaming, they fell 1-3 to Origen in the Semifinals. In the third place match, H2K crushed Unicorns of Love to claim another bronze medal. And since they’d accumulated enough Championship Points, H2K qualified for Worlds.
They entered the 2016 EU LCS Spring Split with a brand new roster. At the time, Ryu had to redo his visa, and H2K were forced to field a mid lane substitute, Still, they proved their worth as a top-tier lineup, and their 14-4 run earned them a bye to the Semifinals. But H2K’s luck ran out when they clashed with the resurging Origen lineup. A 2-3 loss knocked them down to the third place match where H2K fell in a close series against Fnatic.
In the 2016 Summer Split, H2K were plagued by internal issues. This reflected poorly on their record, and they finished the season in fourth place. Even so, they managed to recollect themselves for the playoffs. Their 3-0 victory over Fnatic showed a lot of promise, but a 2-3 loss to Splyce knocked them down to another third place match. There, H2K defeated Unicorns of Love with a 3-1 score. And once again, they managed to get enough Championship Points to qualify for Worlds.
During this time, Ryu was known as a solid mid laner. Even though English wasn’t his first language, he took over team communications and became H2K’s captain. Of course, he wasn’t the most dominant laner, but he made up for it with well-timed roams and clean teamfights.
In the off-season, Ryu parted ways with H2K to join Phoenix1 in the NA LCS. With his help, Phoenix1 had a massive resurgence, finishing the 2017 Spring Split with an 11-7 record. In the playoffs, they 3-0’d Team Dignitas but fell short in the following round against Cloud9. Afterward, they squeezed out a narrow 3-2 victory in the third place match against FlyQuest.
However, Ryu became noticeably weaker in the laning phase. This development surfaced in summer, and the Korean mid laner was overwhelmed to the point where he had to take a small break from playing in the NA LCS. Even so, Phoenix1 fell down to the last-place finish and had to participate in the Promotion Tournament.
P1 started the tournament with a win in a close 5-game series against GCU, but the following 2-3 loss to Team Liquid put them on the brink of elimination. Still, P1 regained their composure and bounced back with a 3-0 victory over eUnited.
When Phoenix1 weren’t accepted into the franchising system, Ryu joined 100 Thieves.
Ryu International Tournaments
On KT Bullets, Ryu attended the IEM Season 8 World Championship. This was his first international tournament, and KTB weren’t considered that strong coming into the event. However, they took over the group stage with back-to-back victories against Millenium and Invictus Gaming. In the playoffs, KT dismantled Gambit Gaming and Fnatic without dropping a single game. With that, Ryu took his first international trophy.
Ryu briefly subbed in for Team ROCCAT to take part in IEM Season 9 Cologne. ROCCAT had a decent start by crushing Dolphins of Wall Street, but a 1-2 Semifinals loss to CLG put an end to their run.
On H2K, Ryu went to the 2015 World Championship. His team was seeded into the same group with SKT T1 and EDG, and ultimately, both of these lineups proved much stronger than H2K. With a 2-4 record in the group stage, H2K were eliminated from the tournament.
H2K also took part in IEM Season 10 Cologne. They defeated Cloud9 in the Quarterfinals, but the subsequent loss to ESC Ever knocked them out of the competition.
Then, H2K attended the 2016 World Championship. In the group stage, they persevered against EDG and AHQ to secure a #1 seed. This caused them to meet Albus Nox Luna in the Quarterfinals, and H2K took down the wildcard team with a 3-0 score. Their run came to an end with a 0-3 Semifinals loss to Samsung Galaxy.
On Phoenix1, Ryu took part in the 2017 Rift Rivals (EU vs NA). P1 entered the tournament as underdogs, but surprisingly enough, they showed up with a 4-2 record against top European teams. Still, TSM had an even better showing, and P1 couldn’t qualify for the finals.