How a guy nicknamed 'Piglet' became one of the best 'League of Legends' players in the world

Of all the players competing in August 22’s North American “League of Legends” Championship Series (LCS), Team Liquid’s Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin is the most well-known.

The guy’s got a storied history, having moved from South Korea, where he made a name for himself with SK Telecom T1 K, to the United States so he could join Team Liquid. Controversially, he was benched for three weeks after arriving and not meshing well with his new team. 

And this is less than a year after Piglet and his former teammates won the 2013 international “League of Legends” championship, Worlds, the World Cup of “League of Legends,” if you will.

But Piglet is off the bench now, helping lead Team Liquid to the North American LCS tournament this coming weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York. Will Team Liquid beat out the competition and head to the 2015 world championships in Berlin this October?

Chae 'Piglet' Gwang-jin is very popular online. So popular, in fact, that he outranks the actual Piglet (from 'Winnie the Pooh') in a Google search.

Google

Piglet's namesake travels with him, as seen here in the background. He's clearly got respect for the adorable little character.

Piglet's Twitter following is nearly 100K strong -- pretty impressive for a guy who speaks only basic English, despite having a largely English-speaking audience!

He rose to prominence as part of SK Telecom, a South Korean 'League of Legends' team that won the 2013 world championships. Here he is celebrating that win with his team, surrounding the 'Summoner's Cup' (think of it like The World Cup trophy of 'League of Legends' competitive play).

Riot Games

Following his team's big win in October 2013 at the LCS Worlds tournament, Piglet and several of his teammates were 'released' by SKT. That led to weeks of speculation. What would he do next?

An artist's rendition of Piglet sitting in an aeroplane, looking at his future home: the United States.

Piglet first joined another team called Curse Gaming in October 2014. Just over two months later, in January 2015, Team Liquid and Curse Gaming announced that they were merging.

Piglet was suddenly at the center of a coup by Team Liquid. He and his new teammates were at the forefront of a new push from Team Liquid, to get into 'League of Legends.' eSports companies like Team Liquid have multiple teams for the variety of games played in various eSports tournaments. The merger with Curse Gaming meant that Piglet and his teammates were starting something new for Team Liquid.

Piglet returning to the Los Angeles, Ca.-based Staples Center, the stadium where he and SK Telecom won the 2013 LCS World Championships.

His joining Team Liquid was seen as a big deal not only because of his background, but because he joined a North American team. Given the relative newness of 'League of Legends' as a competitive eSports title, few high-profile players have made the jump from South Korean teams to North America. It's still a game largely divided among regional borders.

Piglet speaking about how joining his first professional eSports team changed his life, in a March 2015 documentary short from 'League of Legends' developer Riot Games.

Controversially, a few short weeks after Piglet joined Team Liquid, he was benched. 'He was struggling to adapt to the new environment. It definitely wasn't his culture. He didn't speak the language well at all. With a lot of pressure on him, he wasn't playing that great,' Mark 'Markz' Zimmerman told Tech Insider in the third episode of 'League of Millions.'

Thankfully, Team Liquid general manager Steve 'Jokasteve' Perino was able to appeal to Piglet's heart. 'I remember being in my room with Piglet just balling my eyes out, like, 'Why do I feel like I care more about your future than you do?' It was really, really hard.'

Piglet came off the bench soon after, and ended up leading the team to an incredible victory over Team SoloMid. Beyond helping him get back into the good graces of his team, Piglet's move solidified Team Liquid's place in this weekend's North American LCS championships!

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