Former SK Telecom T1 support player Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong will continue his career in League of Legends in a new role — the head coach of Royal Never Give Up. The club confirmed the signing of the legendary player just a couple of days after Mata announced that he’ll be retiring as a professional player.
“After multiple meetings and friendly negotiations between Mata and the club, the two sides reached a consensus,” RNG wrote on their Weibo page. “Once a strong player for RNG, Mata has now returned to be the head coach and behind-the-scenes mentore of the team.”
Mata will take the lead of an RNG roster that made minimal changes during the off-season. So far, the club has only lost jungler Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsua, whom they replaced yesterday with up-and-coming talent Li “Xiaolongbao” Xiao-long. Furthermore, RNG extended the contracts of their lead stars, including Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao, Li “xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, and Xie “Langx” Zhen-Ying, deciding to keep the core identity of the club.
That identity, however, is yet to bring a Worlds championship to RNG.
“RNG’s results in recent years have been mixed,” the club admitted. “We are willing to listen to everyone’s criticism and suggestions during these rough times, in order to try and improve in order to be consistent and start winning championships again.”
RNG were on track to win Worlds 2018, after having the strongest year in franchise history, claiming both LPL titles, as well as MSI. The team was upset by G2 Esports in the quarterfinals of Worlds, however, ending their campaign even earlier than in 2017.
2019 was even harsher. The club’s domestic record was far from stellar, and even though they got to Worlds, RNG faced a group stage elimination — the worst record of all of their four World Championship appearances.