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LCK’s second seed and one of the most consistent teams in their region, Griffin, woke up to drama earlier this week, right in the middle of their 2019 League of Legends World Championship campaign.

In the center of the drama is former Griffin head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho and org’s front office in the face of manager Cho Gyu-nam. In late September, cvMax was released from the team, failing to win the LCK Playoffs for third consecutive split. On Twitter, Griffin stated that the decision is mutual, though later, cvMax explained in a video the details that led to the parting of ways.

cvMax’s departure

According to cvMax (translation courtesy of Redditor /u/roylovesatp), tension between him and management started to build up about two weeks before the LCK Summer Finals. The tension reached peak point after Griffin’s loss to SK Telecom T1 in aforementioned final, which was the org’s third runner-up finish in a row, despite winning the Regular Split the last two times. After the loss, Griffin’s manager Cho Kyu-nam approached cvMax to let him know he’s fired due to the team’s poor performance.

cvMax challenged the decision and after reconsidering, the team’s management and front office gave the coach a second chance, but by that time, the trust had been eroded. cvMax officially departed on Sep. 26.

The story gathered spotlight partly due to cvMax’s background. The coach joined Griffin having little to no savings and worked hard to make them a force to be reckoned with within the LCK. Despite failing to make any international tournament up until Worlds 2019, cvMax believed Griffn has the potential to not just qualify for Worlds, but win it too.

Viper’s and Sword’s interviews

After defeating Hong Kong Attitude on Monday, bot laner Park “Viper” Do-hyeon and top Choi “Sword” Sung-won gave interviews to the press, as is tradition for winning teams. Both players also touched on cvMax’s recent statement, implying what the former head coach has been saying is not all true.

“Former coach [cvMax] has told many stories that are false,” Viper said when asked if he had any final comments in an interview with Naver.com. Sword’s statement, on the other hand, was much more direct:

“I think cvMax is spreading lies,” Sword told Naver. “We like him as a person, so we watch his streams occasionally, but he says a lot of things that bother us. If he was truly the head coach that loved and cared about us, I don’t think he would be engaging in this sort of behavior. We let it slide because it’s cvMax, but it is really putting us in an awkward position. So I hope, for the sake of our team and the players, he should distance himself from our team. I woul–the team and I would appreciate it.”

“I think cvMax is spreading lies,” Sword told Naver. “We like him as a person, so we watch his streams occasionally, but he says a lot of things that bother us. If he was truly the head coach that loved and cared about us, I don’t think he would be engaging in this sort of behavior. We let it slide because it’s cvMax, but it is really putting us in an awkward position. So I hope, for the sake of our team and the players, he should distance himself from our team. I woul–the team and I would appreciate it.”

cVmax’s response: On his departure, dispute with management, and relationship with Sword

After reading Viper’s interview, cVmax went on stream to expand the story of his departure.

According to cVmax (summary and translation courtesy of /u/nropoftsuj), management in Cho Kyu-nam told him he’d be let go after the Summer Finals about a week before the finals took place. Cho went further, claiming Griffin’s accomplishments have nothing to do with cVmax as a coach and they would’ve succeeded regardless.

“Griffin’s standards are high, the unsatisfactory results should be enough reason. Griffin was always going to succeed, you were just lucky. We would have won with any other coach,” Cho reportedly answered when cVmax pressed him to give reasons for his release.

“I know you’re 100% going to be my downfall, and I’m regretting even saying this, but just stay until Worlds. Just remember, Griffin is not your team, and even if we win, it won’t be because of you,” Cho later said, allegedly, when Griffin’s front office reconsidered and decided to bring back cVmax until end of Worlds.

According to those reports, manager Cho also surveyed the Griffin players about whether coach cvMax was a necessary, integral part of the team, with the agreement being that if there’s a unanimous decision against it, cvMax would leave on his own. When the time for the meeting came, no player stood for cvMax, the coach claims.

While the clash between cvMax and Cho surrounding Griffin’s three-peat second places was the final conflict that ended the coach’s tenure with his team, cvMax says that there was often friction between him and Cho. A recurring theme in that was who was actually responsible for Griffin’s success. According to cvMax, Cho believed that cvMax saw himself as the reason for Griffin’s meteoric rise and wanted this to stop. The coach further states that Cho would regularly interfere and question cvMax’s coaching decisions and drafts, pander too much to the online community, interfere with post-match feedback, and even ask people to wintrade in soloqueue “to get Tarzan to rank 1”.

cvMax also claimed that Sword was in good relationship with Cho and in odds with his head coach, because cvMax was willing to give Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon (currently Griffin’s sub top laner) more game time, believing he has more potential than Sword. This could explain Sword’s much harsher statement about his former head coach.

On a recent stream, former ADC trainee for Griffin, DdangWoo, confirmed much of cvMax’s statements.

The story is developing.

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