When Cloud9 announced that C9 Challengers mid laner Jang “EMENES” Min-soo would be promoted to the League Championship Roster for week 5 of the 2023 LCS Spring Split, no one knew quite what to expect. EMENES had been tearing it up in the North American Challengers League — amassing 26 kills in the first four weeks of the season — but his checkered past left doubts as to whether the mid-spring swap would work out for C9 in the long-term.
As a potential sendoff to @EMENESlol here's all 26 of his #NACL solo kills. The dude is an absolute beast. And now he's trialing for @C9LoL to raise hell in the #LCS pic.twitter.com/QiPxQM7ef5
— Erick "Decerux" Beltran (@Decerux) February 20, 2023
EMENES joined the LCS lineup, and Cloud9 never looked back. The defending LCS has won five of their last six games and is currently tied for 1st with FlyQuest at a record of 12-3. EMENES hasn’t just been an upgrade in the mid lane from Dimitri “Diplex” Ponomarev — his aggressive playstyle has unlocked a new level of play for C9 not present in the Spring Split prior to his promotion.
After his first win of the 2023 LCS Spring Split (and his second LCS game overall), EMENES sat down to discuss how his promotion occurred just before a match he was preparing for with Cloud9 Challengers.
“It was about two hours before the match, so I was just thinking about the match at hand,” EMENES recalled. “I was talking with Zeyzal and then mithy asked if I had time to talk outside.”
EMENES was told very plainly by C9’s head coach that he would be with the LCS team tomorrow and that he should not prepare for C9 Challengers’ next match. Instead, he’d be spending the day scrimming with the Cloud9 LCS squad.
Despite his confidence in his own abilities, EMENES was incredulous that his LCS debut was happening so soon in the year. “At first, I didn’t understand,” EMENES said. “I just kept asking, ‘What just happened?’ and mithy answered a lot, but I didn’t hear it because I was so surprised about it.”
EMENES takes the stage
EMENES’ LCS debut was his first venture into tier 1 League of Legends esports competition, but that didn’t shake the confidence of the young mid laner. What did, however, was the notion of playing in front of a live audience for the first time in his career. “When I played online during the pandemic, I couldn’t see the audience, but on stage…”
EMENES uttered an exclamatory sound as if to emphasize his point before continuing. “I’m really excited. My heart keeps bouncing, my hands keep shaking, and there’s sweat.”
The experience got to EMENES in a way he did not expect, and it resulted in a shaky LCS debut and a loss to Golden Guardians for Cloud9 “I thought, ‘I’m not a common human’…maybe because of my ego, but I was nervous,” EMENES admitted with a sheepish grin.
Since then, EMENES has played with nothing but confidence and won five straight games with C9. After earning Player of the Week honors in week 7 of the LCS Spring Split, it’s clear that C9 is looking to him as their starting mid laner for the foreseeable future.
Congratulations to @EMENESlol on winning the @MastercardNexus Player of the Week for week 7 of the 2023 #LCS Spring Split! pic.twitter.com/2FLjwvQqz4
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) March 11, 2023
When EMENES was asked to recall what it was like to take his first win on stage with C9 and take a bow in front of the LCS squad, the mid laner broke into a smile: “I want to feel this emotion every day.”