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South Korean esports organization Jin Air Green Wings were relegated after losing to Hanwha Life Esports in the 2020 League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) Spring Promotion Finals. This relegation comes after the Jin Air Green Wings have been a part of the LCK since 2014.
— kenzi (@kenzi131) September 11, 2019
Jin Air Green Wings
The Jin Air Green Wings were formed in November of 2011 as a StarCraft: Brood War team. The roster started off in LCK Season 3 after acquiring the rosters of Eat Sleep Game and Hoon Good Day to form two separate teams. This (and a subsequent attempt at this concept) didn’t work out, failing to secure them any spots in Regional Finals.
Finally, the two teams merged together following a change to OGN rules in the 2015 season. The roster ranked 4th in the 2015 Champions Spring Split and 6th in Summer. Unfortunately, a 2nd place finish in the Regional Finals would end their run, and they have yet to get any closer to attending Worlds. Through 2018, the Green Wings placed in the lower half of the rankings, only squeezing into the playoffs of the 2017 Summer Split with a 6th place finish.
Relegation from LCK
During the 2019 season, the Jin Air Green Wings placed 10th in the 2019 LCK Spring Split, winning just one of their 18 games. The results sent them to relegation, but a win over ES Sharks in the following Summer Promotion returned them to LCK.
After another 10th place ending, where they lost all of their games in the 2019 Summer Split, the team was sent to relegation again. In the 2020 LCK Spring Promotion, the Green Wings took their first game against Challengers Korea Summer Split Champion Team Dynamics. Unfortunately, the team then lost to 2019 Challengers Korea second-ranked team APK Prince, followed by a crushing 0-3 loss to 9th place Hanwha Life.
This final match sealed their fate. “I cannot say I’m really happy that we won,” said Hanwha Life Esports Coach Kang “OnAir” Hyun-jong in a post-game interview. “It’s really sad because we’ve been together for a long time and Jin Air was always doing their best – their players were doing their best.”
After failing to win in the 2020 LCK Spring Promotion, the Jin Air Green Wings will have to compete in the Challengers Korea League once more. With such poor results recently, the organization is also likely to make some roster changes. The Green Wings still have a StarCraft II team, which may become the focus for their brand going forward.
Ethan Chen is a writer with over 3 years of experience covering esports, gaming, and business.