Legendary Korean marksman Bang is retiring - His legacy and impact

One of the most iconic ADC players in the history of League of Legends, Bae “Bang” Jun-sik has announced his retirement a few days back. The three-time world champion will join the Korean players who chose retirement because of their military duty. After 9 years of playing the game professionally, Bang had a substantial impact over the history of LoL esports. Take a look at his career and salute him with us, one last time.

His career started back in 2012 at NaJin Shield, a Korean organization. 16 year old Bang first met and played with Wolf, who was his partner for a long time, on the same team. However, his career changed drastically when he joined SKT T1 S, one of SKT’s sister teams. Bang took a path that would bring him to the top of League of Legends, and at some point, the bottom as well.

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Baby steps

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The end of 2013 and the year 2014 was an important milestone for Bang. Joining SKT T1’s sister team, he was able to showcase his skills with good players around him like MaRin, Easyhoon and Wolf who would dominate the world with him in 2015. Where SKT T1’s Worlds 2013 champion roster missed Worlds 2014, Bang’s team also missed it. Which led SKT to make a bold move: changing the roster around their hottest commodity, Faker.

As new rules of LCK dictated that there would be only one team for each organization, one of the teams would disband in 2015 anyway. SKT, led by their coaching staff L.i.E.S (cCarter) and kkOma, built their 2015 roster like a puzzle. They brought Bang-Wolf duo in as PoohManDu retired and Piglet had an offer from North America. MaRin also joined to be a starter, and took the captain's armband.

Getting to the top of the world

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After a disappointing 2014, SKT was ready for the next season. Their biggest rival, SSG, lost most of their players to China, which meant there would be less competition in Korea for the team. At spring split, GE Tigers (ROX or KOO later) became that competition for SKT, but their charm didn’t last long as they lost 3-0 in the finals.

At MSI, Bang was playing his first international tournament and he was on a rampage. He had high confidence and great skills, which made him a crucial part of the team. A pentakill from Bang at MSI 2015:

SKT ended up losing MSI to EDward Gaming, where a game-changing Morgana mid lane pick affected the fate of the series. However, their dominance in Korea stayed intact, leading them to another championship and another 3-0 playoffs final, against KT Rolster.

Bang, together with his friends at SKT, managed to create the most dominant team in the history statistically at Worlds 2015. SKT T1 lost only one game, all tournament long, only against KOO Tigers in the finals. Although Samsung White, the Worlds 2014 champions, is considered to be the most dominant League of Legends team, SKT managed to create a debate in just a year.

Image via Riot Games

Staying on top is as hard as getting there

However, the problems started in SKT T1 after the championship. Their rivals were getting stronger every single day with new rookies with limitless potential joining LCK and LPL. At the start of the year, SKT lost their top laner MaRin to China, replacing him with Duke from NaJin. Just when we thought their dominance might be over, SKT arose once again.

Although he helped his team get the LCK 2015 Spring and MSI 2015 title, it wasn’t easy when they also replaced Bengi with Blank in the summer. However, still being used as the secondary carry after Faker, Bang once again led his team to the Worlds 2016 championship. It wasn’t clean, it wasn’t easy, it surely looked like at some point, they would lose the whole thing. But they were SKT T1 and that was okay, they would win somehow.

Image via Riot Games

The fall

SKT introduced two sensational transfers in 2017. The jungle department was shaky in 2016 with Bengi retiring and Blank not being enough for such a team. Although he stayed with the team, SKT T1 brought in ROX Tigers’ golden boy Peanut. They once again lost a top laner to China, and Huni, with his international fame, joined the team.

The spring split went great for Bang. He helped his new super team get to the MSI 2017 trophy. However, the disaster started at the summer split. Their team missed something that people just couldn’t explain. Huni and Peanut’s performances dropped, and Bang and Wolf, who were the best bot lane in the world at the time of MSI 2015, looked like random soloq players.

There are lots of debates around this, and I’m not going to be a part of that, I believe what I will say. Bang’s fall really did happen in 2017, and he did pull his team back, just like Huni or Peanut or Wolf did sometimes. Faker’s miracle plays kept SKT T1 alive until the finals but it wasn’t enough. Against SSG, they all played badly, including Faker at many times, and they deserved to lose.

SKT T1 then tried to get things together in 2018 but it went even worse, it went 2014 all over again. Players like Untara and Thal played at the top lane, Faker’s performance dropped drastically, rookies like Blossom, Leo, and Effort joined the team with Pirean, it was total chaos. At LCK 2018 Summer, SKT T1 wasn’t able to qualify for playoffs, finishing the regular season 7th place.  

No one was expecting Bang to be any better than his team, but he couldn’t get himself back in the game and left his beloved organization with many memories. SKT T1 went on to undergo a huge roster and policy change, while Bang bought his flight tickets to North America.

Image via Riot Games

After SKT T1

Bang’s career was falling hard and he didn’t look like he was trying to stop it. It could be the psychological burden of getting thrown out of his team where he once became world champion or not being able to handle not being the best in the world anymore. Bang was not the Bang we knew, his confidence dropped and his team wasn’t doing good enough to push him back up.

At 100 Thieves, Bang finished spring split tenth place and summer split eighth place. It was time to leave 100 too.

Image via Riot Games

Bang then joined Evil Geniuses, with great names in LCS like Svenskeren, Jiizuke and Zeyzal. Coaching staff included Irean. Bang really did look better than last year at least, getting his team to second place in the regular season. When they finished the playoffs in third place, it didn’t mean too much as no MSI would be hosted. However, they missed Worlds after having a bad summer split with chaos that has nothing to do with Bang. The guy missed Worlds again.

In 2021, Bang came back to his home, Korea, with Afreeca Freecs. Ironically, after a bad spring split, he lost his place to Leo, from SKT’s 2018 roster. Bang couldn’t find a chance to get back in the starting roster, and a legendary player’s career finished with a depressing end for his fans.

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Career stats of Bang

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Korean ADC played Ezreal the most with 115 times, and his win rate on the champion is 56,5%. His best win rate with champions he played more than once is Corki, who was once a bot lane pick. Bang had an 87.1% win rate with Corki.

Throughout his career, Bang played 730 games with a 60% win rate. His overall KDA is 5.47, his total kill count is 2570 and he died 1145 times.

Bae “Bang” Jun-sik won MSI and Worlds twice, he is a part of SKT’s legacy and he is one of the most impactful players of all time. We will remember him with his good plays, with his synergy with Sneaky at All-Stars and how he wanted to do interviews at Worlds just because he loved this game and wanted to be there. One of the kindest and best players in the world is retiring...

and I hope he knows he will always be remembered with good memories.

Goodbye, Bang!