2019 League of Legends world champion FunPlus Phoenix has just announced the signing of Jang ‘Nuguri’ Ha-gwon as its starting toplaner heading into the 2021 LPL season. The move follows a host of rumours surrounding Nuguri’s future, after a contract extension with current world champions, DAMWON Gaming, never transpired and the player entered free agency.
The rumours themselves reached a fever pitch on December 14 when FunPlus posted a cryptic tweet captioned, “ready for our third anniversary?” Attached was a picture of a racoon dog making its way onto a plane. Many were quick to point out that this signified Nuguri – whose in-game name literally translates to ‘racoon dog’ from Korean – would be making his way to the Chinese side.
Now, a few days later, FunPlus has finally landed its man, following the departures of toplaners Kim ‘GimGoon’ Han-saem and Kim ‘Khan’ Dong-ha – the latter of which has returned to Korea to take Nuguri’s place on DAMWON.
Nuguri’s time at DAMWON coincided with the team’s meteoric rise from Challengers Korea – the second tier of Korean LoL – to the LCK, and now to the very peak of competitive LoL as world champions. A major cog in the DAMWON machine, Nuguri has been heralded at times as the very best toplaner in the world.
Please welcome FPX.Nuguri (Jang Ha-gwon), who first rose to fame in 2017 and showed his talent through all these years. Now the young warrior already had Summoner's Cup in his hand, and the brand new battlefield awaits as well. Let's fight for our new future together!#FPXLOL pic.twitter.com/163dpPS3ge
— FunPlus PhoeniX (@FPX_Esports) December 17, 2020
Now playing in the LPL, fans can look forward to top lane matchups between Nuguri and the likes of fellow countryman Kang ‘TheShy’ Seung-lok (Invictus Gaming), Zang ‘Zoom’ Xing-Ran (JD Gaming), Bai ‘369’ Jia-Hao (Top Esports), and Chen ‘Bin’ Ze-Bin (Suning). We can’t wait.