Golden Guardians‘ mid-laner, Kim “Gori” Tae-woo, has navigated through the echelons of esports, beginning with SKT T1 in the LCK, moving over to Edward Gaming in the LPL, transitioning to PGS Talon in the PCS, and ultimately competing with the Golden Guardians in the LCS for the 2023 season.

They finished in 7-8th place at MSI 2023, and fourth in the LCS Summer 2023 playoffs. They qualified for the first-ever Worlds Qualifications Series (WQS), but unfortunately lost 3-0 defeat to Team BDS.

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As a result, they did not qualify for Worlds and their season came to an end.

Finally back at home after a long season, Gori sat down with ONE Esports for an exclusive interview to speak more about what the horizon holds for him in his endearing League of Legends career.

From skipping academies, to tournament winnings: Gori lays a path to pro

League Of Legends Golden Guardians Gori WQS Post Match Interview on the computer
Credit: Riot Games

During his youth, PC cafes in South Korea were Gori’s haven. His love for League of Legends started to develop in the hours after school.

His parents were initially accepting of his indulgences — until he started to skip academy classes for gaming sessions. “I would get caught all the time,” he chuckled.

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“I’ve been playing game since season one, but it was in the third season that I recognized my potential,” he recalled, thinking back to his maiden tournament victories and his climb to Master tier.

One day, on a reflective stroll home, he realized he was on a crossroad. His affinity for League of LEgends had deepened and continued to do so. He contemplated the future of pursuing professional gaming.

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His burgeoning passion for the game left him feeling cornered — he knew he needed to confide in his parents. On that same walk home, he texted them a sincere, extended message to his mother, expressing his devotion to League of Legends, his potential prowess as a pro, and his relentless passion.

Upon entering his house, he nervously sought his mother, inquiring if she had seen his message. “Yes,” she responded. His heart dropped, anticipating a dismissal of his dreams, but then she continued, “You can go ahead and give it a try.”

And so began his esports journey

With complete freedom to pursue professional gaming, Gori needed figure out what he can do to get started.

In a time when the LCK was without a structured “path to pro” due to the lack of team franchising, he had to prove himself and get noticed.

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Committed to his craft, he competed in multiple tournaments and sought out training stints with informal “academy” groups. And then, the biggest break happened: he received an invitation from the esteemed SKT T1.

Since then, he has devoted his life to League of Legends, a passion that ignites him till this day.

Inside the LoL Park in Seoul, South Korea, where the League of Legends Champions Korea match will be held
Credit: LCK

“I can’t even fathom a life without League,” he said. While some players dabble in various games, his allegiance lies singularly with the Summoner’s Rift. “I spend most of the free time watching anything related to LoL,” he added.

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Looking ahead, it’s no surprise that League of Legends is still at the forefront of his mind.

Gori’s experience of playing across the LCK, LPL, and LCS means that he has a holistic understanding of the game, for different regions have different playstyles

After retirement, he hopes to be a coach as he continues to pursue his undying love for League of Legends.

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