When Evil Geniuses promoted 17-year-old Joseph “jojopyun” Joon Pyun to the LCS starting roster, fans were both confused and hyped.
Here is a kid who used to play Fortnite professionally, quit that to play League of Legends seriously, reached rank 1 on the NA ladder, and is now a starter in the LCS.
“Meteoric rise” doesn’t even begin to describe his trajectory, but who is jojopyun and why did Evil Geniuses take such a huge risk on him over established LCS mids like Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro?
On Summoning Insight, a talk show hosted by Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles and Duncan “Thorin” Shields, Evil Geniuses’ head of coaching staff Peter Dun revealed the reasons behind why the org promoted the rookie and why he’s expected to be a “top three LCS mid, assuming Jensen and Jiizuke were in teams”.
Evil Geniuses’ jojopyun gained fame stream-sniping and beating Fornite streamer Tfue 1v1
In 2019, when jojopyun was only 14 years old, he made a name for himself for not only stream-sniping known Fortnite players like Turner “Tfue” Tenney, but also challenging them to 1v1s and beating them.
Back then, you could already tell that he was brash, yet confident, with skills to back up his talk as well.
This brashness would take him right to the top of the NA solo queue ladder, which he achieved 18 months ago. This was when Peter Dun first noticed him.
“The thing that stands out is how aggressive he plays the game,” he said. “He’s new to League of Legends, but he is this good despite not knowing anything.”
Peter is only slightly exaggerating when he says this. He shared an anecdote about when the team was reviewing their LCS Lock In 2022 final against Team Liquid, and the mid laner blurted, “Wait, Gangplank’s barrels can crit?”
The team was speechless after that. However, his teammates, notably star jungler Kacper “Inspired” Słoma, still believed in his ability.
Inspired had previously mentioned in an interview with The Click that he “was looking into a team that will either import a mid laner or have someone like Jojo who they believe will be very good.”
EG have high expectations for jojopyun
Despite jojopyun’s inexperience, EG are still aiming to qualify for Worlds, for they expect their prodigy to be a top three mid laner in North America, according to Peter.
Some may ask if this is too much pressure to heap on a 17-year-old, but Peter and the rest of EG’s management are confident that he is ready. “We sent [jojopyun and Kyle ‘Danny’ Sakamaki] to Europe to bootcamp to see if his base level was high enough… Asian teams were offering EG scrims because they thought we sent our entire team there, [and] were so impressed by [them] in solo queue,” according to Peter.
“That was when we sat up and took notice,” Peter continued. “The plan for Jojo was to send him to ERL for a year if he wasn’t ready… but because of the improvements he made, we thought he was ready for the step up.”
Only time will tell if EG’s gamble pays off, but it is definitely refreshing to see a rookie who is this aggressively confident, both on stage and on Twitter.