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Top
LCK

Chovy and Ruler Are The LCK’s Best Duo

Nikhil Kalro

Gen.G had a near-perfect run at the League of Legends LCK Spring Split this year, and are looking quite a formidable force in the summer too. Key to that splendid run in the spring was the fire and ice combination of Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon in the bot lane and Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk in the mid lane. This prolific partnership has slowly gained steam over time and promises unparalleled success for Gen.G, as they aim for another dominating run that they hope will culminate in crowning glory.

gen.g ruler

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND - OCTOBER 31: Gen.G's Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk competes at the League of Legends World Championship Semifinals Stage on October 31, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

During the spring split, Chovy’s steady influence was key to their improved offensive production that led to returns of 4.11 kills, 1.89 deaths and an incredible assist rate of 4, along with a KDA of 4.29 and creep score of 329.67. This was reflective in his prolific ways. Next in line was Ruler, who was equally effective, returning 3.78 kills, 1.67 deaths and 3.56 assists, along with a KDA of 4.4 and creep score of 345.78.

Chovy and Ruler have, over time, induced shivers down the spine of opponents by simply being clinical. Shivers that stem from knowing you can slip up despite being well prepared to tackle different challenges they may throw at you.

“It feels that I keep improving through the experience I gain,” Ruler told Inven Global. “I feel that I am always improving, and since I want to do that, I work hard. That’s probably why it feels that I’m always in my prime. I’m excited about how much more I can improve, and that thought makes me happy. I also have my ups and downs during practice, but I’m enjoying playing right now.

“I did say that I’ll be practicing, but I thought my performance was terrible. I was worried if I would be able to do well, but as I practiced, I gained confidence. My teamwork with Lehends improved in terms of laning, macro, and vision, so we had very positive synergy.”

The pair have operated at a different level – it’s as if they will their opponents to think the way they would like them to, and then pounce on the opportunity when their inkling is proved right. And for them to have delivered consistently over time is testimony to their game, plans and clarity of thought. It has given them great draft flexibility, especially in the bot lane.

This prolific pairing allowed them to tide over a massive crisis in the spring, when they had severe roster challenges due to Covid-19. It disrupted their rhythm, sure, but didn’t shake their belief and confidence. With all their challenges behind them, fans have got the real taste of Gen.G’s potential now as they look more powerful than ever, having stormed their way to the top of the leaderboard of the summer split.

This heady cocktail manifested itself in its current form after Gen.G crashed out of the 2021 Worlds semi-final, where they lost 2-3 to eventual champions Edward Gaming. They parted ways with mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong and brought Chovy onboard. AD Carry veteran Ruler was retained, even as Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, a familiar presence in the LCK sphere, returned to the team and filled the jungler void.

Ruler has had to take a large chunk of the responsibilities so far across the spring and summer. He signed a three-year extension in 2019 that will see him play up to the end of next summer, and hopefully beyond. He’s already one of the longest-standing players sticking to any squad in the LCK, perhaps globally too, since joining the team in 2016. Over time, he’s emerged as their biggest playmaker, someone who has been as invested in their success as anyone else. Despite all these years of managing pressure and expectation, if he’s still at the top of his game, it’s purely down to his hunger and drive to get better.

No sooner than Bdd exited, Gen.G revealed their mid lane in a glittering announcement, welcoming Chovy from Hanwha Life Esports. They’d been fourth seeds at Worlds, but had been thrashed 3-0 by T1 in the quarterfinals. It marked a sad end to one chapter for Chovy, but ushered in a new chapter. In many ways, it was a rebirth for him, because up until then, Chovy and Gen.G hadn’t won anything significant. Jokingly, it was said maybe it could be a case of two negatives making a positive. So far this year, it’s been a fine journey.

Chovy has been a journeyman of sorts, the experiences over time shaping his journey along the way. From a diffident individual at Griffin, he established himself as one of LCK’s rising stars. A strong-rookie split in his second year allowed him an opportunity to re-sign with Griffin. Since then, teams started taking note of his performances and he has travelled,  first to DRX in 2020, then Hanwha in 2021, before landing on Gen.G’s shores. It’s unlikely he’s headed to another home anytime soon, because it’s here he has finally been able to not just carve a niche but leave an imprint.

That Gen.G trusted him to extend a deal beyond the current year tells you the confidence they have in the mid laner. In his very first split with Gen.G, Chovy led the team to a prolific score line that culminated in their second-placed finish with a 15-3 record before they lost to T1 in the spring finals. That first split performance was enough for everyone to see Chovy has championship potential.

This combined with Ruler, whose flaw seemingly is his refusal to play mages when they are meta, promises to deliver unprecedented returns. Where Chovy constructs his way to good form, Ruler’s eccentric play style that can catch opponents off guard, makes him a threat like few others. His manner of bringing out Ziggs in Gen.G’s opening game of the spring split was a mark of his versatility.

As individuals, they’re both cut from different cloths. They have different strengths and abilities to conjure magic. Both have proved their individual identities and strong persona hasn’t come in the way of team dynamics. Often when you have two prolific players – both equally in the limelight and the cynosure of everyone – there’s a tendency for the competitive streak to kick in, which could have the potential to hurt the team because then players tend to become individualistic. 

But it’s not just these two players that have contributed to Gen.G’s success this season. “Rather than saying something to them, I thought we should be in the position of a challenger since we lost at the finals in spring,” head coach Goh “Score” Dong-bin told Inven Global. “We are a team that can contend the championship if the players improve individually. I told the players that, and this thought was already in their heads. I believe they’ve improved much since that. I’ve always thought Doran and Lehends were doing well, but I don’t think they’ve reached their limits. They can improve more.”

“We finished the first round in 1st place. I hope we could do well in the second round as well so that we could keep this position. We finished Round 1 in 1st place. There were ups and downs, but we finished well. I’m satisfied that our performance was pretty good. There were many things we lacked, but I think any team can be shaky during a season. It’s regretful, but it’s natural.”

It’s credit to both Chovy and Ruler that they have only superbly complemented each other’s skill sets to deliver the thrills for Gen.G. It started off as an unlikely pairing before turning into one of the most prolific pairings in LCK history. If they continue in the same vein as they have so far, it’s only a matter of time that their partnership – with a few parallels – transcend borders to make them world-beaters.