Who is Thanatos? The South Korean Prodigy Pursued by Several Elite Clubs

Who is Thanatos? The South Korean Prodigy Pursued by Several Elite Clubs

7. April 2024 by Valentin Pasetti

Park “Thanatos” Seung-gyu is set to justify all the hype surrounding him in the latter half of 2024. As revealed by Brieuc “LEC Wooloo” Seeger, a journalist from Sheep Esports, Cloud9 is poised to sign the South Korean top laner – who also garnered interest from Karmine Corp – as a replacement for Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami.

Currently, the North American organization has reportedly only reached a verbal agreement with the rookie, whom they desire after failing to qualify for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) in 2024. For followers of South Korean League of Legends, this is a pivotal move as the prospect has long been knocking on the doors of the elite.

Thanatos’s Brief Career Path

Thanatos is a player who has been honing his skills throughout his career at Dplus KIA. In September 2020, he joined the South Korean club, starting off in the academy, and within three months, he made the leap to the second team, the Challengers.

It’s worth noting that beyond the League of Legends Championship Korea (LCK), the lower leagues are divided into the Second Division (Challengers League) and the academy league, which would be akin to the Second Division B or the Third Division. Throughout his career, the prospect has had excellent role models in the first team to look up to: Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Kim “Khan” Dong-ha.

Since his debut, the rookie has been crowned champion of the Kespa Cup 2021 and the Challengers League on two occasions: in the Spring Splits of 2022 and 2023.

However, what excites fans of South Korean League of Legends is that he not only succeeds collectively but also individually. He was the standout player in both finals he won, the MVP of the KeSPA, and was voted the best top laner in the last Summer Split.

The Top Laner’s Playstyle

Thanatos is a player who stands out for being mechanically superior compared to his opponents. He fits the ‘classic’ South Korean top laner prototype, favoring champions like Renekton and Gnar, and excelling in autonomous play through the side lanes.

While he may not have the wide champion pool of Nuguri, he closely resembles the early stages of the world champion before making the leap to the elite. In the last Summer Split, he amassed a total of 16 solo kills, showcasing his dominance with duelists like Jax.

One of the most important aspects within the Challengers League is that Thanatos not only excelled due to his playstyle but also due to the ‘few’ resources he needed to gain advantages.

In the season he was awarded the best top laner of the Second Division, he only received 21.3% of Dplus KIA’s total gold because the team was more focused on giving attention to Cho “Rahel” Min-seong to cover him. However, these factors do not negate the need for him to still refine his performance with weak side champions like K’Sante or Ornn and recognize when he is overextending.

Ascending to the Elite After ‘Disappearing’ from Dplus KIA

Thanatos’s talent has led LCK experts like Jaume “MindFreak” Marcet to repeatedly assert that he is ready for the elite. However, the top laner did not feature in Dplus KIA’s plans for 2024.

The rookie had to witness the current jungler of the first team, Choi “Lucid” Yong-hyeok (MVP of the Second Division), being promoted from the subsidiary. Instead, he not only did not ascend but also did not play in the last Spring Split of the Challengers League.

Furthermore, the handling of the top laner’s case is not limited to Dplus KIA’s plans in 2024, as it also extends to 2023. Last summer, Kim “Canna” Chang-dong was one of the main focal points of criticism from the fans due to the performance of the South Korean team.

Faced with this situation, the organization did not decide to give way to Thanatos to test his performance throughout the Summer Split. Instead, they tried to integrate Yoon “Bible” Seol into the dynamics of the first team as a substitute for Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu.

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Therefore, if the signing by Cloud9 is confirmed, Thanatos will make his debut for the first time in his career in a Premier Division. Just like Team Vitality’s top laner, Kyeong “Photon” Gyu-tae, did: in a Western region, far from his home country.

The rookie will presumably be accompanied by his compatriot Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu, who according to Sheep Esports, will return to the North American organization as a replacement for Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre.

The Spaniard would bid farewell to C9 after a second stint of a year and a half – he was also the team’s coach in 2021 – and Fudge, the affected party by the arrival of the South Korean, after three and a half years since joining the first team.

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