Get to Know Echo Fox's World Champion Looper
In front of a screaming crowd of 40,000 in Seoul, South Korea, Hyeong-Seok “Looper” Jang and Samsung Galaxy White took down Star Horn Royal Club in an electrifying four game series to become the Season 4 World Champions. After a breakout season with Samsung Galaxy White, Looper became a dominant presence in the top lane that was known across the world. Known for inventive Teleport usage, creative pocket-picks like Singed, and strong mechanical play, Looper was a player any team would be happy to have.
Born and raised in Seoul, Looper has always loved gaming. He would constantly play games with friends in his free time. Once League became popular in Korea, Looper’s friends soon started playing, convincing him to give them game a try. Looper started out playing every role but found out over time that he played best when he was in the top lane. To further learn his chosen role, he also learned to play jungle because of the impact it had on top lane. Before Looper began his career in the professional scene, he became known as a Singed one-trick in Korean solo queue.
In June of 2013, Looper signed with his first professional team, MVP Ozone, as a substitute top laner. The team would rebrand to Samsung Galaxy Ozone before qualifying for the Season 3 World Championships. Looper would actually make his professional debut in California on the biggest stage League of Legends has to offer, subbing in for Homme during the group stage.
Even though Ozone were favorites going into the tournament, they were unable to escape their difficult groups. A 5-3 record to end group stage forced them into a tie-breaker match with Gambit Gaming. In a stunning upset, Gambit eliminated Looper and the rest of Ozone from the event.
Searching for redemption after the poor performance, Ozone would return to Korea to play in the Champions Winter and Spring Splits. That’s when Looper became a full-time starter. A strong showing in the Winter Split helped Ozone reach the finals but the team would place second after losing to perennial powerhouse SK Telecom T1.
Samsung Galaxy Ozone looked to improve on their Winter performance but was only able to reach third place in the Spring Split. Before the Champions 2014 Summer Split, the team renamed to Samsung Galaxy White.
During the 2014 Champions Summer Split, Looper and Samsung White secured 3rd place after defeating SK Telecom T1 S in the 3rd place match. Solid placements throughout the year helped the team in the Korean Regional Qualifiers where they would defeat SK Telecom T1 K in a tiebreaker match to qualify for the 2014 World Championship.
A heavy favorite going into the World Championship, the team handled its group stage easily, going 6-0. Samsung then defeated TSM in the quarterfinals and swept its sister team, Samsung Galaxy Blue in the semi-finals.
Surprise picks like Singed and Kassadin from Looper would help propel Samsung Galaxy White over Star Horn Royal Club to become that year’s world champions. When asked about what it felt like to win Worlds, Looper responded simply, “I’m a champion.” Reaching the pinnacle of competitive League of Legends is truly a hard emotion to put into words, but Looper had earned the title with the amount of effort and practice he put in during that season. His performance in the World Championship was honored with a personalized Singed skin, Samsung White Singed.
Shortly after winning Worlds, Looper would leave Samsung and join the LPL organization Team WE Academy, which was later bought out by Master3.
Looper’s new team couldn’t repeat the success of his old one, placing ninth in the Spring Split, but requalifying for the Summer Split through the promotion tournament to requalify. In the Summer Split, Master3 finished eighth but quickly lost its first-round playoff game. Looper left the team in December of 2015 to join his former teammate Mata on Royal Never Give Up.
Royal Never Give Up, dominated the 2015 LPL Spring Split, taking first place. The team also found success at international events by making the top four at both the IEM X World Championship and the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. The team finished the Summer Split atop its group but lost the Finals to Edward Gaming.
Constant success throughout the season allowed Royal Never Give Up to qualify for the 2016 World Championship as China’s second seed. RNG scraped through the group stage and made it to quarterfinals but fell 3-1 to eventual champions SK Telecom T1.
Again, Looper would look to switch teams after the 2016 season. This time he would move to North America to play for Echo Fox. The news surprised the League community and showed Echo Fox was ready to compete against the best of the best, following the trend of North American teams bringing in star top laners like Flame and Ssumday. When Looper was asked why he came to America after playing in Korea and China, he said that Echo Fox was a good organization that plays well and gave him to the opportunity to experience living in the US, which was something he had been interested in doing.
Even though many things about North America differ from his native Korea, Looper still works to be the best. He wants to assist Echo Fox in qualifying for the World Championship as well as accomplish his personal goal of improving his English. While Looper is the only Korean on Echo Fox’s roster, he says he never gets lonely and gets along with his teammates well.
Some of the differences Looper has noticed while on Echo Fox is the new food and that now he gets more sleep and works out instead of staying up late every night playing League. Unfortunately, the addition of Looper and other players was not enough to get Echo Fox into 2017 Summer Split playoffs. The team finished in eighth place during the regular season for both the spring and summer splits.
When asked what his favorite part of being on Echo Fox is, he said, “Everything.” In another interview, Looper also stated that Echo Fox is the best team he has been on by his standards and that he hopes to stay with the organization as long as he can. Having played in three major regions of professional League of Legends, Looper has had the chance to interact with a vast number of players and fans.
When asked why he believed the game is so popular and why so many enjoy watching it competitively. He responded with “It is a very fun game. I think it is good to watch and easy to learn. People have heroes who play the game and that is awesome.”
Looper continues to make his mark in the top lane in North America through surprise pocket picks like Pantheon and Singed. While Echo Fox is done playing for the 2017 season, we hope to see Looper impress fans and players alike in 2018.