Members of Heo "pawN" Wonseok's QQ fan group have posted screenshots of messages from him that heavily imply he is looking to join a strong Korean team for the 2017 season. He confirmed the sentiment in an interview with Big Esports Magazine.
After the announcement that pawN and teammate Kim "Deft" Hyukkyu would leave Chinese team EDward Gaming, Deft publicly stated his preference for joining a Korean team, but pawN was more reserved. Members of the community, notably Chinese caster Xu "Joker" Fei, stated that pawN had offers from LSPL and other LPL teams, and believed he would likely stay in China despite leaving EDG.
The recent screenshots of pawN's QQ fan group announcement, however, suggest that pawN has decided to leave China and look for a strong Korean team like his former teammate Deft. The transcript reads in a combination of Chinese pinyin and English:
"Zzz. Thank you. Bye bye. Wait for me to win Season 7 [Worlds]. I think I must win. I go to a korean team. Now talk many strong korea team [sic]. Don't worry me [sic]. Bye bye."
Tuwan, a Chinese media website, posted their own screenshots on Weibo, authenticating the source. In the interview with Big Esports Magazine, pawN confirmed that he will return to Korea, at least for a short time, and is looking at offers from Korean teams, but he also expressed that a return to Korea may not be certain. No matter what, pawN said he will fight for a 2017 World Championship victory. pawN also stated in the interview that he enjoyed his time with EDward Gaming and his life in China. He said that he would take the opportunity to come to China again.
pawN's recent statements make him the third Samsung player after Deft and Cho "Mata" Sehyeong to explicitly express an interest in returning to South Korea to win Worlds. Members of both the Chinese and Korean League of Legends esports scene have suggested that the increase in prize pool from skin sales starting this year may serve as an incentive for skilled Korean players to seek to remain in or return to LCK teams.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.