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YellOwStaR retires from professional League of Legends

by Daniel Rosen Oct 19 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of EU LCS / lolesports flickr

Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim has retired from professional League of Legends and is leaving Fnatic, the organization announced Wednesday.

"Legends aren’t born, they are created by hard work and dedication. One of Fnatic’s biggest legacies is Bora “Yellowstar” Kim, a player who’s helped shape not only Fnatic, but Western League of Legends eSports over the past six years," Fnatic stated in a press release.

"His in-game leadership has been praised by his teammates and is honored by numerous achievements and MVP awards. Even outside Summoner’s Rift, Yellowstar found ways to inspire players and fans alike.

"It’s hard to imagine an LCS Split without Yellowstar but today we are sad to announce Bora’s retirement from competitive League of Legends after 6 incredible seasons and 3.5 years with Fnatic."

Following Fnatic's announcement, YellOwStaR posted a statement to Facebook in which he addressed the LoL community and esports as a whole, telling his fans after almost four years of professional LoL and his time before that playing WarCraft III, he's "exhausted."

"I'm now 24, and to be completely honest with you, I am feeling more and more exhausted after hours of playing," YellOwStaR wrote. "Everything has become more difficult to do for the last few months even though my inner motivation is still as strong as on the first day — that I can promise you.

"Back in 2014 when I was having second thoughts, I turned to my loved ones for advices and they told me to pursue my dreams as long as I was genuinely happy doing it."

YellOwStaR is considered one of the best European League of Legends players of all time, as well as one of the most accomplished Western LoL players in the game's history. He has participated in five World Championships with three different teams, and has qualified for seven LCS finals across two regions — winning five of them — in his six-year career.

"I have been praised, I have been criticized. I have had a lot of success, but a lot of failures too," YellOwStaR stated on Facebook. "Looking back today, accepting the criticisms that have been thrown my way and learning from them, I wouldn’t change a thing. I cannot be more thankful for all the memories we forged together throughout the years."

YellOwStaR started his career on against All authority as an AD Carry (though he is more known today for his support play), with whom he placed second at the first LoL World Championship. He then briefly played for Millenium before re-joining aAa for IEM Season VI, left for Millennium again, then joined SK Gaming and qualified for Season 2 Worlds, though the team was unable to make it out of the group stage.

In January 2013, YellOwStaR joined Fnatic and helped them qualify for the first EU LCS split. He would stick with Fnatic for two years, leading the team to victory in five splits and qualifying for two more World Championships — notably finishing in the Top 4 at Worlds in 2015 — before leaving for North America.

YellOwStaR joined Team SoloMid's all-star lineup in December 2015, but the supposed super team was having problems. A rocky 9-9 record in the 2015 NA LCS Spring Split made many write TSM off going into the playoffs, but they managed to pull out a second place finish, defeating Cloud9 3-1 and Immortals 3-0, only losing to Counter Logic Gaming in a close, 3-2 Grand Finals series.

YellOwStaR then returned to Europe and Fnatic for the remainder of the 2016 season, but found the team struggling. Fnatic placed 5th-6th in the playoffs, taking an 0-3 loss to H2k-Gaming in the quarterfinals. The team went on to place third in the European Regional Finals after yet another 3-0 loss, this time to the Unicorns of Love. The loss meant that the sixth World Championship would be the first that YellOwStaR would not attend as a player.

Fnatic has not yet announced exactly how it plans to fill YellOwStaR's shoes for the 2017 Spring Split, but Johan "Klaj" Olsson is still signed to the team as support sub. Klaj started as support for the team for much of the spring split, while YellOwStaR was playing for Team SoloMid.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.