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Golden Guardians acquires Dignitas jungler Kim ‘River’ Dong-woo

A mid-season trade between Dignitas and Golden Guardians, which saw the departure of South Korean star jungler Kim “River” Dong-woo to Golden Guardians, reportedly took place this month. The details of the deal were not disclosed.

The news was only reported this week after the League of Legends Global Contract Database updated his name under a new banner. The database, which was updated on July 26, also provides River’s contract information that holds him to remain with the organization owned by the NBA team Golden State Warriors until November 19, 2024.

Following the database update, both teams took on Twitter to confirm River’s trade and are looking forward to facing each other in the League Championship Series (LCS).

River moves to Golden Guardians

River was signed by Dignitas in November last year. The team had picked him straight after a stellar career with Taiwanese powerhouse team PSG Talon. Shortly after PSG Talon, River, and the North American team were only limited to the seventh position in the 2022 LCS Spring — arguably a massive drop in performance from a team who finished third over Cloud9 in the 2022 LCS Lock-In.

Releasing River means that Dignitas must soon find his replacement, and the team does not have many options at hand. The only junglers available at the moment are Academy player Lawrence “eXyu” Xu as well as newly signed Perry “Perry” Norman.

In this year’s LCS Summer, Dignitas remains unable to bounce back after posting four consecutive defeats. The team’s 2-9 win-loss record is also quite concerning. Both Dignitas and Team SoloMid are at great risk of being eliminated from the Championship.

Since there are still three weeks remaining on the calendar, Dignitas might be able to enter the Championship only if they could bump up their win-loss to 9-9 — which is not a small feat to start with, assuming both TSM and Immortals are unable to crank up theirs.

As for Golden Guardians, the team is sitting comfortably in the seventh position over Immortals. They could make it into the Championship should they maintain consistency throughout the remaining weeks of the competition. The team is now recording two consecutive defeats, which were sustained in Week 5 from FlyQuest and C9. Despite this, their 4-7 record should be slightly enough to keep elimination at bay.

It remains unclear whether River will quickly join the team’s starting lineup and make it in time before the tournament concludes. If the South Korean pro were to make an appearance in the LCS Summer, the team would have to drop fellow jungler Milo “Pridestalker” Wehnes to the organization’s academy team, Guardians Academy.

Signing River could also mean that Golden Guardians was looking for ways to fix its jungler department, and River, named Player of the Games four times during his stint with Dignitas, was likely the ideal jungler for them.

Even before moving to the North American team, River has made his name known on the international scene with PSG Talon. He helped the Taiwanese team to the semifinals of the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. They almost won the title and their only obstacle at the time was the ambitious Chinese team Royal Never Give Up.