ROX Tigers, the team that placed second at Worlds last year and top four this year, have disbanded after player contracts expired.
Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho, Lee "KurO" Seo-haeng, Kim "PraY" Jong-in, and Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon have all seemingly left the team after their contracts expired on November 25th. Over the weekend all four players posted some kind of goodbye message, with both GorillA and PraY confirming that they have left the team. Smeb and KurO did not confirm that they have left the team but it does at this point look quite likely.
The final starting member of the ROX Tigers Han "Peanut" Wang-ho is still under contract until November 30th, so is yet to make an announcement. He has however hinted that he will also leave the team.
It is currently unclear what is next for the players or the team. The four players whose contracts have expired already are the founding members of the team, and with four founding members leaving it looks unlikely that the Tigers organisation will field a team next year, especially as they have no major sponsor.
"There’s so much I want to write, but I’m not too good with my writing skills, so I don’t think I’ll be able to say everything I want," said PraY on Facebook. "We went through a lot during two years, and to my teammates who worked tirelessly through it, [I want to say] thank you so much. For the fans that cheered us on through thick and thin, I want to say thanks."
This is certainly the end of a Korean powerhouse. ROX came second at Worlds in 2015, losing out to SKT in the final, and finished 3rd/4th this year, again losing to SKT but this time in the semi final that became an instant classic. Despite not winning worlds they have always been a top team, and came into worlds as the number one Korean seed after winning the LCK.