Former H2K Gaming AD carry Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou signed with League of Legends European Championship team FC Schalke 04 Esports on Tuesday after a forced absence from competition due to mandatory military service, league sources told ESPN.
FORG1VEN joins a Schalke team that will make significant changes during the 2019-20 offseason in the coming weeks. On Monday, former Schalke support Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun came to terms with League Championship Series team FlyQuest and AD carry Elias "Upset" Lipp signed a new deal with Origen.
The team agreed to terms for an one-year extension with top laner Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu on Monday, but still remain in the market for a jungler and support. Schalke mid laner Felix "Abbedagge" Braun remains under contract with the team until the end of the 2020 season.
FORG1VEN returns to the competitive League of Legends scene after he served nine months in the Hellenic Army. Greece is one of 60 countries around the world that have some form of conscription. In esports -- where South Korean competitors are frequently subject to being drafted -- few competitors have returned to compete professionally after the end of their service.
Before being drafted, FORG1VEN was considered one of the best AD carries in the world, although he was often criticized for being hard on his teammates and disrupting team environments.
In the spring of 2018, FORG1VEN competed with Origen in the amateur European Masters tournament, before Astralis Group acquired them and the team re-entered the professional scene. The team -- comprising FORG1VEN and former pros Henrik "Froggen" Hansen, Choi "inSec" In-seok and others -- won the 2018 European Masters Spring Main Event.
During his time as a pro, FORG1VEN competed for Copenhagen Wolves, SK Gaming, Gambit Gaming and H2K Gaming. He qualified for his only League of Legends World Championship in 2016 with H2K, where they went on to qualify for playoffs and advance to the semifinals. FORG1VEN reunites with Odoamne; they competed together with the worlds-qualifying H2K team. They were then eliminated by Samsung Galaxy in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York.
In 2019, Schalke finished seventh in the spring and fourth in the summer regular seasons. During the summer, the team finished third in the playoffs and then third in the regional gauntlet, just two series short of qualifying for the world championship.