Today, CLG regrettably announces Zach “Nien” Malhas’ decision to step down from his role as the team’s starting top laner. In conversation with team management yesterday, Nien expressed that he is not satisfied with his own performance, feels he is holding the team back, and does not presently feel he is deserving of a starting position on the team. He also noted that the community’s intense criticism of his play and general attacks towards him had become increasingly taxing mentally, and damaging to his confidence as a player over time. On top of this, he has had some family matters arise which he feels the need to be able to dedicate more time and attention to. He will be leaving the house and returning home to focus on improving himself individually as a player and spending more time with his family.
For more insight into his decision, you can see Nien’s interview with Travis of onGamers here.
Nien has agreed to stay on the roster as a sub and is open to returning to the starting role in the future if the team cannot find a suitable replacement. CLG now begins its search for a new starter in preparations for the LCS NA Summer Split and World Championships. The team is looking for a career top laner to replace Nien, but has also discussed the possibility of moving Link to top lane and replacing him with a proven, exceptional mid lane talent.
To learn more about the team’s approach moving forward, check out Travis' interview with the team captain, Peter "Doublelift" Peng, here at onGamers.
CLG would like to thank Nien for his time with the team as a starter. He has shown a remarkable attitude and desire to improve himself as a player. He has been fundamental in the team’s improvement over the Spring Split and CLG’s return to competitive prominence in North America. Most importantly he is a great friend. We respect his decision and will continue to support him moving forward. We hope to see him regain his confidence and return to LCS soon.