Counter Logic Gaming owner discusses departure from starting lineup

Founding member and owner of League of Legends team George "HotshotGG" Georgallidis discusses stepping down from the squad's starting lineup.


Earlier this week, founding member and owner of League of Legends team Counter Logic Gaming, George "HotshotGG" Georgallidis, announced his departure from the team's starting lineup. The team's support player, Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black, is also leaving the team and organization completely.

No Caption Provided

Previous CLG member Michael "bigfatlp" Tang will join the starting lineup in the jungler role, and former team MRN AD carry Zach "Nientonsoh" Malhas will be playing in the top lane, with Steve "Chauster" Chau taking over support duties.

HotshotGG spoke to GameSpot regarding the decision to step down, and the future of Counter Logic Gaming.

Whose decision was it to have you step down from the team and why was that decision made?

It was my idea and decision to step down from a starting role on CLG. After being a professional player for over three years and as CLG grows, my aspirations and what I feel is best for the company have shifted. While I still enjoy being a competitor, the intense schedule of LCS has created more disconnect between the team and its fans I can help remedy not being tied to a starter's schedule. This, coupled with my desire to become more involved in the industry side of eSports and my confidence of the potential of the team moving forward, all contributed to this decision.

How do your teammates feel about the decision?

This topic is something that I have brought up in the past, but the real barrier ever keeping this from happening was a lack of talent in the NA scene making it difficult to fill my spot on the starting roster. Since LCS began, however, we have seen the talent level of the NA scene increase dramatically making a change like this possible. My team knows I have the organization's and in turn, their best interests in mind, so they support me completely with this decision.

What role will you have with CLG beyond being a member of the team?

Aside from being a sub for the team, I will also be acting as a coach helping Nientonsoh learn his new role. I will also be putting much more focus on streaming, community interaction, as well as pursuing other special projects within the organization. Things such as potentially starting a challenger circuit team under the CLG banner.

"My team knows I have the organization's and in turn, their best interests in mind, so they support me completely with this decision."

How do you think you'll be able to assist the team as its new coach?

As a professional player and a member of CLG for three years, I have great insight into how LoL is played at the highest level and how CLG interacts. It's often much easier to provide objective feedback when you're not a player on the team yourself. Of course, in most cases professional players know more about the games they play than their coaches (in eSports at least), but knowledge isn't what makes the coach valuable. His ability to objectively and properly asses the teams strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be addressed moving forward is what's important. I will be putting most of my focus into help Nientonsoh learn top lane and reach the level of potential CLG sees in him.

Being both a founding member of the team, as well as its owner, how hard was it to step down from the team?

It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to be honest. Playing professionally is very stressful, especially when you're under as much scrutiny as I am. CLG had a bumpy road in LCS this season, and there weren't as many highlights as I would have liked. I’m excited to keep contributing to the team in other ways and watch these guys take back our spot at the top of the NA scene.

As someone who helped pioneer the professional League of Legends eSports scene, what do you think your stepping down as a player means for the current LoL eSports ecosystem?

I think we're getting pretty close to the point that every eSports scene sees after it has been around long enough. Eventually, the first wave of superstar players begins to move out of the spotlight as a new crop of talent emerges. Players like WildTurtle, Bjergsen, and Flame are all emerging as perhaps the leaders of this next new wave of talent. I suspect I won't be the last of these 'OG' LoL pros to transition from our roles as starters over the course of Season 3.

Can you give me any of the details behind Aphromoo's decision to leave the team?

We had originally planned for Aphromoo to take over my spot top lane when I stepped down. Unfortunately, after several weeks spamming top and taking a short break after this Spring Split of LCS, he decided his heart just wasn't in top lane. Aphromoo is a great player and has the talent to play many roles, but he'd prefer to play AD if he's going to play on a team professionally. Unfortunately, the one role that really isn't up for debate on CLG is AD.

Do you think that Nientonsoh will be able to perform better as a toplane player on CLG than you currently can?

Obviously the team's success in regards to winning is paramount to everything else. We wouldn't have made this move if we didn't think Nientonsoh had the potential to become a better player than myself. He has great mechanics, understanding of the game, and most importantly, ambition. Will he be better than me by the start of LCS? Very unlikely, but as we saw in the last split, with the current format of LCS, seeding going into the playoffs has very little impact on final results.

Bigfatlp has always been a mid-laner professionally. Why decide to put him in the jungle role for the team?

Jiji really proved himself over the course of the Spring split. He single-handedly built Azure Cats from nothing to a team that was capable of competing at the LCS level consistently. He has always been a great teammate and held great understanding of the game. While he has always played mid lane, his strongest attributes translate very well to the jungle role.

"Obviously the team's success in regards to winning is paramount to everything else. We wouldn't have made this move if we didn't think Nientonsoh had the potential to become a better player than myself."

Bigfatlp previously did not live in the CLG gaming house. Will both he and Nien be moving in prior to the start of the LCS or will either of them continue to practice with the team remotely?

Jiji and Nien will both be moving to the CLG house as soon as Doublelift returns to the US from All Stars in China. The team will immediately begin scrimming in preparation for the next split of LCS.

With the new lineup, including you as a coach, how should fans expect CLG to perform both in the short term and the long term?

To be honest, we're going to have to wait and see. This roster was put in place with Season 3 World Finals in mind. Ultimately, there is definitely some grooming that needs to take place before we are ready to compete on the World's stage, but sometimes things just click (like WildTurtle on TSM). Ultimately, everyone on this roster has played competitively with at least one other person on the team before. CLG fixed a lot of small details which ultimately had a large impact on results right at the end of the last split, so there's a chance we could see CLG charge out of the gates as a force to be reckoned with.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your fans and CLG fans around the world?

First and most importantly, the number one take away people should get from this is that I am in no way 'going away' or diminishing my involvement or visibility in CLG. If anything, this change will hopefully create more connection between me, the team, and our fans! I'd also like to thank all of our supporters, especially our fans, sponsors, (Razer, AzubuTV, XMG, iBUYPOWER, ELOBUFF) and Riot. Without you none of this would be possible.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 50 comments about this story
50 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for veryready

CLG Maknoon

Avatar image for Ziaun99

well i cant call me a fan of hotshot, properly quite the opposite:). but one thing i cant take from the man, is he has evolved and matured, with his team in such a large scale i no longer would not call me a fan, but maybe a hipster,, but i personaly think that the community in LoL, have been after him like a witch hunt, i could find plays from dyrius, or someone else decent top laner that have a decline in preformence, in the amout of time, that hotshott have had problems adapting, not to mention in the european scene we have had a huge downfall from one of our top teams, and they havent gotten that much hate either... its not like we havent seen him decline in some ways of his plays, and i got the feeling from hotshott, that atm, he barely could open reddit, on a forum that he also has promoted to the state the league part have today, without getting thoose hate messeges... i hope that clg, can have some footing back with their fans, and get up to the point, where we see hotshott with a smile doing interviews, and being his cocky self, that i hate:P where he keeps saying clg will own and so on:).. but a salut for one of the greatest gamer icons, and i hope aswell as wish, with you as clgs coach you can head the ship back into powerhouse you have had:). GLHF and wp hotshottnidaleegg;)

Avatar image for consoletroll

Any body remember the movie " the Wizard" with fred savage? now that was a competition! Am i right guys?

Avatar image for CBN16

As a gamer, e"Sports" sicken me.

Avatar image for Keatz_

@CBN16 Right, so you make a (negative) statement without any reasoning whatsoever on a comment feed in which most of the viewers enjoy the eSpots scene, or at least the LoL scene. Get out troll.

Avatar image for GoHaN_Buu

Probably too scrub to compete, mad cuz bad

Avatar image for CBN16

@GoHaN_Buu I don't even play League of Legends...

Avatar image for GeorgeSyll

@CBN16 Well everyone needs a sport that matches their daily interests, right? Nerds including. Pathetic really....

Avatar image for consoletroll

don't give a rats ass about watching a boring ass ugly game being played competitively. The whole e-sports things blows my mind. To each his own i guess.

Avatar image for GoHaN_Buu

You obviously care since you took time to voice a useless opinion. I don't get Down syndrome retards sometimes

Avatar image for wilhelmalexis


Avatar image for Uruca

Why not Megazero for top?

Avatar image for WhiteStormy

I love how eSports pro-gamers try to look as tough and badass as possible in their pictures. lol

Avatar image for Xenro4

@WhiteStormy You would try to look weak and nerdy?

Avatar image for WantYouBad

@Xenro4 @WhiteStormy They don't have to try.

Avatar image for bongsyas_23

not a shit was given that day

Avatar image for GoHaN_Buu

One was basing on your useless opinion

Avatar image for lostn

So this latest roster change will make you better than you were.. it's for the best of the team. Right. Haven't heard that one before. DBL has been saying this on every roster change for a year now.

DBL and Chau are going to have to carry 3 other players now, even harder than before.

Avatar image for acelogan1989

doesn't care

Avatar image for iMagrock

You've done so much for eSports with CLG Hotshot. You are the one who made me and many more interested in the LoL community and eSports. I hope you start streaming, because I miss your stream. You will always be the face of LoL for me and many other players who followed LoL eSports from start. Respect.

Avatar image for TohouAsura


Next article.

Avatar image for Hayasmez

@TohouAsura Whoa, fascinating comment. 10/10

Avatar image for Hayasmez

Nientonsoh was a beast as ADC, can't wait to see what he can do top lane.

Avatar image for Kr3isen

As much as i like Hotshot this doesnt really come as a surprise to me. For a long time now i feel like hes been underperforming, or maybe he just couldnt keep up with some of the new talent?

Regardless which one it is i wish him the best of luck and hopefully this will mean great things for the team in the long run.

Avatar image for thwallochi

@Kr3isen CLG now have a Coach that plays in the team since day 1 and own the team . Best Coach.

Avatar image for WantYouBad

In other news here in Colorado everytime the Rockies win Papa Johns pizza is 40% off! Gonna be a lot of fat people after the end of the baseball season!

Avatar image for eriktkire

@WantYouBad now that's a good deal

Avatar image for MasterOfSprites

@WantYouBad Assuming the Rockies will win any games.

Avatar image for PanaC_

- said nobody ever

Avatar image for meatz666

@PanaC_ You giggle, come on... At least a bit? I play LoL, I mock because I can... :)

Avatar image for meatz666

@Kr3isen @meatz666 @PanaC_ Tell me a joke and enlighten my comedic skills, please?

Avatar image for meatz666

@williebazerka @Kr3isen Thx, willie. Nice to see that somebody can still give a laugh in here. I don't remember people doing SNES/Genesis jokes in my school. Video games were the BOMB during that time...

Avatar image for williebazerka

@Kr3isen I thought it was pretty funny meatz666 but Kr3isen didn't get the joke.

Avatar image for Kr3isen

@meatz666 @PanaC_ Such gf jokes are some gradescool shit. Nobody who is of age would think that is even remotely funny.

Avatar image for BravoOneActual

The article about Biden telegraphing yet another tax that'll be rammed down our throats in the false interest of the greater good gets seventy, or so, words.

This gets fourteen paragraphs +/-, not including questions.


I will say these guys have super cool handles, though.

I mean really, really cool.

Yep. Cool...

Avatar image for PanaC_

@BravoOneActual You're right, these game-news writers should really focus on the real issues

Avatar image for diox990

I hope you the best for you Hotshot and CLG, amazing player, sad to see him go

Avatar image for slake1019
slake1019 legend <3

Avatar image for Tuckpoint

I would expect LoL fans to be interested in these gamer articles, but I just don't see how their interesting enough to give a crap about. Stepping down so a better player can take your spot seems like common sense to me? As to what drama these gamers create screaming at each other, any CoD lobby supplies the same material.

Avatar image for PanaC_

@Tuckpoint These gamers don't create drama screaming at each other...The levels of professionalism between the pro-LoL scene and the pro-CoD scene couldn't be any farther apart actually.

Avatar image for Roryx9

@Tuckpoint The main reasonn behind this article is that the player that is stepping down is one of the largest contributors to LEague of Legends eSports, he has been there for a very long time and founded CLG (the current oldest LoL professional team). It's not like he is some random player stepping down. A lot of people were interested in knowing the exact reasons as to why he stepped down.

Avatar image for dark_lord_havoc

@Roryx9 @Tuckpoint I was going to write this same thing. The move itself is common sense, but Hotshot is an icon in the LoL scene and his contributions to its e-sports following deserves some recognition.

Avatar image for MAD_AI

More people seem to be interested in this than the XBone articles or any other news judging by the number of people listening.

Avatar image for HowlPendragon

What is this?

Avatar image for JudgeSim

@HowlPendragon a popular player from the most popular game on earth. back to collecting pokemon you go.

Avatar image for HowlPendragon

@JudgeSim @HowlPendragon Sure I'll just be minding my own life while you continue to glorify someone else's

You got me real good there.

Avatar image for WhiteStormy

@HowlPendragon Just a "professional gamer". Nothing to see here.

Avatar image for Hayasmez

@WhiteStormy @HowlPendragon Gee, somthing doing somthing they love for a living. Can't have that can we now?

Avatar image for TohouAsura

@Hayasmez @WhiteStormy @HowlPendragon NOPE.

Avatar image for youps