Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include solo’s response to the news and include his statement about not deciding on retirement.
After their loss to Fnatic in the VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 2: Masters Reykjavik, NURTURN’s in-game leader Kang “solo” Keun-chul announced his potential retirement. The 30-year-old player is a veteran of the Korean tactical shooter community. He competed in the different iterations of Counter-Strike for some of Korea’s top teams before jumping into VALORANT in 2020.
“Although I’d like to play until I am 40 years old, it’s really not that feasible and just between the players and I told them today that this tournament is going to be my last,” solo said through a translator in the post-game press conference.
— NUTURN Gaming (@NuturnG) May 29, 2021
Solo’s career in VALORANT before potential retirement
Solo competed in various FPS esports for 16 years before his retirement on May 29. He started his career in Counter-Strike in 2005, according the Liquidpedia. In those days, he won various early tournaments like IEF 2008 and the IEM IV Asian Championship Finals. He was a strong competitor in his own region and outside of it at points. On e-STRO he placed second at the second Intel Extreme Masters World Championships. In that tournament, his team stomped through the upper bracket against various European teams, eventually falling to mouseports. His last event in the Valve esport was the Asia Minor Championship in Katowice in 2019.
He jumped into VALORANT in 2020 with an amateur squad and then joined PROPARTY, which was then acquired by NUTURN in 2021. With PROPARTY he reached the quarterfinals of the First Strike: Korea tournament. On NUTURN, he led the squad to a second place finish in the first VCT Masters event, and eventually to the first international VALORANT LAN, Masters 2.
On the way, he conquered the team’s main competition in the region: Vision Strikers. The Masters 1 victors also recently saw the retirement of a Korean FPS legend Kim “glow” Min-soo. Both players have a storied history in the region as leaders and teammates.
Solo’s teammate Jung “peri” Bum-gi also expressed a desire to step down from the NUTURN roster, but said he would wait until the team found a suitable replacement.
Solo responded after the press conference to clarify his statement. He said that his retirement will be decided in June as he prepares for his next steps.
I tried my best and as a team, we had a great experience to play in Masters. I never forget this experience. And i didn’t decide retirement yet. But the one thing i can sure, I prepare for next step to develop myself, and my retirement issues will be decide within June.
— NUTURN solo (@solo_VLRT) May 30, 2021
“I tried my best and as a team, we had a great experience to play in Masters. I never forget this experience. And I didn’t decide retirement yet. But the one thing I can sure, I prepare for next step to develop myself, and my retirement issues will be decide within June,” solo tweeted.