After the departure of Yuta "YUTA INOUE" Inoue (formerly ReyCyil) from NORA-Rengo, the Japanese titans have signed Tomohisa "Simotuki" Imoto, formerly of the DetonatioN Gaming, GUTS Gaming, and the NORA-Rengo Junior rosters.
Simotuki came onto the scene in Season 9, when the NORA-Rengo J roster left the organisation to form GUTS Gaming. Qualifying for the Challenger League, Simotuki and GUTS Gaming ended the season with a 9-0-1 record, five points clear of second, and qualified to the Pro League for Season 10.
In the Pro League, Simotuki enjoyed a strong first season, with his team challenging the incumbents of NORA-Rengo, Cyclops Athlete Gaming (CAG), and FAV Gaming well enough. The team would eventually finish in third place, a mere three points behind NORA-Rengo in second, with Simotuki rated the best player on his team and the sixth-best in all of Japan.
Then leaving GUTS, Simotuki went on to join DetonatioN Gaming (DNG) for Season 11 of the Pro League, but did not enjoy the same level of success despite early signs -- most notably a near-win against CAG in the Six Invitational 2020 Japan qualifier -- pointing to a surprisingly high finish. DNG eventually finished the league in fifth, three points behind CAG, with Simotuki only rated 1.04 across the season.
After DetonatioN Gaming disbanded following a failure to make it into the APAC North league, Simotuki has now signed with NORA-Rengo.
This move comes as the Japanese squad prepares to kick off the new APAC North league in little over a month's time, where they will face the best teams in Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. NORA-Rengo will also compete in the team's very first national event, the biggest national league by prize money in the world, the Season 1 Finals of the Japan Nationals.
NORA-Rengo has failed to win a game at every international events it attended since the Six Invitational 2019, where it finished joint-third. At the Season 9 Finals, the Raleigh Major, and the OGA PIT Minor, the closest the team got was against a weak MIBR but had been forced to play with their owner and coach Yasuhiro "kizoku" Nishi.
Most recently, they also fell to third place in Japan during Season 11, a new low for the team. Had the APAC Finals not been canceled, it would have marked the first season that NORA-Rengo would not have been at the seasonal event. However, the team had been in much more dire straits before the addition of Ar7hur from Ninjas in Pyjamas, and it is likely that much of this turnaround can be attributed to him.
Now, with Simotuki added and Ar7hur continuing to make improvments, catch this new lineup in action on the 6th of June in the Japan Nationals Finals:
Tsukasa "Merieux" Asano
Toya "Papilia" Miyazawa
Yoshifumi "YoshiNNGO" Yukimori
Atsushi "SouLBoi" Yano
Tomohisa "Simotuki" Imoto
Arthur "Ar7hur" Schubert (head coach)
Yasuhiro "kizoku" Nishi (coach)
Hitoshi "Jinku" Okada (analyst)