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Rush returns to South Korea, Cloud9 Challenger to use Contractz, sources say

Rush competed in the North American League Championship Series spring split to mixed results. Provided by Riot Games

After a brief stint on Cloud9's Challenger lineup this summer, jungler Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae has returned to his home country of South Korea after no longer wanting to compete in the Challenger Series, sources close to the organization and the player tell ESPN.com.

In his place, the team has signed former Ember jungler Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia, who will compete with the team in its upcoming games versus fellow Challenger Eanix on Wednesday night. Contractz was originally added to the lineup on Friday, after being negotiated out of his contract with Team Nova, who purchased both Ember's spot and his contract.

The specific reasons for Rush's departure are uncertain, but sources say they stem from Riot Games enacting a new residency rule that requires imports to live in another region for four years before being eligible to declare residency.

Had the rule not been established, Rush would have been able to compete with the main Cloud9 League Championship Series squad next year, once he and top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong would have been able to declare North American residency. However, with the rule, Rush would need to wait until January 2019 for that opportunity.

For now, Rush is back in South Korea, playing solo queue on his account named "pvman." He first returned at the end of last week and began playing on the account on Sunday. While his future is uncertain, his contract with Cloud9 is still valid.

Prior to being moved to Cloud9 Challenger, Rush was the starting jungler for Cloud9's LCS squad. After the playoffs, Cloud9 made a bid for Impact, who decided he would rather play with Cloud9 instead of NRG Esports. That deal was finalized on the principle that both Impact and Rush would be residents next year.

However, in May, Riot Games notified team owners that it would be changing residency rules, which would directly affect a number of players in the LCS, including Rush and Impact. Other players affected by the move include Team Liquid's Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin and Kim "FeniX" Jae-hun, H2k Gaming's Yoo "Ryu" Sang-ook and players who moved to China during the Korean Exodus at the latter half of 2014.

Cloud9 did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication of this article.