Meiko, EDG's fledgling support turned captain: Origins

Usually, fairytale results don’t end up happening in esports. It’s the cut-and-dry “someone probably outperformed you, had more talent, or their uncle works at Nintendo/Riot/insert esports org here.” Besides, if reality were often more entertaining than fiction, fiction would have no need to exist.

Tian “Meiko” Ye is a rare exception to the rule. Now that EDG have taken home the 2021 League of Legends World Championship cup and finally have broken their Worlds curse, we can properly celebrate the legacy of a support substitute turned superstar. If you haven’t paid attention to the early days of LPL as a westerner, well...I can’t blame you. Almost nobody has.

Substitute’s journey on becoming a Superstar

Before being on the superstar Chinese organization that is EDward Gaming, Meiko (then using the ID “Mad”) played support for a team called Rayunion. Preceding Meiko arriving to save the day, this team was bad. After Meiko came in... the team was still not good either.

However, the tiny ray of light within the darkness was this team’s upset over Season 3 Worlds finalist StarHorn Royal Club, bringing just enough attention (aside from solo queue) to the support mastermind. And at this point, EDG were picky - and had the right to be.  After all, they had incredible seasons prior to Meiko, a remarkable infrastructure, and big shoes to fill in Fzzf, who was also a legendary support for World Elite in their prime.

Moreover, they were bringing aboard Deft—someone who I personally believe to not have been better than, or at least not a significant upgrade over NaMei, but that’s a discussion for another article.  Either way, Deft was a legendary Korean AD Carry who did objectively deserve an amazing support partner.

© 2021 Riot Games, Inc. Used With Permission.

Mouse would be the first to attempt to fill the gigantic shoes left by Fzzf, but support wasn’t a native role for him, and he was transitioning from the mid lane.  Much to the team’s dismay (and much to Meiko’s benefit), it was hardly a strong debut, with the team going 0-2 against Snake in the second week of the season. Deft had also made some comments about how his synergy wasn’t particularly great with Mouse either.

Enter Meiko, and everything begins unraveling for the better. His very first match with EDward Gaming would be against the storied Invictus Gaming. The team giga-smashed everyone 3-0, taking six total map wins. Moreover, Deft didn’t need conventional support babysitting. He was not Uzi, a player only capable of performing when everything goes well while being kept on a firm leash. While a good chunk of you are malding about that statement, ruminate on how effective Meiko was in LPL, a region notorious for constant team fighting and battling.

Infamous for the right reasons

Meiko became infamous for his roaming capability. LPL supports were no strangers to play mages in the bottom lane well before their global counterparts followed suit, but Meiko specialized in characters like Annie and Thresh - not necessarily in terms of lane dominance (though definitely no slouch there), but in a roaming style that was very comfortable for EDG to work with.

While Meiko definitely made a name for himself with his roaming support style, he was versatile - far more so than some of his opposition in the LPL, in fact. He could whip out a mean Janna and peel for his carries or disengage for his team when the composition and overarching strategy called for it.

All-in-all, Meiko and this iteration of EDG took China by storm. However, this wouldn’t be the case on the Worlds least not yet. For this is just the beginning of a long trudge to reach the goal of every aspiring League of Legends professional.  The near future would entail many close calls, lots of heartbreak, with nuggets of international success sprinkled in such as their 1st place at MSI in 2015, which would be misleading for their international results to follow.

In Part two, we will unveil EDG’s follow-up performances (or lack thereof) at Worlds and Meiko’s evolving role within the team.

Who is your favourite player or team? Do you think EDG will continue their success? You can follow League of Legends events at Luckbox's matches page, find the odds and bet on them.