Story of Meiko, Part 2: A bitter ascension

In our last article covering EDward Gaming’s fledgling support-turned-captain, we went into how Meiko established career into being recognized by the prestigious Chinese esports org. We bore witness to a seemingly inconsequential series of events that would begin a chapter that one would assume to bear its fruit rather quickly, but couldn’t be further from the truth on an international scale, at least when it comes to Worlds.

MSI and regional play are one thing, but Worlds was a new demon to tackle. It’s time we take a look at Meiko’s journey just before, and then directly after being firmly established as a starter within the team.

First, a brief history lesson is in order. EDG was formed in 2013, and instantly had a great showing within its region as OG World Elite’s spiritual successor. Upon formation, they cruised through the 2014 LPL Spring and Summer Season as champions, only to come to a screeching halt at Worlds, where they’d meet elimination from fellow Chinese team StarHorn Royal Club.

Seeking stronger results, EDG picked up Korean Samsung superstars Deft and PawN, as AD Carry and Mid Laner respectively.

Entering the international stage


Surely, this would be the prime catalyst to push the team to the next level on the international stage, right?

Nope. It may not have been visible to those who only caught wind of EDG by their performance at Worlds, but U (Zeng "U" Long) was more than serviceable as a mid laner. And Namei - well, that’s a whole can of worms. Why has the community consensus has continually been that he was overrated because of his Worlds performance, but every excuse in the book justifies Dade’s performance in a similar vein? The world may never know. But what I do know as someone who’s watched LPL for over half a decade is that Namei was unparalleled in his role within his region on a domestic level (yes, even over Uzi, for his worshippers out there.)

So what did the catalyst end up being?  Well, the consistent variable in EDG ever since, of course.

Keep in mind this is the first time westerners have witnessed the team since Worlds, as LPL was extremely niche at the time, besides being by far the most popular regional league when considering Chinese statistics. At this point, Meiko was simply a solid support - he did not command leadership of the team and while his opinion was valued, he was not the sole shotcaller of the team. After all, he was still just a fledgling member, and he had Korean titans on his team now (of which weren’t of his native language.)

Time for shocker


Anyway, imagine the world’s shock when the gods of the known League universe, SK Telecom T1, would be dismantled and dethroned in the grand finals, by none other than the organization who completely flopped at Worlds in the quarterfinals against a team that was, in comparison, mediocre domestically?

Remember, Korea was unstoppable in this era, so where the heck did this come from?

I know what most people are (and were) thinking — PawN and Deft!  No one is doubting the power of the Korean imports. But if we’re doing some simple math, two star Koreans are less than 5 star Koreans. So maybe there are some undetermined variables in this equation.

Sure, Koro inting in half of the games at Worlds isn’t helping my argument here. But the purpose is to draw attention back to Meiko. I want to draw your attention to [the score lines in that MSI grand finals] (https://lol.fandom.com/wiki/2015_Mid-Season_Invitational/Scoreboards/Bracket_Stage)

Reaching the peak


Look at Meiko’s assists and look at Wolf’s. This is an insane disparity. And this is before Meiko reached his potential. Anyway, EDward Gaming reached their peak and China went on to stop Korean domination and put their region on top happily ever after.

...Or so it would seem after their 3-2 victory against SKT, but instead, that just… didn’t happen at all.

EDG would go back home, smashing the regular season, with Meiko building up to his current accolade of being the first player to reach five THOUSAND career assists in the LPL.

Well, that is until playoffs, where LGD taught them a lesson - a tough outcome after defeating them prior in the spring playoffs. A disappointing outcome for sure after taking down what felt like an impossible team to beat for the rest of the world just prior at MSI, but they did still manage to qualify through the regional finals after defeating Snake.

Worlds 2015 begins. Time for redemption. EDward Gaming gets pulled into Group C, which contains SK Telecom T1, themselves, H2k-Gaming, and Bangkok titans. OMG, this is it! Sure, SKT is tough, but a free group to get out of!

And they do. And then are seeded into Fnatic. Phew! Avoided SKT, KOO tigers, and KT. This is it. The MSI runback. Back-to-back international champions, here we come. All we have to do is crush the Europeans, take out KOO tigers, then meet SKT in the finals again. Beat them once, we can beat them a second time!

...And then, tragedy. a 0-3 loss to Fnatic, who then went on to not even take a game off KOO Tigers in the Semifinals.

How could this happen? Are EDG Cursed?

While you're waiting for the next part, you can follow League of Legends events and your favourite teams at Luckbox's matches page, find the odds and bet on them.

We will have to find out in part 3. Stay tuned.