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Fragster | 5. October 2021

Worlds 2021: Edward Gaming seeks international redemption

After not being on the international stage for two seasons, Edward Gaming seeks heights they have never gotten to before. 

After their 2018 Worlds quarterfinal finish, Edward Gaming have taken two full seasons to get back into the World Championship. They have gone through a rather brutal rebuilding phase in China’s LPL, where the competition is fierce and the pressure is high. After an impressive 2021, Edward Gaming seeks to finally win it all. 

The fan-favorite Chinese organization began its 2021 season with some superstar acquisitions– Park “Viper” Do-hyeon from a then-struggling Hanwha Life Esports, and Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun from LNG Esports. This season also marked the return of veteran Ming “Clearlove” Kai from his tenure as a coach, but he did not see much play on stage. 

The team was a consistent force throughout the spring regular season, where the players displayed a good macro sense while also not stifling their mechanical excellence. They have great objective setups while also displaying great team fighting if the need to fight arises. As a result, they placed 2nd in the spring split, but fell short in playoffs as they placed third. 

In the summer, things were more or less the same, especially in the regular season. Edward Gaming were still one of the top teams in the league and dominated most of the competition. They ended up in second place after losing their last match against FunPlus Phoenix. Due to them getting a higher seed during the regular season, they played in Round 4 of the playoffs, and were up against a surging Team WE who made it all the way from the first round. EDG looked like they had a rather shaky form, and they dropped the first two games of the series. After subbing out Zhao “Jiejie” Li-jie for Yu “JunJia” Chun-Chia, they were able to grab two wins in the series, before losing game 5. 

The series against Team WE seems to have been a wake-up call for Edward Gaming. They won their next series with relative ease: a 3-1 against LNG Esports, and then a 3-0 sweep in their rematch against Team WE to secure a spot at Worlds and into the finals. In the grand final of the LPL Summer split, they delivered a 3-1 win that was seen by many to be an upset against a FunPlus Phoenix squad that looked to be in top form. They even won the final game from a large gold deficit that would be seen by many as insurmountable. 

This team can perhaps do it all. They can be aggressive in the laning phase and snowball from there, though they usually do not feel the need to. The team usually seems like it is confident enough to execute a clean mid to late game without taking a lot of risks. Tian “Meiko” Ye can be counted upon to find the right engages for the team, and to set up vision along with Jiejie. Since Viper may just be the best bottom laner in the world at the moment, he can surely be counted on to position correctly and deal the damage that the team needs from him. Lee “Scout” Ye-chan can play anything required of him– he can do well on control mages like the Orianna, and he can pilot assassins like LeBlanc as well. 

Because of China’s relative strength as a region, and because EDG is the LPL’s first seed, they are considered as one of the favorites going into the World Championship, and rightfully so. They have won MSI in 2015, and they have returned to take the only trophy that they haven’t won yet: the Summoner’s Cup. 

 

(Header image via Edward Gaming)