When talking about established teams, by default one has to mention the premier Chinese professional eSports organization LGD Gaming. The team was named after one of its key sponsors, Guizhou Laogandie Food, and has had teams successfully competing in both Dota 2 and League of Legends since they were founded in 2009.
The organization has made a name for itself, going to The International for the past five years. LGD has been sponsoring various other teams and has had its greatest success in the highly competitive Dota 2 scene, but here we will focus on the team’s accomplishments in the League of Legends game.
League of Legends: LGD Team History
When LGD Gaming created its League of Legends team back in 2012, they were already established as a strong organization and one of the most renowned eSports teams in China, but also the world. Their initial LoL team was led by Zhou Qi-Lin, who was back then going under the name “bug”, but has changed it in the meantime to “NoName”.
LGD managed to qualify for the Season 2 China Reginal Finals with their result at the TGA Grand Prix 2012, but couldn’t advance further after a loss to Invictus Gaming. The team had failed to make it out of the group stage during the Tencent Arena Grand Prix, ending up with a 1-2 result in their group, and continued their losing streak when they failed to qualify for the inaugural season of the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), although they were determined to join the league.
They didn’t manage to join the LPL during both the 2013 Spring Qualifier and the 2013 Summer Qualifier. At last, LGD managed to overcome their hardships and successfully competed at the 2014 Spring Season and became part of the LPL.
LGD landed a spot in the 2014 LPL Spring Promotions when they defeated Vici Gaming with 2-1 in the finals of the Winter 2013 Grand Prix. The young team proved they were a force to be reckoned with when they topped the group stage of the 4-team round robin with a 3-0 record, and ultimately qualified for the Spring Season. They managed to take the 5th place in the Spring Season, finishing with a 4-4-6 record in the regular season, but in the end didn’t do enough to warrant a place in the playoffs.
Moreover, in the Summer Season they were able to take the 4th place with a 4-6-4 record, thus earning a place in the playoffs. When it came to the playoffs, LGD Gaming clearly had difficulties finding their form and lost in the winner’s bracket to EDward Gaming with 3-0, and again with 3-0 in the loser’s bracket to Star Horn Royal Club. This placed the team in 4th place in the playoffs and managed to earn them a spot in the Regional Qualifiers for Season 4 of the World Championship. However, the team would go on to lose 2-0 to Star Horn Royal Club, but redeemed themselves with a 2-1 victory over Invictus Gaming. Ultimately, the ended up losing 2-1 to Oh My God and missed out on the chance to qualify for the World Championship.
Since LGD didn’t qualify for the 2014 Season World Championship, they started actively looking for Korean players to boost their team’s potential, with high hopes they would finally qualify for the next season. With the addition of Choi “Acorn” Cheon-ju, who then competed for Samsung Blue, Gu “imp” Seung-bin from Samsung White, and Lee “Flame” Ho-jong from CJ Entus Blaze, the team renewed their roster and went into the tournaments that were supposed to put them at the top of China.
During the Regular Season they had a 7-5-10 record that ultimately managed to get them qualified for the playoffs with the 6th place. When the playoffs finally came, LGD was able to surprise everyone when they defeated both Oh My God and Snake Esports, which had taken 3rd and 2nd places in the Regular Season, respectively. Both teams were defeated with 3-0 one after another, and the team went on to the finals, playing against EDward Gaming. This is where the team came to a halt, when EDG defeated them with 3-2 and went to the Mid-Season Invitational, with LDG taking 2nd place.
The team suffered a major setback when team captain Pyl was unable to play the first week of the Summer Season. He was replaced by Liu “Fan” Yi-Fan, who was a support for LGD, but still, the absence of Pyl took its toll on the team. The team ended up with a 6-4-12 record during the Summer Split, taking 5th place, but still advancing to the LPL Summer Playoffs. While the team didn’t do too well during the Regular Season, they were expected to exceed expectations in the playoffs, since they didn’t do well in the Split before they arrived in the playoffs.
The LGD Gaming team managed to surprise again when they defeated both Vici Gaming and Snake Esports with 3-1 and advanced to the Semifinals. Although having lost to them in previous encounters, in the semifinals they beat the heavily-favored EDward Gaming with 3-0. In the finals they faced Qiao Gu, defeated them 3-2, and took first place in the 2015 Summer Playoffs, advancing as the first seed from China to the 2015 Season World Championship.
Surprisingly, at the 2015 Worlds, LGD didn’t manage to win a single game in the first week. In the second week, they were able to take games from Team SoloMid and Origen, but in the end fell short and were beat by KT Rolster from Korea. They ended up in 3rd place in their group and were knocked out of the Worlds.
When Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong and Zhu “Quan” Yong-quan left the team at the end of 2015, LGD began the 2016 Season by signing Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-Hwan and Xie “Eimy” Dan to replace them. LGD Gaming entered the 2016 LPL Spring Split hoping to recuperate from their bad performances at the Worlds. The team struggled at first, having issues during the group stages, but eventually they came into their own and finished 4th in their group. In Round 1 of the 2016 LPL Spring Playoffs they encountered Vici Gaming and lost with 1-3, finishing the Spring Split in 7th-8th place. Likewise, the Summer Split turned out to be a hard time for the team, when they finished in 5th place.
In 2017, the LGD Gaming team announced their roster for the 2017 LPL Summer Split, with Yu “Cool” Jiajun joining as starting mid and Wei “GodV” Zhen deciding to take an inactive role. The full team now consists of Lim “Jinoo” Jinwoo, Xie “Eimy” Dan, Yu “Cool” Jiajun, Wei “GodV” Zhen, Gu “imp” Seungbin and Chen “Pyl” Bo as support.
The Chinese LGD Gaming team was troubled for years with lineup changes and being stuck in the middle of the League table, and couldn’t get past the dominance of other Chinese teams like EDward Gaming and SHRC, but with the addition of Korean players Flame, Acorn and imp, their results became increasingly better and the first place at the 2015 LPL Summer Playoffs proved that they were on the rise as a strong contender in the Season.