The LPL is the first major League of Legends region to kick off its 2023 Summer Split with a May 29 start date. That’s under a week until China’s best head back to Summoner’s Rift in search of a new champion. With the LPL currently hosting both the MSI runners-up Bilibili Gaming and newly crowned champions JD Gaming, the level of competition in China will be at an all-time high.
There is still time for midseason additions, though. That’s led to LNG adding former MSI MVP AD carry Chen “GALA” Wei to its squad, the team announced earlier today.
Just two days ago, GALA left RNG after three years with the team. It was a three-year span that included an MSI championship and MVP in 2021, but more recently saw a Worlds 2022 run from the play-in tournament all the way to a quarterfinals appearance. That run saw GALA establish himself as one of the premier ADCs in the world, besting the likes of Ruler and Gen.G in the first game of the Worlds 2022 group stage by going 6/1/3 on Aphelios.
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But after going 8-8 in the 2023 LPL Spring Split and bowing out to BLG in the first round of the playoffs, GALA has moved to a different roster, likely in search of another deep Worlds run. GALA hasn’t missed Worlds since the 2020 season, and now, he’ll have a much better shot at a return with an LNG roster littered with talent and championship pedigree.
Last offseason, LNG added former EDward Gaming mid laner Lee “Scout” Ye-chan to its ranks, bringing in a former world champion and finals MVP. Scout has consistently been one of the premier mid laners in not just the LPL but the world since joining EDG back in 2016 and showed no signs of slowing down in his first season with LNG. In fact, Scout earned his second LPL first-team all-pro selection of his career this past Spring Split. He’s a veteran leader who knows what it takes to win Worlds with plenty left in the tank.
LNG also rosters one of the most exciting young junglers in Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, a 23-year-old who’s the team’s longest-tenured player. Tarzan’s unique aggressive playstyle and diverse champion pool were a big reason LNG made its first Worlds appearance back in 2021, where they finished one tiebreaker short of the knockout round. Since then, it’s been a lot of middle-of-the-pack finishes in the LPL. The last split saw Scout and Tarzan carry the squad to a 13-3 record, good for a third-place regular season finish. After the recent success with Scout in the regular season and the addition of GALA, Tarzan has officially extended his contract through 2025.
GALA joining LNG creates a three-headed monster chock full of huge upside talent and world championship pedigree. The team’s goal for the 2023 Summer Split has to be making Worlds, a far-from-easy task given the current strength of the LPL. LNG only managed a top-six finish in the Spring Split playoffs, meaning GALA and crew need to at the very least finish top three in the Summer Split, if not higher.
With JDG looking like Worlds favorites and BLG shocking the globe with their MSI finals appearance, LNG have to put everything on the table this split if they want to be playing international League come October. Regardless, adding a talent like GALA is one way to make a lot of noise right before the 2023 LPL Summer Split kicks off next week.
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