DAMWON Gaming parts ways with Flame

The veteran top laner has entered free agency.

Photo via Riot Games

Top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong has departed from League of Legends Worlds 2019 quarterfinalist team DAMWON Gaming, the organization announced today.

The player, once famed for his lane dominance and his over 100 creep score discrepancy over his opponents, saw little playtime as a substitute with DAMWON. The team achieved a third-place finish in the LCK Summer Split before having mixed results at Worlds.

Despite Flame’s veteran status and his prowess in the top lane position, he was absent from the roster at Worlds. Coach Kim Jeong-soo chose to leave him home in Korea rather than taking advantage of a seven-man roster.  

“It is for the sake of a better team atmosphere,” Kim Jeong-soo said in September. “Flame has a really strong urge to play on stage. When he is denied, he often gets really depressed. I guess this could be an obvious thing for a professional player, but this might especially impact us negatively during Worlds. This is the reason he was removed from the roster.”

The ins and outs of the team dynamic surrounding Flame have yet to be revealed, but his departure from the organization could be a direct result of his lack of playing time. 

It’s unknown where Flame will head next. He could rejoin the LCS, head overseas to China, stay closer to home in Korea, or even retire. 

Although it’s been a long time since Flame’s glory days on CJ Entus Blaze, he’s still a capable player with a competent champion pool and a wide range of mechanical skill. He should be the ideal pick up for a number of teams, especially in the lower rankings of the LCK.