Is Flame headed to a third-tier Chinese team?
When Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong left CJ Entus Blaze, instantly becoming the best top lane talent on the free agent market, fan speculation placed him in dozens of landing spots. Another top Korean team? Evil Geniuses?
They certainly didn’t expect to see his name listed as a member of a Chinese team outside that region’s tier two league, but here we are.
A forum post on a Chinese League of Legends forum chronicling the mass of Chinese roster changes puts Lee and another former CJ Entus player, Baek “Swift” Da-Hoon, on the roster of SPG.DC, the secondary squad of Stand Point Gaming.
Stand Point is most well known as the team coached by Wong “Tabe” Pak Kan, the support player on the 2013 version of Royal Club. Wong led the team to the finals of the Riot World Championships and served as the team’s spokesperson to English fans.
Wong is back to playing, but it doesn’t look like it will be with Lee—Wong is listed on the main squad. That doesn’t preclude Lee playing with Stand Point itself, but it does bring up questions on just what these Korean stars are trying to accomplish in China.
Rules prevent organizations from putting two teams into a particular league in China, meaning that Lee’s SPG.DC team won’t be able to compete in the LoL Secondary Pro League. He’s essentially on a third tier team in China, one without an outlet for professional competition.
Assuming the list is correct, that doesn't seem like a fitting place for one of Korea's most consistently excellent players.
Money earned through streaming is huge, especially in the China region where multiple streaming companies are competing to lure talents like Lee to their platforms. Financial security could be what's drawn Lee from Korea, where he was a regular championship contender, to the wild west of League.
That may be good for Lee, but it’s too bad for the fans who loved watching him play meaningful matches.
Image via CJ Entus/Facebook