One of the greatest League of Legends players of all time is returning to his home region after a season abroad and may have found himself a new team.
Lee “Flame” Ho-jong, former Azubu Blaze, CJ Entus Blaze, and most recently LGD Gaming top laner is currently in the process of negotiations with League Champions Korea (LCK) team Longzhu Incredible Miracle, sources close to the player and team’s staff tell the Daily Dot.
While his contract is not finalized at this moment, Flame is likely to join the team for the 2016 season, sources say.
The news comes after Korean sports publication Naver reported that Flame would return to his home region of Korea on Dec 26. Now, that report seems to hold true as he looks to join one of the most hyped teams of the offseason thanks to a series of high profile signings.
Flame became a superstar as the carry top laner for the Blaze teams that dominated Korea and the world in 2012 and 2013. The team was one of the best teams in Korea prior to the League Championship Series (LCS) format, taking first at multiple international competitions including Korea’s Champions 2012, 2012 MLG Fall Championship, and the 2013 Intel Extreme Masters Season VII World Championship.
Now Flame home after a year in China with League Pro League Champion LGD Gaming, who he signed with before the 2015 year. But during his time in China, Flame mostly sat on the bench under the shadow of Choi “Acorn” Cheon-ju. His last performance with the team was during the World Championship, where he looked in poor form against his opponents.
Then LGD Gaming signed former SK Telecom T1 top laner and World Champion Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-hwan earlier this month, moving Flame further down the depth chart. That prompted the top laner to leave the squad and seek a new team.
Just as LGD Gaming was signing the offseason’s hottest free agent, Incredible Miracle was making some the biggest moves in Korea. On Dec. 5, the team acquired former CJ Entus mid laner Shin “CoCo” Jin-yeong and former Jin Air Green Wings jungler Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun—one of the region’s most talented prospects.
It later acquired former NaJin e-mFire support Kim “Pure” Jin-sun and support Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik, Flame’s former teammate on Blaze, as its strategic coach. The AD carry position is currently uncertain but the team will likely keep Son “Sonstar” Seung-ik, whether as a starter or backup. Many assumed veteran Incredible Miracle top laner Jeon “Lilac” Ho-jin would continue to man that position, but it now looks like the team might have another star on the way.
If the signing of Flame goes through, Incredible Miracle looks to be one of the strongest Korean rosters on paper, a formidable lineup that should give 2015 World Championship winner SK Telecom T1 and runner ups Tigers a run for their money.
Update 10:30am Dec. 30: Longzhu Incredible Miracle announced it had signed of Flame and former Jin Air AD carry Kang “Cpt Jack” Hyung-woo, confirming this report.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr