EDG Meiko feels the weight of the LPL on his shoulders, but now, he is finally ready to lift EDG to greatness.
Two well-established and iconic titans, EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up stand above other LPL teams as some of these most iconic and domestic powerhouses of all time.
Yet, even with their dominance in the LPL and MSI, they both have yet to win the coveted LoL World Championship. So when Edward Gaming entered their series against RNG, it was a battle to continue their Worlds 2021 and break a longstanding curse of failing in the quarterfinals.
And after a grueling back-and-forth series, it was EDward Gaming who were victorious, marching their way to the Worlds semifinals in the organization’s history.
For many, EDG’s win in the quarterfinals was a curse finally broken. But for EDG captain Meiko, it was validation that all the risks and hardships he endured were not meaningless.
Now, they stand in unfamiliar territory. Up against three Korean teams in the semifinals, EDG is the final hope for a non-Korean World Champion.
For some, that pressure can be insurmountable. But for Captain EDG Meiko, it is a challenge he accepts because all his previous failures were endured to overcome monumental challenges like these.
Struggles adjusting into new role
In 2018, Meiko became the leader of EDward Gaming, taking over the mantle from jungler Clearlove. And while their first year followed suit, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2018 LoL World Championships, things went downhill.
For two years, Meiko and EDward Gaming were a shadow of their former selves. In 2019, they failed to crack the top 4 in spring and summer. 2020, they finished 10th and even failed to make the playoffs for the first time.
Those two years were a dark period of time for the captain of EDG. In his very first split as a professional player, Meiko shocked the World when he and EDward Gaming took down SK Telecom T1 in the grand finals of MSI 2015. But just a few years later, he was the captain of a sinking ship.
Yet, even through a dark period of time, Meiko stayed on EDG.
“During this journey, I have my teammates and coaches all around, helping me a lot. I am also very grateful to have fans supporting me. All of these give me courage to move on and stick to my career path.” Meiko explains what kept him hopeful that EDG could bounce back in 2021.
As a leader, being able to recognize that it is okay to not always be happy is one that takes a lot of courage. Yet, even when things were bad, hope and the initial goal to win a World Championship was still kicking and alive.
For Scout, seeing Meiko’s willingness to make that bounce back was a driving factor behind staying on EDG.
“We have been playing together for a long time.” EDG midlaner Scout, who has been a teammate of Meiko’s since 2016 Summer, shares. “We learn a lot from each other and through our struggles always share the same goal and route of improvement. It is why I stay as a teammate of his.”
Meiko, the Seasoned Veteran with the LPL on his shoulders
Meiko, once the young rookie support, is now the team captain of EDward Gaming and has represented the LPL organization in five out of the organization’s six World Championship appearances.
And his collection of accolades does not stop there. Since that point, he has won multiple LPL domestic titles, became the first player to reach 5,000 assists.
At Worlds 2021, Meiko leads EDward Gaming and third overall amongst supports with a 77.9 kill participation.
Now, Meiko is in a prime position to reach the 2021 Worlds finals. In his way, stands Gen.G, the LCK second seed who reached the semifinals after sweeping Cloud9. The last hope against the LCK.
EDG Meiko vs the LCK
Meiko finds himself in unfamiliar territory in the semifinals, but the newfound pressure is something he is ready for now.
“2015 Meiko was careless and had fewer responsibilities. Now I feel there’s more on my shoulders and have a strong sense of responsibility.” Meiko shares.
The 2021 LoL World Championships have been built around the dominance of the LCK region. With all four of their teams making it out of groups and three moving forward into the semifinals, Korea is in a prime spot to lift the Summoner’s Cup.
“I’ve been through real lows in my career, but I’m really happy that I never gave up.” EDG Meiko concludes.
Now EDward Gaming is the final hope against the three remaining LCK teams as only four teams are left at the 2021 LoL World Championships.
What do you think? Do you think EDG Meiko will be able to lead EDG to a World Championship title? Or will this mark another era of Korean dominance?