GODV ascending | LoL Esports
China's LPL has no small shortage of captivating mid laners -- from the eccentric and indefinable Tae-sang "Doinb" Kim to the steady Eui-jin "RooKie" Song -- but no mid-laner has shone quite like Lian "GODV" Wei. Mid lane is a crucial role on Summoner's Rift. Keeper of a waypoint that unlocks further map control and pressure, a mid laner is in the spotlight, center stage from the moment the laning phase begins.
GODV has been a consistent highlight of 2015 LPL Summer and is one of the many reasons why LGD is now bound for Worlds. More important is the work he puts in making mid a key control point for LGD, allowing the team to further their advantages.
From Vici Gaming to LGD
Now a known name in the Chinese League of Legends scene, GODV's career began in 2012 with Vici Gaming. In spite of Vici's less-than-stellar results throughout 2013 -- including their failure to qualify for the 2014 LPL -- people began to take notice of the young mid-laner. Touted as one of China's up-and-coming players, GODV (then known as We1less) further dazzled spectators and opponents throughout Vici Gaming's 2014 LSPL run.
While GODV was known as a rising star, his oft-reckless decisions and overreliance on team resources were fair criticisms of his play. This didn't stop the offers from pouring in once Vici failed to make LPL again, including one from China's most popular team, World Elite. However, GODV chose LGD -- an organization still known more for their DotA team rather than LoL. He stated his regard for their support and shotcaller Bo "Pyl" Chen as a major factor in his decision, turning down WE's more lucrative offer.
We1less and Quan
On LGD, GODV continued to be a resource strain. While he held his own against the LPL's best throughout 2014, his penchant for farming the jungle as often as he farmed his own lane often put unnecessary stress on the rest of the team. The already floundering jungler Yong-Quan "Quan" Zhu (now called TBQ) was denied resources and GODV was thrust further into the limelight. LGD relied on him to carry, while Pyl controlled their macro game and Ying-Jie "XQ" Li acted as a secondary carry.
This didn't always work out for LGD. In one of the team's most crucial games of 2014 -- Game 3 against OMG in the 2014 Chinese Regional Finals -- OMG's Jia-Jun "Cool" Yu, pulled out an all-star Ahri performance, that overcame LGD's early lead and sent OMG to Worlds. The blame, if any, can certainly not be place on GODV's shoulders, but this further supported a key criticisms of 2014 LGD: an overreliance on GODV to carry, and weaknesses in their jungle and top positions.
A Selfish Player No Longer
On paper, not much has changed in 2015. GODV still is allocated the largest amount of LGD's resources in a region that usually gives the most gold to their AD carries -- although AD carry Seung-bin "Imp" Gu is just behind him. The difference for both GODV and LGD lies in their supporting cast and what GODV does with said resources.
LGD acquired not one but two premier top laners from Korea -- Ho-jong "Flame" Lee and Cheon-ju "Acorn" Choi -- to shore up their top lane weakness. They also upgraded their AD carry position by signing Imp. With strain from their side lanes completely removed, there is less pressure on GODV to be the sole carry of his team.
Furthermore, while GODV still farms TBQ's jungle, he uses that gold to ward and roam. Instead of his more straightforward 2014 approach of amassing a lead in lane and then carrying his team, GODV often provides just as much, if not more, map presence than TBQ, further alleviating pressure on their jungler. Combined with roams from Pyl and strong side lanes, this has made LGD a formidable opponent.
In the recent LPL Final, GODV looked uncharacteristically weak in comparison to his monstrous season. Targeted from the get-go by LGD's opponents Qiao Gu, his usual support synergy with Pyl was also a bit off. Yet, in Game 5, when called upon to be that crucial waypoint, GODV delivered on an off-meta Vladimir pick. Vladimir was also his 15th champion played, tied only with Snake's Long "U" Ceng for the largest diversity of champions picked in the 2015 LPL Summer Season.
While GODV has made a name for himself on international highlight reels -- his Yasuo versus Ekko duels with RooKie are now famous -- his overall presence and what he does with his given resources has been all the more important to LGD's success. The spotlight on GODV will be larger than ever at the 2015 World Championship, and this year has proven that he's more than ready for his close up.
Excited to see GODV at Worlds and want to catch up? Go here for spoiler-free VODs of the LPL Playoffs.