Team eStar were one of the best stories to follow this LPL season. Made up mostly of rookies and gathered by League veteran Liu “PDD” Mou, eStar were not expected to do well in the most competitive region in the game. Amidst titans like world champions FunPlus Phoenix and Invictus Gaming, household names like Royal Never Give Up, and stacked-on-talent rosters like JD Gaming and Top Esports, eStar stood dwarfed.
The reality was different, and eStar provide that rookies or not, they could go neck and neck with the best teams in China. Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei led the offensive from the jungle so aptly, that he deservedly won Rookie of the Split. Down bottom, support Liu “ShaiuC” Chia-Hao, who came to the LPL after the disbandment of Flash Wolves, elevated AD Carry Zhang “Wing” Rui to one of the best in the league.
By the end of week 4, eStar had dropped only one match out of 10 while beating all of the top teams who stood in their way. When week 5 began, however, eStar’s steam had seemingly ran off. They won just one of their next four games and by the end of the Spring Split, they had dropped to 5th place in the rankings, which meant a round 1 start in the playoffs.
5th place meant eStar would play Team WE, a team which spent the entire season in the middle of the table and just barely scraped in as 8th seed. When the playoffs stream started, fans flocked to see the potential obliteration of the lowest ranked team, only to be treated to a 180-degree reversal.
Rookie of the Split Wei found himself completely outclassed by Jiang “beishang” Zhi-Peng, which took away the biggest advantage eStar had over their opponents during the regular split. In the bot lane, WE’s AD Carry Zhao “Jiumeng” Jia-Hao also put on a clinic against Wink.
But arguably the biggest mistake eStar did was let Park “Morgan” Gia-tae get his signature Renekton in the deciding game 4. The unkillable lizard ran down the rookie squad and Team WE made it to the next round of playoffs, where Top Esports are waiting.