League of Legends

SofM, Doinb and the difference between how LCS and LPL view their imports

LeagueofLegends4 - SofM, Doinb and the difference between how LCS and LPL view their imports

Recently, there have been an influx of posts on this subreddit about how the LPL had to rely on imports to reach their current dominance. This is absolutely true. However, there is a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the treatment of imports between the two regions that lead to this assumptions from many LCS fans that the LPL just take in good imports and win tournaments (get quality imports => win Worlds).

In reality, the LPL import process looks more like: Take a risk and scout young quality imports, even if they aren't even pros yet => do everything you can to help them assimilate to their new LPL team environment => win Worlds.

Snake Esports, the team that SOFM (Lê Quang Duy) first signed to when he came to the LPL, got him a private Vietnamese-Mandarin interpreter/teacher when he started out in their team. Duy even shared a funny story in a recent Chinese video (around 7:50) just before Worlds 2020 that this interpreter was good but does not play LOL, so they mistranslate the Bo10 that was actually the Worlds qualifiers back then for his team as the Demacia Cup instead.

Contrary to that, Team Liquid, who also talked to SOFM in 2016, rejected him due to his bad English, said coach Locodoco on his Twitter. This coach also admitted that Duy would never reached this height of his career had he gone to TL.

By now, SofM speaks Mandarin fluently, just like Doinb, Rookie, and GimGoon, who are all previous Korean imports that won Worlds for LPL in the past 2 years.

And then we got Doinb (김태상), arguably the face of the LPL who, ironically, is Korean (he just got the Chinese green card though). The thing is, Doinb never actually ever played in the LCK. He just got recruited to the LPL at a super young age. That's the equivalent of if the LCS recruiting Bjergsen before he became a pro in Denmark (this never happened again since then for some reason).


Doinb is also famous as a midlaner who prefers to play tanks. That is the kind of off-meta play that does not fly with traditional LCK teams. So in many ways, his success in the LPL is considered a big chunk of the dichotomy between LPL and LCK, where it is not his nationality that matters, but the playstyle that his League represents.

So on one side, you got the LPL orgs willing to bet on young foreign player who had no previous international success, willing to discover and nurture foreign talents with unique playstyle. On the other side, you got LCS teams with either really old veterans or up and coming LPL/LCK players whose future got squashed as they simply are left alone with no help to integrate into their new team.

The LPL may have to rely on imports to reach their current dominance, but LPL should also get credit for making their region home for these incredible players.

Edit 1:

Adding sources.

I wrote this post because I believe I can provide quite a unique viewpoint in this matter, as someone bilingual in English and Vietnamese, speaks Mandarin at an intermediate level, and follows pro-scene media extensively in all those languages.

Edit 2:

I'm not saying that the LPL do not import veterans. I'm saying that the LCS orgs need some diversity/linguistic training if they want good imports to play well with their team. And for the love of God, give the rookies (doesn't matter import or not) some opportunity to shine.

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