Longzhu Gaming is no more
One of the top teams in Korea, Longzhu Gaming, has been bought over by a foreign Chinese company, Kingzone. It is understood that the former owners of Longzhu were forced to sell the team due to a conflict of interest caused as a result of ownership with a separate team in the LPL, Suning Gaming. The owners, Suning Commerce Group, had previously established Suning Gaming from the ground up thus choosing to keep them, forcing the sale of Longzhu.
Suning vs. Longzhu
Suning gaming is a fairly new organisation established late December of 2016. Soon after, they broke into the LSPL scene with a bang, managing to take 2nd in the 2016 LSPL Spring split and first in the Spring playoffs. This allowed them to promote into the LPL, however, their performance there only saw them rank as a mid-tier team.
Longzhu similarly, is regarded as a fairly new team that got put together at the start of January 2016. Unlike Suning Gaming, they were directly pitted up against the best teams in Korea through the LCK. While they did have a slower start, the environment in Korea is much more competitive, placing either 7th or 8th place for the 2016 LCK Summer / Spring splits + 2017 LCK Spring Split. Surprisingly, they followed to make a few internal changes and blasted through rival teams in the 2017 LCK Summer split and playoffs, managing to take both cups while defeating SKT 3:1.
Longzhu is undoubtedly the superior team having recently reach the pinnacle of competitive League of Legends, the LCK. That said, Suning is still developing and was personally established by the owners, giving up the team would only lead to the company ‘losing face’ (credibility / respect).
Longzhu at Worlds
As the victors of the LCK, they took Korea’s number one seed in the biggest competitive League of Legends tournament in the world, directly entering the group stage. Following the conclusion of the play in stage, they were allocated to Group B, the easiest group of the lot containing Fnatic, Immortals and the GiGABYTE Marines. As expected, they easily cruised through, going undefeated 6-0. This led them to the quarter finals.
While Longzhu were able to surprise everyone at the LCK and show their strength at groups, the team was unfortunate enough to draw against a fellow LCK team, Samsung Galaxy. Instead of a close match between two of the top three teams in Korea, the match instead lead to a crushing 0-3 defeat in favour of SG.
What happens to Longzhu now?
Soon after being sold to Kingzone, the team name was quickly switched to Kingone DragonX. This move is clearly done as a marketing campaign, as Kingzone is also a Chinese phone manufacturing company.
The Longzhu roster will remain unchanged for now and is unlikely to show any roster swaps before the conclusion of the upcoming spring split. Along with this, half of the existing management / coaching staff in Longzhu will move to Kingzone. This includes head coach ‘Hirai’, along with supporting coaches ‘supreme’ and ‘sin’
Besides that, all will function as normal as Longzhu prepares to enter the new split in the LCK.