Flame is one of the greats in League of Legends having begun his career with Azubu Blaze in late 2012. Only a year after starting his competitive career in the LCK, he was pick up by CJ Entus Blaze, and in the same year, awarded with the title as the best top laner by the 2013 Korean esports awards.
Move to NA
At the end of 2016, Flame was picked up by Immortals marking his move to the North American LCS. While Immortals had a slow start in the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split, the team quickly improved heading in to the Spring split, where they went 14-4, claiming second place. The 2017 Playoffs saw the team place second once again, only losing to Team SoloMid in the finals where TSM was in peak form.
Following a good year in 2017, Flame moved to FlyQuest where he would replace Balls in the top lane. While Fly Quest’s performance in 2018 was sub par, Flame remained strong individually. However, FQ still chose to replace Flame with V1per from Team Liquid’s academy team, leaving Flame without a team.
Back to Korea with DAMWON
After spending two years in NA, Flame has accepted DAMWON’s offer to join the team as their top laner alongside Nuguri. Flame being a veteran in the scene is expected to coach and develop Nuguri, a much younger player who only began his competitive career in 2017.
This year is DAMWON’s first year competing in the LCK having qualified from the CK. Flame’s experience within the highest level of play in both Korea and North America will definitely improve the team’s long term performance. While DAMWON started off strong, they began to fall behind more established teams like SKT and Kingzone (foremely Longzhu).
Flame Domestic Career
Lee “Flame” Ho-jong began his career under the name of Goldtec. He was scouted from Solo Queue by Azubu Blaze and was recruited him to play for them in the top lane. His first domestic competition was the OLYMPUS Champions Winter 2012-2013. They made it out from the group stage but lost two 5-game series to their sister team—Azubu Frost—in the Semifinals. In the third place match, Blaze fell to KT Rolster with a 0-3 score.
After the tournament, the entire lineup left Azubu and formed CJ Entus Blaze. They entered the OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013 event where they went on a massive 13-game winning streak. It seemed like Blaze were poised to take the whole thing, but a sudden 3-0 upset by MVP Ozone put an end to their dominance.
Their performance took a dip at the HOT6iX Champions Summer 2013. And despite topping their group, Blaze lost 2-3 to KT Rolster Bullets in the Quarterfinals. A similar narrative unfolded at the Season 3 Korea Regional Finals, and Blaze got 3-0’d by KT Rolster Bullets in the first round of the competition.
In 2014, Blaze went to the PANDORA.TV Champions Winter 2013-2014. They had a middling showing in the group stage, and another 1-3 loss to KT Bullets in the Quarterfinals knocked them out of the competition. Blaze came back for the HOT6iX Champions Spring 2014. They breezed through the group stage and even extracted their vengeance by defeating KT Arrows in the Quarterfinals. In the Semifinals, they clashed with Najin White Shield, losing a close 5-game series. Blaze ended the tournament in fourth place after falling 2-3 in the third place match against Samsung Ozone.
The HOT6iX Champions Summer 2014 tournament saw CJ Entus Blaze at their worst, and for the first time since its inception, the organization failed to make it out of the group stage. In the off-season, CJ merged their two teams together, and Flame left to look for greener pastures.
During his time on CJ, Flame was a top lane legend. His performance on carry champions was in a league of its own, and he even had an iconic move—Flame Horizon—named after him. The move stood for outfarming your direct opponent by a 100 CS, and it was a testament to Flame’s dominant laning phase.
In 2015, Flame announced that he’s going to join LGD in the LPL. The team attended the Demacia Cup Spring Season but suffered a crushing defeat at the hand of Invictus Gaming in the Quarterfinals. LGD had a rocky start in the 2015 LPL Spring Split, finishing sixth over the regular season. However, they bounced back in the playoffs with confident victories against OMG and Snake Esports. And even though they fell 2-3 to EDG in the finals, this was still a very impressive result for a newly-formed team.
A similar story took place in summer. At first, LGD had a hard time, barely managing to finish fifth during the regular season. But they ramped up their play for the playoffs, going all the way to the finals and defeating Qiao Gu Reapers in a close 5-game series.
At the time, Flame was still considered a good player, but he was a far cry from his peak. He struggled to adjust to a tank-oriented meta, and he often got subbed out in favor of Acorn in key matches. This caused Flame to depart from the team and join Incredible Miracle in Korea.
In 2016, Incredible Miracle rebranded as Longzhu Gaming and announced they’ll be fielding a 10-man roster. Now, Flame was sharing playtime with another top laner, Expession. Longzhu Gaming had a hard time getting anything going in the 2016 Spring Split. Flame’s performance also took a nosedive, and Longzhu finished the regular season with a middling 8-10 record. In summer, Longzhu briefly moved Flame to their practice roster. They went back on their decision in the second half of the competition, but it wasn’t enough to turn their shaky split around, and Longzhu ended their season in eighth place.
Afterward, Flame went overseas to join Immortals. Their 2017 NA LCS Spring Split turned out incredibly shaky, and Flame struggled to adjust to playing in a different environment. Immortals finished the regular season in seventh place, narrowly missing out on the playoffs.
But a single roster change was all it took for Immortals to make their spectacular comeback. They went on a roll in summer, producing a 14-4 record and tying with TSM for the first place. In the playoffs, they scored a confident 3-0 against CLG. And while they fell to TSM in the finals, this showing was more than enough to earn an invitation to Worlds.
When Immortals weren’t accepted into the franchising system, Flame moved to FlyQuest.
Flame International Tournaments
On Azubu Blaze, Flame played in his first international tournament, the IGN Season 5 ProLeague. Blaze faltered in the group stage but managed to regain their composure in the loser’s finals. They ran it back all the way to the finals where they lost 1-2 to Moscow 5.
Flame also went to the IEM Season 7 Katowice event. Blaze had a respectable showing, dominating their group and defeating Fnatic in the Semifinals. Unfortunately, they suffered a crushing defeat at the hand of Gambit Gaming in the finals.
On CJ Entus Blaze, Flame attended the IEM Season 7 World Championship. His team tore through the group stage and dismantled Millenium and SKT T1 in the playoffs. In the finals, they clashed with their sister team—CJ Entus Frost—and came up with a 3-1 victory.
Flame later took part in the 2013 World Cyber Games. Together with his teammates, he scored a confident 4-0 in groups and put on a clinic in the bracket stage with back-to-back victories against Dark Passage, Lyon Gaming, and OMG. In the end, Blaze secured the trophy without dropping a single game.
On LGD, Flame went to the 2015 World Championship. Unfortunately, their group included KT Rolster and Origen. Both of these opponents proved too hard for them to handle, and LGD fell in the group stage with a 2-4 record.
LGD were later voted into the IEM Season 10 San Jose tournament. However, a quick 0-2 loss against TSM spelled an end to their run.
On Immortals, Flame attended the IEM Season 11 Gyeonngi event. Immortals scored a win against J Team in the group stage but later fell 0-2 to Samsung Galaxy. In the loser’s bracket, they defeated J Team once again to qualify for the playoffs. But this was the end of the line for them as they lost to Kongdoo Monster in the Semifinals.
They also took part in the 2017 World Championship. There, Immortals had a strong 2-1 start over the first week of the competition. But inexplicably, they fell apart in the second week and they couldn’t secure a single win to qualify for the knockout stage.