Jojopyun to be fourth native NA mid laner to qualify for international league
In the 2022 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Spring Split finals last weekend, Evil Geniuses (EG) beat the defending champs 100 Thieves (100T). The team advanced to the upcoming Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), where mid laner Joseph “jojopyun” Joon Pyun will debut at the international level in Busan, South Korea. The EG player is the fourth native North American mid laner since 2014 to compete in an international tournament.
Eugene “Pobelter” Park, Tanner “Damonte”, and Lâm Du “Hải” are the other three native NA mid laners who have competed internationally in the past eight years. Pobelter made the most international appearances. From 2015 to 2018, he competed in four League of Legends World Championships, as well as in MSI.
Damonte participated at Worlds 2019, while Hải played at Worlds 2014. Although Hải qualified for Worlds in 2015, he played for Cloud9 as a jungler and support to fill in for the split playoffs.
It proved how many mid-lane players North American teams import every year as well as how successful they are in the region. Other NA players who have represented NA teams overseas since 2014 are Luka “Perkz” Perković, Felix “Abbedagge” Braun, Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer, and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage.
That being said, Danish players Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Nicolaj “Jensen” are the LCS mid laners with the most international appearances, playing in several Worlds and MSI tournaments.
From bottom to top
Throughout his career, Jojopyun hasn’t always been a League player. Fortnite, a popular battle royale released in 2017, is where he began his pro gaming career, and that explains perfectly what he has become as a player.
Jojopyun, who was a highly-rated Fortnite player at the time, streamed his snipes and challenged professional players to 1v1 combats. His most famous challenge was addressed to Fortnite pro and popular content creator Tanner “Tfue” Tenney after bumping into him in a public game. He said, however, he never intended to become a professional gamer.
“I just competed in it for fun,” he said, reminiscing about his Fortnite career, “because I knew you could make money if you played well. I thought I was pretty good and I knew I could make some money, so I just kind of played whenever.”
It was a recommendation from a friend that got him into League. Like Fortnite, he never intended to play it competitively. Fast forward to today, Jojopyun is the youngest player competing in the LCS at 17 years of age.
Over a year ago, Jojopyun made his competitive debut as a mid laner for Noble Esports, which has now disbanded. He lasted only one month before leaving to shortly play with Zenith Esports, an amateur NA team, where he was a substitute.
Jojopyun’s true career began when EG recruited him in 2021. Before getting called up to the LCS, he played for 10 months with the organization’s academy team. The team struggled to post impressive results during his term, but they recorded a second-place finish in the 2021 Spring Giant Slayer Gauntlet, their only achievement above fifth place.
That being said, EG saw Jojopyun as a promising prospect for the NA league. The LCS roster called him up on November 15, 2021, just 6 weeks and 3 days after he turned 17, the minimum age to compete.
In his first-ever tier 1 tournament, Jojopyun advanced to the finals of the LCS Lock-In. It appears now that he has no intention of stopping.