JDG Hope: From EDG’s benchwarmer to a Worlds 2022 frontrunner

JDG HopeColin Young-Wolff/Riot Game

JDG has become one of the frontrunners for the world title in record time with a refreshed roster. We sat with JDG Hope to ask about his long and arduous path to success, as well as the development of the team through the year.

Wang ‘Hope’ Jie has sneakily become the best ADC in China. While it’s easy to argue that players like GALA or Viper are more skilled in certain areas, it can’t be argued that Hope played a major role in JDG beating every other LPL team and taking home a domestic title.

But things haven’t been easy for Hope. He spent over 3 years with EDG, the majority of which were spent either as a sub on their main roster or on their LDL team.

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Hope was able to spend a year on EDG’s main roster only to get replaced by Park ‘Viper’ Do-hyeon, the player that would go on to win it all at Worlds 2021.

Through all the hardship on his journey to JDG, Hope came out of it a better player, and he’s used his own unique skillset to bring JDG to the top. We asked him about his unique ability to come back from any deficit, his tumultuous time on EDG, and the good vibes on JDG at Worlds 2022.

JDG Hope hit a wall during his time with EDG

Hope’s pro career hasn’t been an easy one. He was stuck on EDG for years, being shifted constantly in and out of their LPL team and down into the LDL, a densely-packed development league for players that couldn’t quite make it to the LPL proper.

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With there being 24 teams in the LDL, it can be really hard to stand out from the rest. For many aspiring Chinese pro players, this is where their careers begin with a whimper and die silently before getting a chance to play in the LPL.

But in 2020, Hope got his chance to shine. And, despite EDG’s poor placement overall with Hope on the team in 2020, he played very well individually.

His stats during his 2020 Spring Split on EDG averaged out to him having a 7.68 KDA overall with almost 10 CS per minute, and on average just over a death per game. Statistically, he was an insanely strong player, even back then.

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But Viper coming onto EDG put Hope on the bench, and right back down to EDG’s LDL team. Through Hope’s time on EDG’s LDL roster, he felt like he wasn’t making any progress, and EDG wasn’t willing to give him the second chance he deserved.

“The competitive level is not very strong in the LDL, so I felt like I kind of wasn’t making progress in the LDL. I didn’t perform very well when I went to the LDL.”

But Hope was offered a new opportunity: A starting spot on JDG as a part of an almost full roster rebuild.

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JDG | YouTube
Looking to the future with JDG

Through his many years of competing up until he landed a starting spot on JDG, Hope had one goal in mind:

“I just wanted to prove myself and perform well in the pro league.”

Winning is about more than just carrying

While Hope’s playstyle may not be flashy like that of other LPL ADCs like Viper and Chen ‘GALA’ Wei, he does have something going for him that other ADCs don’t have: resilience.

There are many ADC players out there that do incredibly well with a lead. Knowing how to keep yourself alive in teamfights and lead your team to victory is a valuable skill for ADC players. Hope has that carry gene in him, and, when he’s got a lead, he uses it well.

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But not all games allow for ideal circumstances. Every player makes mistakes, and a team like JDG has a top and mid laner worth playing around. Just because Hope has carry potential doesn’t mean he has to carry in order for JDG to win games.

In games where he gets focused, dived, and shut out of the game as a result of the enemy team doing everything they can to set him back, Hope gets back up and keeps fighting for the win. He felt that every player on JDG has this ability.

“Even when we’re kind of behind in the actual games, every one of us on the team tries our best in our own way. We really try to look for any opportunity. If we find opportunities, even in difficult situations, we’re able to come back.”

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Hope and Missing escaping with a sliver of health

Where being behind may spell doom for some ADC players, Hope is exceptional at finding an opening and contributing to the teamfight no matter how far he gets set back. JDG doesn’t have just one win condition. Any lane can be a win condition, a trait that’s suited JDG very well going into the Worlds meta.

Hope was very quick to give all the credit to his teammates, and he was exceptionally keen to talk about how much his teammates on JDG have helped him improve and create a team worth playing for.

Greener pastures

Hope was very excited to talk about his experience on JDG so far. Moving away from an organization you’ve been with for years can be a massive an intimidating change, but it’s a change Hope was more than willing to make.

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“I was not scared of joining JDG because everyone has really good personalities, and it’s really easy to get along well with everybody. The atmosphere is really good, and we’re having a great time and great performances. We keep winning, so it’s good to play with this team.”

Can’t argue with results.

But there’s more to it than that; JDG wasn’t always so dominant. In Spring, they had some serious issues with maintaining a consistent level of skill. JDG would drop a set to a mid-tier team like BLG one week only to 2-0 V5 the next. They were a good team with a lot of room for improvement.

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Summer was a different story. In just a few months, JDG managed to iron out many of their issues. They started to look like more than just a good team; they looked like the best team.

What’s more, JDG’s 2022 team was a major rebuild. Seo ‘Kanavi’ Jin-hyeok and Zeng ‘Yagao’ Qi were all that remained from the 2021 roster, while the other three players came together from completely different teams. It took a bit for JDG to build the high level of synergy they have at Worlds 2022.

“Our mid jungle duo are both veterans. At the very beginning, we were trying to find the playstyle of the whole team. Now that we have found our own strengths and playstyle, we’re much stronger than at the beginning of the year.”

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JDG | YouTube

However, Hope and the rest of JDG haven’t let their previous victories make them complacent. Even with JDG being a team that’s heavily favored for the world title, they’re taking things one game at a time and making sure not to get ahead of themselves.

“We’re very happy about the support, but we don’t want to fail to live up to other people’s expectations.”

“Thank you everyone for your support for us, and we’ll try our best to win the world championship.”