League of Legends pro forces game pause after falling ill on-stage
In Team WE’s set against Weibo Gaming, a set that’s crucial to Playoffs placement for both teams, WE’s Heng was feeling so unwell that he called for a pause to collect himself. Despite this, he stayed on stage and had a stellar performance in games 2 and 3.
When compared to other League of Legends pro leagues in major regions, the LPL is the most competitive when it comes to getting a spot in the Playoffs. With 17 teams competing for 10 spots, there are 7 teams that won’t make the cut.
Team WE, meanwhile, was dead last to end 2022. Other than a brief bout of success at the tail end of 2021, WE has been doomed to mediocrity since 2017. Though WE stands for World Elite, their LoL team has been anything but for the better part of a decade.
However, after cobbling together a roster of strong players like Hope (formerly of JDG) and Iwandy, a player who hit rank 1 on Korean servers in 2022 while he was on the bench for LNG, Team WE made themselves a team worth rooting for.
Unfortunately, disaster struck in a game crucial to their chances of making Playoffs when WE jungler Yang ‘Heng’ Cui-Heng was feeling so unwell on stage that game 1 had to be paused.
Team WE jungler Heng calls for game pause due to illness
Surrounded by veteran players, Heng is on his rookie split in the LPL. He played for Young Miracles, a now defunct team in the LDL (League of Legends Development League), known for producing some of China’s best players during their long tenure as an independent organization within the 24-team development league. Standing out there is hard, and this was Heng’s big break.
That said, he was coming onto a team that ended 2022 without winning a set. He had a lot to prove on a team that was nosediving, and, with their record being 7-7 going into their set against Weibo Gaming, he’s been able to deliver.
However, due to illness, he looked shaky in game 1 and called a pause early on after a mechanical misplay in the early game put Shanks, his mid laner, extremely far behind. The pause getting called got a chuckle out of opposing jungler Karsa and confused fans, but it turned out that Heng was feeling seriously ill.
As was confirmed on the English LPL broadcast and by fans in China, Heng was sick enough that he needed time to gather himself and try to re-focus while playing. As fans could clearly see on the player cams, he was looking rough. Biubiu, their top laner, also didn’t look to be feeling 100%.
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Heng returned for game 2 with a fever patch to try and mitigate the effects of being sick so he could stay on stage, but he was visibly shivering and shaking in his chair.
One would assume that Heng would have tried to stick to champions that are a bit more mechanically simple considering he wasn’t feeling well. He then proceeded to pick Lee Sin, one of the game’s most complex champions, in games 2 and 3 and just ran over the competition. He outperformed veteran jungler Karsa in both games up until he ran out of steam midway through the third game.
Ultimately, this loss might end up being the one that locks them out of the Playoffs. Unless Invictus Gaming or RNG lose their next series and WE wins their next series, they don’t have a path to continue competing past the regular season.
That said, this split has been a massive improvement for the organization after building a roster comprised of leftover players from top teams, longtime WE mid laner Shanks, and rookie jungler Heng. Even if he lost, the fact that this set was even close shows incredible resolve from Heng and the rest of the players on Team WE.
This isn’t the first time this year we’ve seen a player decide to step onto the stage despite not feeling the best. Earlier this year, DRX’s deokdam decided to play despite having a very visible injury on his left arm.