Zhiqiang "shad0w" Zhao has returned to the competitive League of Legends scene by signing with LGD Gaming as its new jungler. The League of Legends Pro League team announced the signing of shad0w via Chinese social media platform Weibo.
LGD Gaming attended the 2020 World Championship as the 4th seed representing the LPL, but an exodus of every starter on the roster following the season sans South Korean AD carry Ha "Kramer" Jong-hun, struggled to a 4-12, 14th place finish in the 2021 LPL Spring Split. Only three of the 17 teams competing in the LPL finished with a lower win percentage than LGD last split, so it's unsurprising that the team is looking to make some changes.
In his rookie season, shad0w — who, at the time, stylized his name as Shadow — impressed in the 2019 League of Legends European Championship as the jungler for MAD Lions, notably, earning All-Pro honors in the Summer Split. In its first season as a team, MAD qualified for Worlds 2020 as the 4th seed representing the LEC, but the team failed to make it out of the Play-In due in large part to shad0w's poor adaptation to the meta and subsequent performance.
For the first half of 2021, shad0w found himself unsigned due to the recency of his champion pool issues at Worlds 2020, but LGD has not been able to properly fill the void left by Han "Peanut" Wang-ho, who joined League of Legends Champions Korea squad Nongshim Redforce before the start of the 2021 season. In shad0w, LGD will receive the same type of electrifying, mechanically-intensive style of play that Peanut brought to the squad on his best days.
The 2021 LPL Summer Split kicks off on Monday, June 7. LGD Gaming's first match will be on Thursday, June 10 against Rare Atom.