Shad0w confirms he will play in the LPL for the 2021 season

Christian Vejvad • December 29, 03:51

Former MAD Lions jungler Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao recently confirmed in a Weibo post that he will be playing in the Chinese LPL for the 2021 season. 

After playing with MAD Lions throughout the 2020 season, Shad0w will be heading to the best league in China. Even though his exact destination isn’t official yet, this is looking to be the first time a player fostered in Europe will play in the LPL. Shad0w officially has Chinese residency, so he won’t be considered an import. 

Even though Shad0w exceeded most fans’ expectations on MAD Lions, he did end his time on the team on a fairly bad note. It came as a surprise that MAD Lions would go on to beat teams like G2 Esports in the LEC, followed up by qualifying for the 2020 World Championship, but the team’s international showing wasn’t great. 

As the LEC fourth seed, MAD Lions had to go through the play-in stage where the squad was expected to cruise through without much trouble. But as soon as MAD Lions hit Summoner’s Rift during the play-in stage, Shad0w and MAD Lions started to disappoint. MAD Lions was ultimately knocked out by Papara SuperMassive after an intense best-of-five, sending MAD Lions home from its first Worlds appearance. This was the first time that a team from a major region had lost a best-of-five series to a team from a wild card region.

The performance at Worlds left Shad0w out in the cold as MAD Lions chose to sign former Movistar Riders jungler Javier “Elyoya” Prades instead. The young jungler has already made a name for himself in the Spanish league and will now be given the chance in the LEC. 

Shad0w will likely be remembered in the LEC as one of the region’s best Lee Sin players, after making several highlight-worthy plays throughout 2020. Only time will tell if Shad0w will stay in the LPL for the remainder of his career or return to Europe at some point in the future. 

What LPL team will Shad0w join?

While it’s finally official that Shad0w is heading to the LPL for 2021, it’s still unknown which team he will play for. The LPL consists of 17 teams and is known to often field a roster with more than five players. This makes the potential list of teams very long and fans will therefore have to wait for an official announcement. Shad0w’s new team will likely become official in the upcoming weeks before the LPL starts back up in January 2021. 

Who is Shad0w in LoL?

Shad0w is a 19-year-old jungler from who was born in Italy and has Chinese residency. Shad0w started his career in October 2016 on Element Team 1. As a talented player, Shad0w slowly but surely climbed his way up before being picked up by mousesports in May 2019. From that point, things moved quickly, and MAD Lions scouted him for the 2020 LEC season. As an LEC rookie, Shad0w managed to showcase great skill and that he is a talented player that can develop under the right supervision. 

Why did Shad0w leave MAD Lions?

Shad0w and MAD Lions parted ways in November 2019 shortly after the 2020 World Championship. Even though Shad0w got to play on the biggest international stage in his rookie year, he didn’t perform well at the tournament. MAD Lions was knocked out of the play-in stage and the lack of performance from Shad0w was considered one of the main reasons for that. While it’s not confirmed, it seems that MAD Lions made the decision not to re-sign with Shad0w to improve its chances for the 2021 LEC season. 

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