Very few players have a career as storied as Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun, especially not in such a short space of time.
Although Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun may not have one of the longest careers in eSports, he certainly has one of the most interesting.
The Korean support started his League of Legends career at the beginning of 2015 with the newly rebranded Winterfox organisation. IgNaR joined as a substitute support for the team, but would only stay with them for five months before returning to Korea where he would be fulfilled with a starting position on the roster.
IgNaR joined Incredible Miracle, an LCK team that would later be renamed to Longzhu Gaming. Lasting from May – December 2015, during his time on Incredible Miracle IgNar began to make establish a reputation for himself by being incredibly aggressive and showcasing his talent on champions like Thresh, Leona and Blitzcrank.
However, when the team renamed to Longzhu Gaming at the end of 2015, rather than renew his contract, IgNaR opted to join an up-and-coming KT Rolster squad, part of a Korean heavyweight with a large fan base.
IgNar’s period with KT Rolster, although brief, showcased him as a great mechanical player with a lot of potential, however halfway through the split, he decided to go his separate ways from the organisation, citing “personal reasons” as his cause for quitting the team.
After only playing three games with the KT organisation before leaving, it was unsure where IgNaR would spend the rest of the season. Soon after, however, it emerged that the Korea was trying out for Team SoloMid alongside current support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang.
TSM would opt to take Biofrost over IgNar, leaving the support to look elsewhere for a team. He wouldn’t have to wait long for other offers, as shortly after, he joined the then-unknown European challenger team known as Misfits.
Joining the team in June of 2016, he helped take them to the top of the Challenger scene. Despite losing to Origen in the first attempt to break into the EU LCS, they would enjoy better luck in the losers bracket, beating Schalke 04 eSports and cementing their place in the 2017 Spring Split.
Misfits and IgNar enjoyed an amazing breakout split in the EU LCS, finishing second in a group containing G2 eSports and Fnatic. IgNar would go on to compete as part of the third-place qualifier, where Misfits fell to Fnatic 3-0.
Following a roster swap in the jungle, both Misfits and Ignar showed tremendous improvement throughout the Summer Split, highlighted poignantly in the playoffs, taking down first the Unicorns of Love, before banishing the demons of the spring to defeat Fnatic.
The victory over Fnatic would secure IgNar’s attendance to the 2017 World Championships. With IgNar as a driving force, the organisation had gone from the EU Challenger Series to the Worlds, all in just one competitive year.
Misfits defied all expectations at their first international tournament. Drafted into a group alongside Team SoloMid, Flash Wolves and Team WE, almost everyone expected Misfits to finish bottom two in the group.
Not only would this mean IgNaR would have the chance to face up against the team that had denied him a spot on the roster and the support that had taken his place, it also meant he got to face up against the best supports from around the world.
Misfits shocked everyone when they secured the second seed out of their groups, besting Western rivals Team SoloMid, yet the biggest surprise was yet to come.
“[When] I passed the test from TSM and I said ‘Wow! I’m going to TSM!’. I was excited while I waited at home.
“After a while, they said I actually failed so I said ‘Damn… what do I do about this’ and then Misfits contacted me.
“At that time, Misfits was in the challenger league. I didn’t even think that Misfits could make it to the challenger league.
“It does feel good to have started with them from the challenger series and make it all the way here.”
Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun
When the quarter-final match-ups were revealed, fans sighed as Misfits was drawn against reigning champions SK Telecom T1. A 3-0 victory for SKT was seemingly on the cards as 98% of the community predicted SKT to win, but IgNar would not go down without a fight.
IgNar and his team loaded onto the rift with something to prove, they wanted to show off their own unique style of play and show that Europe was still an incredibly dominant region, although they eventually fell to SKT 3-2, many fans voted IgNaR as the MVP of the series, something no one had predicted.
“When watching SKT play, I thought: ‘Maybe, we can’t win against them by playing the normal way’, so I wanted to try champions that I was fully confident in – engage champions.”
Combining his innovative Leona support and his ever-so-dominant Blitzcrank, IgNar put the team on his back and managed to challenge the Korean team, showing confidence in his own style and putting on an amazing performance in the process.
ggwp @sktelecom_t1 we lose.. but really happy that we made this situation. thank u for fans. especially last shout from crowd was amazing.
— Donggeun LEE (@IgNarLoL) October 20, 2017
Although his worlds run has ended sooner than he may have liked, IgNar has certainly won the hearts of many fans and shocked the world stage with his style of play.
“Our team placed 4th in the EU LCS, which was a really good accomplishment. Then, we placed 2nd, made it to Worlds.
“The best memory is constantly being updated.”
Although it isn’t confirmed that he will stay with Misfits for the next year, fans will be hopeful that IgNaR and Misfits can achieve great things together next season.