Ever since KRÜ Esports KRÜ Esports Latin America South Rank #5 keznit Angelo Mori Klaus Nicolas Ferrari mta Nicolás González Shyy Fabian Usnayo Melser Marco Eliot Machuca Amaro failed to qualify for Masters Tokyo, only one team has been able to say they have qualified to every international LAN they have been able to reach.

And that team, EDward Gaming EDward Gaming China Rank #1 ZmjjKK Zheng Yongkang (郑永康) nobody Wang Senxu (王森旭) Muggle Tang Shijun (唐时俊) CHICHOO Wan Shunji (万顺治) Smoggy Zhang Zhao (张钊) Haodong Guo Haodong (郭浩东) , doesn't come from any of the three big regions.

Their first chance at reaching a tournament abroad was in the 2022 East Asia LCQ. That is, the tournament EDG swept through without even dropping a map. They were not able to find any wins at Champions that year, nor at this year's LOCK//IN event they were invited to.

EDG returned home, dominated the FGC Acts as they had done in 2022, and qualified to Masters Tokyo. At first, it seemed like Tokyo wasn't the event where a Chinese team would finally find a win, as EDG lost to T1 T1 Korea Rank #2 Sayaplayer Ha Jeong-woo (하정우) Rossy Daniel Abedrabbo Carpe Lee Jae-hyeok (이재혁) iZu Ham Woo-ju (함우주) xccurate Kevin Susanto 2-1 in the Group A opener.

But right there, something flipped. EDG wrestled with Natus Vincere Natus Vincere Europe Rank #3 ANGE1 Kyrylo Karasov Shao Andrey Kiprsky Zyppan Pontus Eek SUYGETSU Dmitry Ilyushin ardiis Ardis Svarenieks in a 2-0 win, and got revenge in the 2-1 decider that qualified them to playoffs. Not only did they find their first win, EDG went all the way to the playoffs. Nor did they stop there — the team would go on to eliminate LOUD LOUD Brazil Rank #1 Quick Gabriel Lima saadhak Matias Delipetro Less Felipe de Loyola tuyz Arthur Andrade cauanzin Cauan Pereira in the lower bracket, later falling to Paper Rex in the top six.

It is the best run any Chinese team has put up at an international VCT tournament so far, and it was largely attributed to one player.

ZmjjKK on the Masters Tokyo stage Enter Kang Kang. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

EDG's star is and always has been Zheng "ZmjjKK" Yongkang (郑永康). Otherwise known as Kang Kang, this Chinese duelist star was the only player not on the FNATIC FNATIC Europe Rank #1 Leo Leo Jannesson Derke Nikita Sirmitev Boaster Jake Howlett Chronicle Timofey Khromov Alfajer Emir Ali Beder roster in the top five of the Masters Tokyo ratings, placing fourth. If that by itself does not sound impressive, ZmjjKK also recorded the highest ACS, ADR, KPR, FKPR, kills, and first kills of Masters Tokyo.

And now that they are about to return to the golden stage of Champions, EDG look as sharp as ever.

Similarly to their pre-Masters run, EDG looked a cut above the rest at the Champions China Qualifier. They reached the grand final without dropping any maps and, in the final bout, they lost their one and only map. And even that loss was a 14-12 on Bilibili Gaming's map pick.

EDG and PRX on the Masters Tokyo stage This rematch can happen as early as Day 2 of Champions (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

With the quick evolution EDward Gaming have shown from event to event, they are definitely a team to be feared at Champions. But it's not like they will have an easy run.

EDG are slotted into Group A with VCT Pacific champions Paper Rex, against whom they lost at Tokyo. EDG will also face Americas and EMEA LCQ winners KRÜ Esports and Giants Gaming Giants Gaming Inactive Redgar Igor Vlasov Fit1nho Adolfo Gallego nukkye Žygimantas Chmieliauskas hoody Aaro Peltokangas Cloud Kirill Nehozhin . Paper Rex will finally play with star something , while KRÜ and Giants both look in great form.

While ZmjjKK was Masters Tokyo's fourth-best player by rating, his best teammate was another eight places down, in 12th, and his other teammates were even further down. However, there was one category most of EDG excelled at: clutches.

CHICHOO pieced together 10 clutches, tying for second in that category. Smoggy was close behind with nine. These were most prominent in the group stage match against NAVI, where EDG won 11 1vX situations. EDG as a team aren't asleep at the wheel; everyone is contributing. ZmjjKK's fragging is just one step above his teammates'.

EDG have already taken one very important step in Tokyo: activating Kang Kang. If they can activate the rest of the squad in Los Angeles, who knows how far EDward can game.