Darhsan Domestic Career
Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya started his LoL career under the name of ZionSpartan. He first came into the spotlight in 2012 when he subbed in for Monomaniac eSports at IPL 4. The team lost 1-2 in the first round to Team Dignitas but managed to bounce back with victories versus Against All Authority and Team Curse. And while they lost in the following round to CLG, they still finished the tournament in fourth place.
After the event, Darshan left together with the rest of the Monomaniac eSports to join Team Dynamic. There, they had strong showings in a variety of online tournaments, routinely upsetting established organizations like Team Dignitas and Counter Logic Gaming (CLG). Still, Team Dynamic took a dip in performance when they replaced their jungler NintendudeX, which caused them to lose IPL Face Off.
Things turned for the better when they brought NintendudeX back, and Team Dynamic placed third at the 2012 MLG Summer Championship, earning a spot at the Season Two North American Regionals. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep their momentum going and lost to Team Dignitas in the first round of the competition. After such a disappointing showing, Team Dynamic went through a number of roster changes. But none of the moves helped them at IPL 5 where they failed to make it out of the group stage. Eventually, the entire lineup left to form Good Game University (GGU).
On GGU, Dashan had his first NA LCS games. The team had a rough start in the first half of the 2013 Spring Split, but it picked up the slack and secured a playoffs spot. There, they stunned the onlookers with back-to-back victories against Team Dignitas and Team Curse. And even though they lost to TSM in the finals, GGU definitely made their presence known.
For the summer split, GGU rebranded as Team Coast. However, they once again struggled during the regular season, and their 9-19 record meant they had to fight for their spot in the Promotion Tournament. Fortunately, they defeated The Walking Zed lineup to stay in the NA LCS. During this time, Dashan played a mix of bruisers and carries, putting a strong emphasis on laning and teamfighting.
Coast made a return in 2014, but they found themselves at the very bottom of the NA LCS food chain. And even though they made it to the playoffs, the fact that they lost in the first round to CLG meant that they had to play in another Promotion Tournament. This time, they weren’t as lucky, losing 1-3 to complexity.Black.
Darshan found a new home on Team Dignitas. Despite the fact that they had a strong start, Dignitas came down to earth and finished the 2014 Summer Split in sixth place. In the playoffs, they scored a 3-1 victory against CLG before crumbling in the subsequent match against TSM.
In the off-season, Darshan accepted an offer from CLG. CLG showed a lot of promise in the 2015 Spring Split. But they were ultimately unable to keep up the pace in the playoffs, suffering a crushing 0-3 loss at the hand of Team Liquid. That didn’t stop CLG from coming back even stronger for the 2015 Summer Split. They ended the regular season in first place and 3-0’d Team Impulse and TSM in the playoffs to win an NA LCS trophy.
At the time, Darshan shifted his focus to splitpushing. He worked best when he was creating pressure in the side lane while his team was taking objectives elsewhere. And when the situation called for it, Darshan was always ready to join them with Teleport.
CLG went through a series of roster changes in the off-season. Their performance took a hit as a result, but they were still a top-tier team. They ended the 2016 NA LCS Spring Split in second place, securing a bye to the Semifinals. There, they defeated Team Liquid with a 3-2 score before going on to defeat TSM in a hard-fought final.
From this point, everything went downhill. The removal of lane swaps hit CLG the hardest, and the team that found two consecutive NA LCS victories barely managed to finish fourth in the 2016 Summer Split. Fortunately, CLG had accumulated Circuit Point to get invited to the 2016 World Championship, but this was still a very grim sign for the organization.
Things became even worse in the 2017 Spring Split. CLG had their fair share of ups and downs in the regular season, but it was their 2-3 loss in the first round of the playoffs that really sealed the deal. The organization that once took over North America finished its split in sixth place.
In summer, it seemed that the acquisition of a new jungler, Dardoch, would turn their bad luck around. And while they enjoyed more success in summer, internal conflicts forced CLG to part ways with Dardoch at the end of the split. They entered the playoffs with OmarGod, a jungler from their Challenger team. But even though they managed to defeat Team EnVyUs in the Quarterfinals, OmarGod simply wasn’t up to the LCS standard, and CLG suffered a crushing 0-3 defeat at the hand of Immortals.
Coincidentally, this was when Darshan was at his peak. He branched out from splitpushing and employed a variety of playstyles to assist his team at every stage of the game. This made him a more well-rounded top laner… but it wasn’t enough to carry his team.
Darshan International Tournaments
Over the course of his career, Darshan has been to many international tournaments. He attended his first significant event—IEM Season 9 Cologne—as a part of Counter Logic Gaming. Together they took down ROCCAT in the Semifinals, but couldn’t stand their ground against Gambit Gaming in the finals.
Much later, CLG went to the 2015 World Championship. They were seeded into Group A together with Flash Wolves and KOO Tigers. Both of these teams proved stronger than them, and so, CLG failed to make it out of the group stage.
Afterward, CLG attended IEM Season 10 San Jose. They scored two victories against Unicorns of Love and Jin Air Green Wings before losing 0-3 to Origen in the finals.
Their showing at the IEM Season X World Championship was even more underwhelming, and CLG failed to qualify for the knockout stage after losing to SKT T1 and Fnatic.
Finally, CLG had their international breakthrough at the 2016 MSI. There, they breezed through the group stage with a 7-3 record and went on to defeat Flash Wolves in the Semifinals. And while they couldn’t overcome their final opponent—SKT T1—this was still one of the best international showings for North America.
CLG qualified for another World Championship in 2016. They ended up in the same group with G2 Esports, ROX Tigers, and Albus Nox Luna. And even though CLG took games off the former two, they couldn’t crack the ANX puzzle. They finished their group with a 3-3 record, barely missing out on a chance to advance to the knockout stage.