As the League of Legends World Championship Group Stage is now kicking, let’s take a look at the storied career of Royal Never Give Up’s Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao.
Theoretically speaking, if the world’s very own Elon Musk were to craft a perfectly skilled Attack Damage Carry (ADC) AI in League of Legends, Uzi – handpicked by several Esports analysts and professional players as arguably the greatest ADC player of all time – would certainly be picked as Musk’s model to copy his playing style and mechanical pattern.
Mostly feared by other professional LoL players due to his ultra-aggressive playing style and near-divine last-hitting, Uzi is seen almost in every game as the highest damage dealer and with the most minions killed, a legendary testament to his nature that even the great ADC pioneers and talented newcomers cannot topple. However, this nature summoned by Uzi himself sometimes acts as a backfiring revolver which the opposing team can make him pay if he misplays even the slightest movement with his aggressive style.
Like every other professional players who rose to fame, Uzi stapled his in-game name by wreaking havoc and climbing the tall ladder on Chinese solo queue games that eventually caught the attention of the Royal Club organization in October of 2012 at the age of 15.
Desperate and unable to compete well enough at LAN tournaments pre-Uzi era, Royal Club has become one of the strongest teams heading into 2013 by qualifying for League of Legends World Championship as the first seed after squashing their Chinese rivals Oh My God three games to one in a best-of-five series headed by the three-headed monsters Uzi, Tabe and Wh1t3zZ. Due to the team’s excellent performance at the Season 3 Regional Finals, it has signified the birth of Uzi’s now-popular moniker Puppy and Royal Club’s former bread and butter strategy Raise the Puppy. Royal Club went on to the League of Legends World Championship as they defeated Oh My God in the quarterfinals 2-0, mauled Fnatic in the semifinals 3-1 but finally brought down by SKT, which was captained by the soon-to-be greatest mid-laner of all time, Faker, in the grand finals 0-3.
The year 2014 was a bittersweet chapter for the Puppy. Still hungry to claim that precious cheese, the organization made roster changes as they imported the Korean Jungler Juggernaut Choi “insect” In-seok and put Cola, corn and zero in the top, mid and support positions, respectively. The newly-named Star Horn Royal Club finished at a decent third place spot in the LPL regular season and qualified for the fourth annual LoL World Championship. Confident of avenging for the glorious trophy, the team outshone several teams at the tournament led, of course, by Uzi’s mechanical prowess and ability to carry the team with his vintage aggressive playstyle. Star Horn Royal Club took another of their solid Chinese counterparts Edward Gaming in a hard-fought quarterfinals bout 3-2, fated to once and for all demolish Oh My God in the semifinals 3-2 and advanced to the grand finals only to be put down by the unquestionable greatest team of all time in League of Legends history Samsung White 3-1. Making it to the finals made Uzi one of the four players beside Faker, Bang and Wolf to make it to two consecutive finals in LoL World Championship but it took two “greatest” titles to put Uzi underneath the iceberg. The Puppy eventually left the organization on December 11 of 2014 to join Oh My God.
Uzi’s decision to partake with Oh My God’s mission of dominating the Chinese region seemed to take a haunting turn on his career. The team managed to finish third in the Spring Split but failed to qualify for the fifth LoL World Championship after completing the regular season at a disappointing fifth spot in the Summer Split, leaving the Puppy to explore more options outside the organization.
Royal Never Give Up looked promising as they picked up the greatest ADC player of all time and two former Samsung White soldiers Mata and DanDy. The trio superstars were dominant in the 2016 regular season which made them qualify for the sixth LoL World Championship. Uzi once again showed the world that he was still at his peak by making through to the group stage after defeating the fan-favorite Team Solo Mid in a tie-breaker. However, an unfortunate scenario surfaced as they faced Faker and company in the quarterfinals. They lost to them 1-3.
Time, the history teller, will dictate if the ever-hungry-for-title Uzi can claim the glory he has been fighting for all these years. On the bright side, Uzi-led Royal Never Give Up are looking in the group stage at this year’s LoL World Championship following a perfect game against the Korean titans Samsung Galaxy.