When fans think of Chinese League of Legends, who is the first player that would come to mind? Many would answer ‘Uzi’, the legendary AD carry of what was once Star Horn Royal Club.
Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao’s five-year career has made him into a larger than life figure. In China, he is the most popular player in the LPL, with a massive fan club unlike any other in the west.
In the rest of the world, Uzi is the embodiment of a less popular region. Despite his recent blunders with Royal Never Give Up, many still see him as an unspeakably dominant superstar in the LPL, who wins every lane and destroys any bot lane who dares come across him.
The full truth is a bit less romantic, but Uzi is still one of the best ADCs in the region today. Historically, few can match up against his career accolades. Two worlds final appearances and four LPL finals appearances – his accomplishments undoubtedly contributed to his confident facade.
However, one goal has eluded him throughout his legendary career. There is one moment that one of the most internationally successful players in Chinese history has never experienced; the star of the LPL is missing something from his decorated career.
His trophy room is empty.
The reverse sweep by EDG on RNG, feelsbadman for Uzi. #LPLSummerFinals
— DivineSkills (@IceTangWaiXian) September 1, 2017
This is actually sad, that one time I wanted uzi to win something RNG throws a 2-0 lead :/
— Lokkiiii (@Moeaboveall1212) September 1, 2017
Uzi died to minion and RNG got aced this is proof that Uzi second place curse exist I'm dead inside
— Ran (@ran9225) September 1, 2017
There are few other household names with such a noticeable lack of a first place victory as the LPL’s crown jewel: SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has won several titles, both in and out of Korea, Team SoloMid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg has six NA LCS splits under his belt, Bo-Wei “BeBe” Chang’s Season 2 World Championship trophy features prominently in his famed tenure with the Taipei Assassins.
Can Uzi really be included in a conversation alongside these greats when he lacks the one award that matters most?
This Summer Split with Royal Never Give Up might have been his best chance to at last earn his long-sought after award. For once in his career, Uzi didn’t have all the pressure forced onto his shoulders.
He could rely on Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, MVP of the Summer split, andShi “Ming” Sen Ming, his up and coming rookie support, to relieve the burden often placed on his back.
RNG was heavily favoured against Edward Gaming, and proved it in Games one and two of the LPL Playoffs Final. They blew their opponents out of the water, with Uzi and Xiaohu leading the charge towards the former’s potential first victory.
However, it was Uzi, despite all his experience, who succumbed to the weight of the crowd. This player has been to the semifinals of multiple World Championships, he has stood on this stage many times over his long-lasting career, yet when it mattered most, he crumbled, as if he’d never seen the heights of competitive stakes before.
Over the next two games, EDG’s Hu “iBoy” Xianzhao outclassed Uzi in lane, An ADC with fewer than five weeks of competitive experience, crushed one with nearly five years.
Despite all of his years fighting for the grand trophy, Uzi seems to have a mental block preventing him from actually taking it for himself. It’s hard to say how much longer Uzi’s storied career will last. He still can play at a top level, but his 5 years of experience already top most players still in the game. China’s
It’s hard to say how much longer Uzi’s storied career will last. He still can play at a top level, but China’s poster-boy may never feel the joy of victory, as long as he plays.