LoL 2022: Uzi returns to pro stage with LPL’s Bilibili Gaming
China’s Golden Boy Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao is returning to the competitive stage of League of Legends pro in 2022, after early retirement in 2020 due to health issues.
Previously, Uzi left the pro scene after only winning one international title, URiot Games’ Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) in 2018. Now, Uzi is set to rejoin with the 2022 roster of LPL Bilibili Gaming (BLG), who ranked seventh in the league in the 2021 season.
“I’m back,” Uzi wrote in a post announcing his return.
In a video published by BLG answering questions from fans, Uzi explained how he’s excited for his match upon return. “It will depend on how my training goes and up to the decision of our coaches. I believe I will make my first appearance very soon.”
The story behind the name
Uzi first joined the League with LPL squad Royal Club in 2013, the predecessor of Royal Never Give Up (RNG) in 2016. He rose as the star with one of the best ADCs and established a strong synergy with RNG teammates jungler Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan and mid-laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao.
In 2017, Uzi and RNG placed second in LPL Spring and Summer, then advanced as far as the semifinals at the World Championship. In Spring and Summer 2018, the team won domestic titles, while securing the Mid-Season Invitational trophy and reaching the quarterfinals.
Sadly in 2019, the team was struggling at Worlds, and they weren’t able to advance to the playoffs, despite winning crowns domestically.
In 2021, RNG managed to reclaim a spot at the upper echelon of LPL after a reshuffle of the roster, reaching the quarterfinals at Worlds 2021, which was held in Reykjavik, Iceland.
“Superteam” in the making
Uzi is the last player to be joining Bilibili’s new roster after the organization made 5 changes. Alongside Uzi and jungler Wei ‘Weiwei’ Bo-Han from the 2021 roster, are names such as 2019 world champion support Liu ‘Crisp’ Qing-Song; top laner Chen ‘Breathe’ Chen; mid laner Chu ‘FoFo’ Chun-Lan; and PCS AD carry star and former Beyond Gaming marksman Chiu ‘Doggo’ Tzu-Chuan.
Crisp admitted to joining BLG because of Uzi. Despite resting from the professional scene for almost two years, FoFo commented that Uzi was doing well during practice. Weiwei also respected Uzi by calling him “doesn’t have to earn anything but still chooses to return.”
LPL co-streamer and former pro player Christian ‘iWillDominate’ Rivera name the new roster as a “superteam”.
Moving forward, Uzi might be facing his former teammates as he starts anew with BLG, leading the team to victory against rivals such as Edward Gaming, Royal Never Give Up, Top Esports, and LNG Esports.
The upcoming season of the League of Legends World Championship will be held for the first time in multiple countries and cities, from New York, Toronto, Mexico City, to San Fransisco. It also marks the first time the championship is held in North America since 2016.
The events will kick off in Mexico City (the Liga Latinoamerica competition arena). Then, the group stage and quarterfinals will take place in New York (the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden), followed by the semifinals in Toronto (Scotiabank Arena). The finals will then be held in San Francisco (Chase Center).