Perhaps the biggest transfer of the League of Legends offseasons just completed today. And it didn’t involve a Korean.
It’s a match made in heaven. Or at least, the heaven of which Chinese League of Legends dream.
Jian “Uzi” Zihao, superstar marksman of Star Horn Royal Club and finalist in each of the last two Riot World Championships, signed with OMG.
It’s a dream marriage for Chinese fans. The country’s biggest international superstar joins China’s best team. OMG could potentially field a lineup with the best Chinese player at all five positions.
The explosive Jian established himself as the best marksman in the world at the Riot World Championships this year, often single-handedly carrying his team to wins as Royal Club reached another improbable finals appearance. But OMG was close on Royal Club’s heels—the Chinese rival team, which features many of the best Chinese players at their positions, looked dangerous sweeping Najin White Shield on their way to a top four finish.
Now OMG can field a lineup featuring top lane superstar Gao “Gogoing” Di-Ping, mid lane prodigy Yu “Cool” Jia-Jun, China’s top jungler in Yin “LoveLing” Le, and Jian himself. It’s a scary prospect for teams in the LoL Pro League and even the rest of the world, a Chinese superteam filled with world class talent at every position.
Critics could argue the move won’t work because OMG funnels resources into their potent solo lane players, but that’s also where Jian truly shines. He’s capable of doing amazing things with less support than the average bottom lane player. Plus, OMG has experienced coaches who should be able to implement the right balance for the lineup.
Jian’s partner in the bottom lane is yet to be determined, but Hu “Cloud” Zhen-Wei seems like the front runner after subbing into the OMG lineup midway through the World Championships and instantly changing OMG’s fortunes.
But whoever joins Jian, it’s clear OMG’s taking this offseason seriously. While the teams around them pluck talent from Korea left and right with lucrative deals, they were ready with a blockbuster move of their own, and one that was likely just as pricey—one rumor places Jian’s signing bonus at around $500,000, with a yearly salary in the $800,000 range. Costly, but that’s the price of business if you want to compete in League of Legends in China these days.
Image via OMG/Weibo