This year was supposed to be the year of Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao’s dominance. The revered Chinese ADC finally won the LPL title that had eluded him after the Spring Split. His success continued with an MSI championship and it seemed like things would continue into the Summer Split.
But then came the shocking announcement that Uzi would be taking an indefinite break from competitive play to rehab an arm injury. There was no guarantee when we’d see the talented ADC again. But rest assured Uzi fans, he made his return to the team in Saturday’s series vs. Snake Esports.
Before the Snake series, RNG had actually been on a win streak without Uzi. They rotated a cast of players in the bot lane role, including top laner Liu “Zzitai” Zhi-Hao, backup ADC Dai “Able” Zhi-Chun, and even jungler Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-hao. It’s helped that the crazy meta has allowed RNG to play bruisers and mages in the bot lane, too.
But with more marksmen being played in the bot lane, it was apparently time for Uzi’s return. Snake seemed to be the perfect matchup with which to integrate him back into the lineup—RNG haven’t dropped a game to Snake in years.
RNG may have wanted to use the series to ease Uzi back into the starting roster, but Snake had other plans. Snake are known for really weird compositions and crazy strategies, but they actually played a pretty standard game. They slowly pushed toward RNG’s base in a low-kill game and eventually picked up a game one victory.
RNG came back in the second game behind a strong performance from Xiaohu. But their luck wasn’t as good in the deciding game. Uzi was killed in the bot lane early and Snake’s mid lane Zoe snowballed out of control. But somehow, from a huge deficit, RNG came back through constant skirmishes.
After the series, Uzi and RNG fans should be relieved and happy that the star ADC is back with the team. But the games also revealed just how much more work they’ll need to do to reach top form. Uzi has been practicing diligently while rehabbing his arm, but he’ll have to re-establish his synergy with the rest of RNG.