Through the first round robin at the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, Royal Never Give Up looked underwhelming and lost. The team’s cohesion looked off, their talent looked suspect, and their star player looked invisible. However, Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao realized that the situation was dire, and with his team’s back against the wall, he turned on the jets and reminded the world exactly why he might just be the best AD Carry to ever play League of Legends at the professional level.
With a record of 2-3 after one rotation through the MSI field, RNG looked like a team that was struggling to find its footing, and with a destructive loss at the hands of Team Liquid, the LPL champions were on the verge of slipping further into the depths of the MSI standings. But when Uzi decided it was simply time to stop losing, his teammates followed suit, and the team went on to win all 6 of its following games, eventually securing 1st place overall after the dust settled.
During the first 5 games of the MSI Group Stage, Uzi averaged a KDA of 4.6, and a KP of 70%. In the damage department, he dealt 513.2 DPM while making up 35.78% of RNG’s damage. During the second round robin, however, Uzi stepped up in every matter possible, as RNG put every ounce of its stock into him, allowing him to truly become the star player that the team needs.
In the final 6 games of the Group Stage, Uzi carried Royal Never Give Up to a perfect 6-0 record while posting a 26.0 KDA and a KP of 86%, alongside an enormous DPM of 789.5 and a DMG% of 40.65%. Not only did Uzi bounce back from a lackluster first round robin by increasing his performance in every statistical category; but by the time the Group Stage was finished, he finished in the top 2 among all AD Carries in all of the aforementioned statistical listings. Additionally, he led the pack when it came to CS/M, GPM, and VSPM.
The major reason for Uzi’s success in the latter half of the group stage could most likely be traced back to his incredible dominance of the early game. Throughout the course of RNG’s 11 games at MSI, Uzi led every AD Carry in GD@15, CSD@15, and XPD@15, making him one of the strongest, most proficient early game players at the entire tournament.
With a profound mastery of the early game, Uzi was able to quickly snowball each contest completely out of control and force the enemy team to play from behind in nearly every game during the second round robin. Before his opponents could even register what was happening, the game would be over, as the average game during RNG’s second trip through the MSI table lasted just under 33 minutes.
On Friday, Uzi will look to continue his hot streak against Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Fnatic during the tournament’s first Best-of-5. During the Group Stage, however, RNG held a 2-0 record over Fnatic, while Uzi outperformed the slumping Rekkles in every statistical category outside of FB%. If Uzi can replicate his success from the Group Stage and continue Royal’s impressive winning ways, he should have no problem staying at the center of the team’s success.
One thing is certain going into this weekend’s Knockout Stage: if Royal Never Give Up is going to emerge from MSI victorious, the team’s success will ride on Uzi’s shoulders; as it always has.
Photo Credit: Lolesports