Zz1tai retires from competitive League of Legends
Royal Never Give Up have announced that Liu “Zz1tai” Zhi-Hao has retired from competitive League of Legends. The player has put a term to an illustrious career within the Chinese scene.
Zz1tai retired following a ceremony that RNG held in his honor, putting a term to a career that started in the Chinese Amateur scene in 2011. His professional career started in 2012 on Invictus Gaming, one of the first powerhouses in the Chinese circuit. Initially a mid laner, he swapped to the top lane to accommodate for Song “Rookie” Eui-jin’s arrival in 2015. However, the organization decided to rebuild the roster around Rookie ahead of the 2017 season, turning Zz1tai into a free agent.
The player then returned to the mid lane as a member of Snake Esports’ 2017 LPL squad, but the team struggled to make an impact. However, the team did reach the playoffs in the 2017 summer split. Later on, Royal Never Give Up signed him as their substitute top laner for the 2018 season. Overall, he attended two World Championships: 2012 as a mid laner, and 2015 as a top laner.
Zz1tai experienced a rebirth of sorts within RNG as he won the LPL spring and summer titles as an occasionally used substitute behind Yan “Letme” Jun-Ze. However, he was unable to participate in the Mid-Season Invitational and the World Championship. Indeed, Riot Games allowed only one substitute per team, bar special circumstances. As such, RNG opted to take two junglers instead of two top laners as their play style benefited more from that.
Zz1tai was one of the last remaining Chinese players from Season Two (2012) still in activity alongside Ming “Clearlove” Kai, who played for Team WE at the time. The list of players still in activity at this time from that era is as follows:
|Name||Current team||Team in Season 2|
|Mike "Wickd" Petersen||Free agent (returning from retirement)||Counter Logic Gaming Europe|
|Danil "Diamondprox" Reshetnikov||Gambit Esports||Moscow Five|
|Ming "Clearlove" Kai||EDward Gaming||Team WE|
|Henrik "Froggen" Hansen||Golden Guardians||Counter Logic Gaming Europe|
|Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng||Team Liquid||Counter Logic Gaming|
|Kim "PraY" Jong-in||Free agent (on hiatus)||NaJin Sword|
Note: The names in italic denote players who have retired for a time or are currently on hiatus. EDG have listed Clearlove on their active roster for 2019.
The retirement nearly closes a chapter in Chinese League of Legends, as Clearlove remains in activity from that era. Should the latter retire, he would have as much (if not more) impact in China as Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong did when he called it quits in South Korea.