It was announced today via @RNGRoyal that Liu “Zz1tai” Zhi-Hao will be returning from retirement to help Royal Never Give Up in the LPL. It is currently unclear how long he will be returning for or even when his first game will be.
Zz1tai was part of the RNG roster throughout the 2018 year and played mostly top lane (he also played Bot occasionally). RNG will be looking to recreate their dominant 2018 season with the return of their main top laner.
We have spoken to Zz1tai with respect to his wishes and reached a consensus. Zz1tai will return to LPL, and is willing to fight alongside us again as RNG Top laner.
Together we will become even stronger and break through our limits!#RoyalNeverGiveUp
— Royal Never Give Up (@RNGRoyal) March 21, 2019
Zz1tai had originally started out as a mid laner for Invictus Gaming back in 2012 until the team signed Rookie in 2015. After that time, Zz1tai transitioned to Top lane in an attempt to help the team. Unfortunately for both Invictus and Zz1tai, the switch didn’t quite work out. In 2016, Zz1tai joined Snake Esports as their starting mid laner but struggled and faced relegation only to stay afloat after defeating Vici Gaming. While the team made playoffs in the 2016 Summer Split, Newbee knocked them out in the first round. In January 2018, Zz1tai joined RNG and split his time with Letme, helping RNG win both LPL Splits, Rift Rivals, and MSI.
RNG seems to have reached out to Zz1tai in hopes of bolstering their squad for a deep playoff run. According to Barento “Raz” Mohammed’s Twitter, it is more likely that Zz1tai was comfortable with his retirement but was approached by RNG. AmazingJ, the current RNG top laner, has seen a dip in form recently and is clearly the most vulnerable part of the roster. Making a move to finish the split strong seems like a wise decision by RNG and will prove its value over time.
There are plenty of factors but these players are pure competitors that can miss it deeply when they're out of it is my take.
In Zzitai's case he likely would've been fine in his new life but RNG will struggle in current form in playoffs without a top laner.
— Barento Mohammed (@RazLPL) March 21, 2019
Zz1tai brings a wide range of champions to the top lane thanks to his experience in mid. He has performed well in the majority of the roles he has played. In 2018, Zz1tai played 21 unique champions with a combined 62.7% win rate (32 wins and 19 losses). It is important to note that this does not include 2018 Worlds where he technically was not on the roster. With Mlxg being inactive thus far, this gives RNG the ability to bring AmazingJ and Zz1tai to international tournaments if they wish to do so. RNG’s upcoming match will be against current World’s Champions IG on Saturday, March 23rd at 6 AM ET. This could potentially be Zz1tai’s first game back, however that has yet to be confirmed.
Image VIA: @LPLEnglish