Elk has been a breakout star for BLG, establishing himself as top-of-the-line ADCs on the planet and massively bettering upon his subpar displaying in 2022. Dexerto requested him about his tumultuous path to the highest and whether or not or not he ever stopped believing in himself.
Constructing League of Legends group is a tall order. Not solely do gamers need to be robust individually, however they need to mesh nicely collectively and have playstyles which are well-suited to one another. It’s not precisely uncommon for a extremely good participant to be caught on a bottom-tier group.
With a participant like Zhao ‘Elk’ Jia-Hao having missed a number of possibilities to achieve Worlds 2021 on Staff WE and subsequently seeing his efficiency nosedive whereas he was on Extremely Prime in 2022, it’s straightforward to see why so many individuals wrote him off.
Nonetheless, he was in a position to preserve an extremely excessive degree of particular person talent and show that he’s worthy of enjoying on the worldwide stage at MSI 2023. Dexerto sat down for an interview with the rising celebrity, who spoke about not solely the best highs of creating all of it the best way to MSI, however among the lowest lows in his profession and the way he got here again from them.
Elk is the carry Bilibili Gaming wanted
Regardless of having by far essentially the most video games performed within the 2023 LPL Spring Playoffs, Elk managed to have extremely constant stats throughout his 26 video games. He boasted a 5.25 KDA, over 10 CS per minute, extra gold per minute than any ADC aside from JD Gaming’s Park ‘Ruler’ Jae-hyuk, and a hell of a status for carrying his group over the end line. For many who sustain with the LPL, it wasn’t a shock to see Elk have such a powerful presence within the bot lane throughout his opening matches at MSI 2023.
Nonetheless, the participant hasn’t been on the prime for lengthy. He was a mid-tier ADC overshadowed by different, stronger gamers within the LPL for a very long time. In an interview with Dexerto, BLG prime laner Chen ‘Bin’ Zebin spoke about how a lot he believed in Elk and the way pleased he’s to see the ADC succeed with him on the worldwide stage.
“We each knew one another once we have been youthful gamers and on an academy group. However Bin went to a different group, and we didn’t get to play collectively on the time. Now it feels fairly good to play with Bin. When he was in his rookie 12 months, he obtained second place at Worlds! It feels so good to be on the identical group as him now.”
Elk and Bin have had MSI 2023 performances price smiling about
What’s extra, Elk truly will get time within the highlight on this group now. Regardless of Bin’s status as a tough carry, BLG’s identification has modified to permit anybody to hold. Bin has grown previous having to play carries each match, and it’s due to the prowess of teammates like Elk, who can convey dwelling a win, even when Bin is on a tanky frontliner.
“Really, I feel each member of the group has the flexibility to hold the group. We’ve got numerous distinctive and totally different playstyles. I’m a carry participant for the group, but additionally Xun can carry the group with jungle carries, Bin can carry the sport with sure prime lane playstyles.”
BLG’s gamers appear assured in counting on one another, to the purpose that Elk is “actually wanting ahead” to his rematch towards Park ‘Ruler’ Jae-hyuk fairly than fearing it. “Earlier than he joined the LPL, I watched numerous his gameplay and movies at the moment. I’m actually, actually wanting ahead to enjoying towards him.”
Going by his efficiency thus far and confidence in his mechanics, you’d assume Elk is without doubt one of the hottest ADC commodities in China. And, whereas that’s true now, that wasn’t the case till just lately.
Dwelling as much as the World Elite identify
Staff WE (World Elite) is an esports membership with an extremely wealthy and storied historical past. They’re the primary esports membership based mostly out of China and made a reputation for themselves in video games like Warcraft 3 and the unique Dota, throughout esports’ infancy. They’ve nonetheless obtained an enormous following in China, however that following hasn’t translated onto the worldwide stage as different groups have taken the highlight.
When Elk was on Staff WE in 2021, he needed to shoulder the strain of the org not having been to Worlds since 2017. They began within the decrease bracket on the Summer season Playoffs and had a Cinderella run all the best way to the highest, even managing to beat 2021’s Worlds-winning EDward Gaming roster in a nail-biter of a five-game set. Lastly, Staff WE gave the impression to be placing themselves again on the map.
Elk obtained his large break with Staff WE beneath the identify Jiumeng
However catastrophe struck after they took back-to-back 0-3 losses, leading to a third-place end and a missed Worlds qualification. They then botched their second probability at making it to Worlds in the course of the subsequent Regional Finals, shedding to each RNG and LNG, solely managing to take one sport off of LNG and making their report 1-12 within the final 4 matches. It’s one of many largest and most memorable situations of a group fully collapsing in LPL historical past.
Elk instructed us about how this run with Staff WE was historic for all of the mistaken causes and gave the members of that roster a nickname amongst Chinese language followers.
“Once I simply began enjoying skilled League, I instructed myself I needed to be top-of-the-line gamers within the sport and I needed to get higher outcomes. However in 2021 folks referred to as us ‘ticket sellers’ as a result of Staff WE missed numerous possibilities to make it to Worlds.” Elk defined.
A single sequence victory towards one in all EDG, RNG, LNG, or FPX that 12 months would have secured Staff WE a visit to Worlds. Staff WE, in a technique or one other, ensured the groups they went towards have been in a position to make it to Worlds 2022. Thus, the ‘ticket vendor’ memes have been born. This resulted within the group imploding, with Elk, Lou ‘Lacking’ Yun-Feng, and Chen ‘Breathe’ Chen going their separate methods.
Issues solely obtained worse for Elk from right here. His run with Extremely Prime noticed him go all the best way all the way down to fifteenth place in 2022, and plenty of gamers assumed that his spark of brilliance with Staff WE was lightning in a bottle that we’d by no means see once more. Even Elk doubted himself on the time.
“In 2022 on Extremely Prime, I didn’t play very nicely. At the moment, I used to be questioning and asking myself, ‘How do I play higher?’ I wanted to play higher. I actually doubted my very own efficiency at the moment, and I wasn’t in good kind. However now I’m very pleased. I’m actually honored to be right here and to have gotten to this stage with my group. I’m very pleased.”
With Breathe, Elk, and Lacking all placing in robust particular person performances on groups of their very own, the that means of ticket vendor for the gamers who have been on that Staff WE roster has modified from being an insult into one thing that rallies followers behind them.
Moderately than offering a path for different groups to get to worldwide occasions, they’re ensuring that their followers are in a position to see them on the most important levels on the planet.
It’s one factor for an ADC to return in and nearly instantly be the perfect. Gamers like Jian ‘Uzi’ Zi-Hao and Chen ‘GALA’ Wei have constructed their legacy off of being exceptionally robust of their roles and standout gamers on any roster they’re part of. However Elk having such a fall from grace, solely to return again stronger, makes it actually arduous to not cheer him on.
Elk may not be on Staff WE anymore, however he’s dwelling as much as the World Elite identify.