Jumping Ships: Former Overwatch competitor Xzi retires to pursue Valorant

According to reports by independent reporter Bo_Hoogland, Jung “Xzi” Ki-hyo is retiring from competitive Overwatch 2 to pursue a career in Valorant. He previously played on Dallas Fuel and Florida Mayhem. During his Overwatch career, he primarily played as a DPS player, focusing on hitscan characters (Sojourn and Widowmaker primarily) according to the Overwatch League website.



 

Early Retirement


Like fellow former competitor Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong, “Xzi” joins a growing list of Overwatch pros retiring early. A large number of these pros hail from the APAC region, where news broke a week ago on the recent issues facing Blizzard Entertainment.

According to multiple reports, Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase face a suspension of relationship following a failure to reach a renewal of their deal. Blizzard has had licensing agreements with NetEase since 2008, allowing licensed titles from Blizzard to be publication and distribution license within China.

Due to this period of uncertainty, and with the current agreement only holding until Jan 2023, many players within the APAC region have had to rethink their careers in Blizzard’s Hero Shooter title.

Adding to this, since 2021, “Xzi” has suffered from neck and back issues, revealing how he suffered from scoliosis and other spinal health complications. The health issues reached the point where he could no longer compete professionally, having to take a pause in his career to recuperate.

In a Twitlonger, he explained his ‘disappointment in his level of play recently,’ and his hiatus meant ‘other players on the market have had better seasons than him and he is not positioned well to compete well against them since he took a break.’



 

Multitalented Player


His decision to transition to Valorant professionally may seem a spontaneous one, however, in his Twitlonger, he explained his reasoning: ‘I used to be ranked No.1 in Valorant, and recently when I was in US, I played NA rank for two weeks and got Radiant Rank…’ His decision to retire was one met with sadness and outpouring of love by the Overwatch community.

A talented and dedicated player, it seemed his health issues plagued him throughout his career, in essence, holding him back from his true potential. He was signed to Dallas Fuel for the 2021 season, however had to leave after only 3 months due to health complications. "Xzi" left before the official start of the 2021 Overwatch League season.

Returning in 2022 to the Overwatch League, he joined Florida Mayhem, however once again, due to internal complications, he was not able to play officials. He would also see his former team, Dallas Fuel, lift the Play-Offs trophy the year after he left.

"Xzi" clarified in his Twitlonger that a pro career was the most ideal goal for him, however he was open to content creation in Valorant as well.

 

Far from Out


“Xzi” has been competing in competitive Overwatch since 2018, winning the Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 1: Korea, the OWL 2020 Summer Showdown and the OWL Countdown Cup. He has played for teams such as Paris Eternal, Dallas Fuel, and Florida Mayhem over his career.

It will be exciting to see which VCT team he ends up joining. Considering his current position, it is likely to see an APAC team approach him, however whether he ends up on a Challengers team or partnered team remains to be seen.

The Valorant off-season continues as teams continue to form for the upcoming Challengers League. Moreover, partnered teams remain able to add players at their discretion, fielding up to ten.

 

Image credit: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

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