Singapore LoL pro Blaze gave up secondary school to support his family

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For a professional League of Legends player, Teo "Blaze" Jia Xiang didn't take the traditional route to an esports career by quitting school to compete in esports.

Instead, Blaze had chosen to quit school to work in order to help out his family.

"My family was in a tough spot, and at that time no one was working, and my sister wasn't with us," the 19-year-old told Yahoo Esports SEA. "I decided to stop schooling and went to work so I could provide for my family."

However, his passion for gaming meant that he still went to LAN cafes to practice and train, and managed to retain his Challenger ranking despite it all.

His efforts paid off, as he's currently the main ADC (Attack Damage Carry) for Impunity Esports, which is currently the only Singapore team playing in the Pacific Championship Series (PCS).

And while the team is from Singapore, Blaze is the only active Singaporean in the squad, with the other two being stand-ins.

Impunity's remaining members are from Taiwan and Macao, which makes communications quite the mix. While Blaze prefers to talk to his support in English, the team mostly communicates in Chinese.

"I often talk to my support in English – it's easier for me, you know," said Blaze. The PCS operates its regular season online, allowing players from different locations to compete together without physically meeting.

While he hasn't met the team in real life due to pandemic restrictions, Blaze feels that he's pretty close to them and considers them friends.

This in turn, helped the team to improve, as they could easily point out mistakes without hurting each other's feelings.

Impunity scrims twice a day, and in between the scrims, Blaze plays lots of solo games to practice, sometimes together with his support partner Lin "pinwei" Pin-Wei.

Team Impunity's League of Legends player Blaze (Photo: Yahoo Esports SEA)
Team Impunity's League of Legends player Blaze (Photo: Yahoo Esports SEA)

A strange start

Before he found his way to Impunity, Blaze was grinding his Challenger ranking.

While playing online, he met Lee "Kirino" Kai Wen in solo queue, who now plays for Malaysian team SEM9.

Both of them played badly and ended up adding each other as friends – though not to commiserate.

Instead, it was to scold each other, Blaze shared.

But like a trope straight out of an anime, the rivalry quickly turned into a friendship as both players started playing together more.

When Kirino needed a temporary ADC for a tournament, Blaze agreed to stand-in. From there, his esports career took off, and he joined Impunity in 2020.

"Esports is a good career choice, many people should try it. If you think you have a talent for gaming, don't stop until a team or player asks you to join a team. Try to go pro if you can," said Blaze.

While the boom of mobile MOBAs such as Wild Rift has sparked interest in some former LoL pro players to switch, Blaze remains steadfast to the idea of playing LoL on the PC.

He's spent too much time learning it, Blaze said, and hated the idea of relearning a new game. Also, going to Worlds is still something of an ambition for him.

"My dream is of course to make it to Worlds, just like any other pro player. My chances are probably very low, but you know, I just have to try. I hope I can get better and improve as a player."

While he has yet to make it to Worlds, Blaze will be representing Singapore in the upcoming SEA Games in Hanoi, as part of the Singapore squad.

After that, he will probably play out the season before enlisting for NS.

"I'm excited to represent Singapore. Singapore's esports scene is very small, so it's a good chance to get some exposure, and to show that Singapore has talents too," he added.

Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com

For more esports news updates, visit https://yhoo.it/YahooEsportsSEA and check out Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as our Gaming channel on YouTube.

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