Azure Ray is back — with some unexpected retirees returning to pro Dota

Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang, Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida, and Xu “fy” Linsen are the latest additions to Azure Ray, an organization that’s becoming increasingly good at bringing players out of retirement.

The three players were announced on December 31 by Azure Ray, and includes the return of coach Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng, who left the team briefly for one month.

AR’s four additions join a roster that featured several departures to Wang “Ame” Chunyu’s new squad, Xtreme Gaming, right after they took down Gaimin Gladiators in an epic ESL One Kuala Lumpur grand final.

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Azure Ray roster for 2024+

Credit: Valve

Lou “Lou” Zhen

Zeng “Ori” Jiaoyang

Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida

Xu “fy” Linsen

Jiang “天命” An

Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng

AR’s roster for The International 2023 consisted of three former legends from the PSG.LGD roster. While the other two have left the competitive scene once more — for now — fy is returning to the team for 2024.

Most surprising is the return of two of China’s most well-known faces — midlaner Ori and offlaner Faith_bian. Ori was the long-time midlaner for Vici Gaming, staying with the organization for four years, before moving on to Team Aster and achieving his best-ever result at The International with a fourth-place finish at TI11.

Faith_bian is a name that needs little introduction — the legendary offlaner from Wings Gaming, still the last Chinese team to claim the Aegis of Champions in 2016.

After a long stint with EHOME, his return with PSG.LGD in 2020 once again propelled the organization to new heights, including titles at Riyadh Masters 2022, the WePlay AniMajor, and a second-place finish at TI10.

The Chinese organization continues to make surprising moves, somehow coaxing two players out of retirement once more. AR was a bright spot last year for China — despite only forming in May last year, they became one of the region’s two representatives at TI12 and finished fourth.

The team is continuing with the same safelane duo that won them the organization’s first title, and now has an intriguing offlane duo — Faith_bian and fy, perhaps two of China’s most individually skilled and versatile players in their roles. This will be the first time these two legends are playing together on the same team, and it should be a treat to watch once the rust is worked off.