While Apex fans may know Alliance’s newest Apex recruit 江铭亮 Oscar “Yuki” Jiang from his time on Aqualix, they might be surprised to learn about his career before Apex as a model and TV personality.
On August 31st, Alliance revealed a new addition to their Apex Legends roster and the Team Razer family, British player 江铭亮 Oscar “Yuki” Jiang. With the new ALGS Pro season just around the corner, we caught up with the 25-year old to learn more about him, and we discovered quite a story.
Life before Battle Royale: Modelling and TV shows
江铭亮 Oscar “Yuki” Jiang first got into gaming when he was eight or nine playing Counter-Strike 1.6, but his true passion in his formative years was acting. "I was passionate about drama, and in school I did a lot of theatre. As soon as I turned 18 I went to Hong Kong and did a theatre course for a year," said Yuki.
He was initially planning to return to the United Kingdom to study Drama at university but things took an unlikely turn. "During the year in Hong Kong, I was scouted to be a model for a gig for Airbnb Japan, and at that point I knew nothing about modelling." said Yuki. "They offered to fly me out to Japan, and it was my first gig!"
Yuki ended up staying in Hong Kong for two years, and off the back of the work for Airbnb Japan got signed with an agency, which ultimately led to a move to mainland China. The move led to more modelling work, including commercials and lookbook shoots, and appearances on national television.
Despite being modest about his TV work, after being pushed for more details, Yuki shared he appeared on a popular TV show called Heart Signal, a reality dating programme where strangers live under the same roof for 30 days. However, when COVID hit, Yuki's mother back in the United Kingdom called for him to come home. With no gigs and plenty of time on his hands, Yuki turned to streaming and... Apex Legends.
Yuki makes a name for himself on Twitch: "Sign that f**king guy" says TSM's ImperialHal
Yuki first started playing Apex Legends in China, using a VPN to get around the country's ban on EA/Respawn Entertainment's Battle Royale title. After returning to UK following the outbreak of the pandemic, Yuki began to stream his games.
"I had plenty of time to play games, and I just thought why not stream," said Yuki. "Once I started getting into it, I knew it was my path to go pro. I was playing Apex about 10-12 hours a day and after a while I started even killing pros. "
One of the pros Yuki managed to frag was TSM's ImperialHal, with a Wingman headshot from range. The kill happened live on ImperialHal's stream, sparking Hal to shout "Sign that f**king guy right now!"
"I was just a random player at the time and his chat came into my stream," said Yuki. "They came in said you just killed Hal! and I was like 'who is Hal?' I honestly had no clue. So after that I started paying attention to the pro scene and was set on trying to compete with the best in the game."
"I remember his chat told me that ImperialHal rarely gives these kind of reactions, so it really inspired me to keep going. I was still just a casual ranked player, I think I was rank 35 on the Predator leaderboards back then. When I saw the clip from his stream, of Hal shouting 'somebody sign this guy!' it made me think, maybe I could really get signed."
Sure enough, Yuki was soon approached by his first org, Newcastle-based Clique Esports (CLQ), and from there he began his ascent in the pro scene while simultaneously beginning a full-time course in Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Learning the ropes in the pro scene
Despite being recruited by CLQ, Yuki still had a way to go before his big break. In May 2020 Yuki joined Cooler Esports, who would later in the year add Casper Emil "Gnaske" Præstensgaard and Matthew "SirDel" Biggins. The trio instantly got to work competing in the GGL Community Cups, Esports Arena Series and the ALGS Autumn Circuit events. However, success was far from instantaneous for Yuki's new team.
In the three ALGS Autumn Circuit events Cooler Esports placed 26th, 37th and 32nd. However, by the time the Winter Circuit events came around it was a different story, with Yuki and his team-mates securing 6th, 9th and 14th place finishes.
Outside of game, Yuki also began working on his brand, following advice from a fellow pro Martin Heggøy "Pjeh" Aamyri, who captained Flavor of the Month in ALGS Year 1.
"Pjeh is my number one inspirational player who helped me grow through the pro scene," said Yuki when asked about key figures in his early Apex career. "He is the one who told me to make a Twitter, publish my clips, and told me to stream more to get my name out there because he believed in me. I also ended up watching a lot of ImperialHal. I know its cliché but he really is my idol. Best player in the game hands down."
In April 2021, the trio of Yuki, SirDel and Gnaske left Cooler Esports, having competed under their banner for the majority of the ALGS Year 1. For the finale to the season, the ALGS Championship 2021, the trio signed for Swedish organisation Aqualix. It was here when Yuki truly arrived, with Aqualix managing to finish 5th ahead of the likes of Gambit Esports and Natus Vincere.
Alliance come calling for Yuki
After a year working through the ranks of the Apex pro scene, Yuki had consolidated himself as a top flight player, and as the ALGS Year 2 drew closer, so too did the roster lock deadline. After a summer of competing in online leagues for Aqualix, Yuki was extended an offer too good to refuse, an opportunity play for Alliance.
"There wasn't a moment prior to that invite that I had thought about leaving," said Yuki. "SirDel and Gnaske are phenomenal players and people. But when Alliance reached out and said 'we have a spot, we are wondering if you were interested' I couldn't say no. Alliance has always been a bit of a dream team in European Apex. So I explained it to SirDel and Gnaske, they were understanding and said I should take the offer."
"When Alliance reached out and said 'we have a spot, we are wondering if you were interested' I couldn't say no. Alliance has always been a bit of a dream team in EU Apex"
Within a week of accepting the offer Yuki was signed to Alliance's Apex roster, joining John "Hakis" Håkansson and Simon "Vaifs" Bellini just ahead of the roster lock. Hakis was recently voted the Best IGL in EMEA, so we posed the question to Yuki about his experience so far with his new captain.
"When you're playing against Hakis, you know he's a really good player. But when you're on his team, he's somehow even better," said Yuki. "Being his team-mate you get to see exactly what he does and how he does it. Hakis is probably one of the best players in EU because he has the duel skill of being mechanically skilled and a great leader."
Yuki's rise in competitive Apex Legends has been an organic one marked by hard work and determination. He has now been part of Alliance for almost a month, and the team officially get their season underway on the 16th October when the ALGS Pro League begins.