Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao is one of the most renowned foreign LoL pro in Korea. Despite his huge popularity, there were numerous rumors surrounding this star. Critics say, “he is a player with weak mentality” or some even say that “he is nothing without his teammates’ devotion”. Still, every LoL fans knew that he was one of the best playing ADCs in the current pro scene.
With the Rift Rivals 2018 held in China, we had the chance to meet Uzi in person. He shared some of his thoughts on the LCK, Rift Rivals and his ultimate goal, the Worlds.
The following is the interview with Uzi.
Notes: This interview was conducted before the Rift Rivals 2018 finals.
Q. Can you introduce yourself to the Korean fans? Actually, did you know that you have a lot of fans in Korea?
Hi, I’m RNG’s ADC Uzi. I didn’t know that I have this much Korean fans. I didn’t know since there are so many other better players than me in Korea.
Q. You are one of the most mentioned veteran players among not only the fans but from the players as well. Which player in the LCK do you personally think as the most impressive?
Wow. Well, first of all, thank you. Personally, I think that Ruler and CoreJJ were impressive. Especially, Ruler had a similar playstyle compared to me; he’s overall a very good player (Q. After last year’s Worlds, Ruler said that you are his teacher. Did you know?) I didn’t know about that. (laughs)
Q. Do you think your coaching staff (Kezman, Heart…) helped you with your career?
At first, I didn't’ feel that good because I was coached by complete strangers. However, as time passed by, I started to feel that the staff does really help the team. The current coaching staff leads our team’s communication and improve the team in general. Especially, Heart is helping us a lot.
Q. In the past, you were reckoned as a player that has a weak mentality. However, these days it seems that you’ve managed to improve as a player. How did you become more mature?
In the past, if I lost in a match, I suffered a mental breakdown. However, nowadays, I believe in my players and the people around me. I changed once I started to believe in my players.
If I lose or if my practice doesn’t go as planned, I’d be angry. But, I try to think of what my teammates would think if I express that anger. You know, if you do express your anger, you eventually feel sorry. That’s why before I express my feelings, I think about others and suppress.
Q. RNG has won a lot of international tournament games with the ‘Uzi carry’ strategy. However, sometimes the team was criticized when RNG lost using that strategy. What are your thoughts on this?
We can’t always win using that strategy. That’s why I do feel pressured a lot. If I underperform, the team gets the damage. I get blamed a lot as well. So, I try my best to be in my best shape. If I fail, my teammates’ devotion becomes meaningless.
Q. A lot of supports, such as Mata, says that your performance is exceptional. Some say that they’ve learned from you. Also, ADCs say that they have a hard time laning against you. How do you think about this?
Getting compliments from players I’ve faced is something to be thankful about. However, I don’t know why they had a hard time. Probably they get pressured since I usually try to play aggressively in lane. Regardless of performance, I think it’s because of my playstyle.
Also, I’ve never taught something to my supports. I’ve only told them to do certain things that go along with my playstyle. As we play together, eventually, our performance improves. I think that’s when they think that they’ve become better. Well, I’ve never taught anyone.
Q. Can you give us your personal ADC ranking? Where do you think you're placed on? Can you also briefly rate the ADCs in Korea?
It’s so hard. (laughs) In the current meta, it’s really difficult to give out an ‘ADC ranking’. However, if you ask where I would be at, I’d say I have a pretty high rank. Of course, I’m not in 1st place.
About the Korean ADCs...Deft is really good. kt Rolster’s bottom duo performs very well. But, I want to win against SKT T1. That’s why I want to face Bang. I always lost against him, so if I get the chance this time, I'd like to win.
Q. You have some bad memories against SKT T1. If you get to face them this time, what would be on your mind?
I’ve participated in numerous international tournaments, but I especially remember the Worlds that was held in Korea. Also, SKT T1 was the first Korean team that I lost against. That’s why I would like to someday beat them.
Q. After Rift Rivals, Worlds awaits. Any thoughts?
The MSI 2018 was the first time in my career I beat a Korean team in a bo5. It was really tough, but I was happy. Also, I gained confidence. I someday want to claim the Worlds trophy as well.
Like always, Korean teams will be very strong in this Rift Rivals. Although I am confident, I know that the Korean teams quickly adjust to new environments and patches. The teams are in general very strong.
That’s why I’m pushing myself a lot in order to find my problems and improve. The process will be tough and it will take a lot of time, but I’d like to once again feel the energy of Korean fans. I want to say thank you to all my fans and I’ll do my best to participate in this year’s Worlds.