Jian Zi-Hao
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I felt that Invictus Gaming would be the team to win the 2018 LPL Spring Split.

During the playoffs, we were really improving a lot as a team, so I expected to make it to the final but having to play against IG on our way was no easy task. IG was rightfully regarded as the best team and they were really, really strong.

However, after beating IG and making it into the final, I still couldn’t relax. I’ve been to finals so many times and I definitely knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I prepared so much to try and be in my best shape for EDward Gaming and just focus on what I could do to be best prepared for the match.

Being the focal point of the team brings a lot of pressure. It feels like there’s a large burden on my shoulders; it’s very important for me to keep performing consistently. If I don’t perform up to my standards, I worry that my teammates will collapse around me because they will not be able to play around me up to the usual standard. So I try to stay focused on playing my best, and I know my team will support me if I can step up in the ways they need me to.


It definitely wasn’t just me winning the title though, it’s definitely a matter of team play. I’ve been to LPL Grand Finals so many different times and I’ve tried plenty of times to win it by myself and failed. I can speak now from experience that it really comes down to the teamwork – that’s what wins championships.

For example, Shi “Ming” Sen-Ying is a relatively new member of Royal Never Give Up, but he was able to adapt to our playstyle and become part of the team very quickly. I have a lot of respect for him because of that. I also accept that there have been times when I have put too much pressure on Ming.

Sometimes I think that pressure is too much and Ming isn’t able to show the best side of himself. When I overwhelm him, he’s not always able to show his true colors.

The World Championship is very different from MSI. Worlds isn’t necessarily the best teams from every region, whereas MSI is the best of the best, so there aren’t any opponents you can take lightly. At Worlds, you can take advantage of the weaker teams, and you may have a relatively easy time. At MSI, all of the opponents are extremely strong and you really have so little time to adapt to the different playstyles of these teams.

The group stage at MSI is far tougher than the group stage at Worlds. I think having a long group stage with best-of-ones is really challenging; everyone can beat everyone. You can still lose a game to a worse team after just one mistake and that’s something that every team has to come to terms with. If you persevere, though, you have time to come back and recover from a rough start to the group due to the long format.

There’s definitely something that feels different about international play compared to domestic play… I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I think it’s really interesting. Of course, at international events, you don’t know the competition as well as you do your own domestic league, so you get to play against a lot of different stuff; some stuff that you’ve never seen before.

I’ve also noticed that sometimes you can coast through domestic play and have everything fall apart at an international event as a result, but you also see teams barely scrape into an international event and play really well against the other regions.

Before, I was known as the best player to never win a trophy. I don’t try to force what people remember me for – I never have – I just want to be the best player that I can be. My personal goal is still to win a World Championship while playing at my best – then people would remember me for that.

I realized early on that I had a lot of weaknesses, and so every year I’ve just been trying to focus on improving my level of play and working on strengthening my weaker areas. Every year I’m trying to improve myself and become better by solving these problems step by step.

Even today, I feel like there are still many areas I can improve. It’s all about that process. I strive for self-improvement every year and every year it’s that process that keeps me coming back.

Image/Video Credit: Riot Games

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