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Jiizuke: The first Italian in the EU LCS

Daniele "Jiizuké" di Mauro is the first Italian player to join the EU LCS and the mid laner for Team Vitality. After going 9/0/6 in his very first LCS match and securing Vitality their first win of the season, we sat down with him to find out more about the Italian Stallion.

Thanks for joining us Jiizuke! Since you’re new to the LCS, we’d like to get to know a bit about your history. How did you first get into League?

Then when I saw Faker was destroying everyone I swapped to mid.

Daniele "Jiizuké" di Mauro

Through a friend. He said “quit World of Warcraft, and come try League—it’s a fun game. We can improve together. So I joined him—he was level 30, and I was level one. After ten games he got bored of me and I kept playing alone after.

I think my first champion was Ezreal, but when I hit level 30 I mained top. I was improving by watching Voyboy’s streams and I was copying what he was doing, so I played a lot of Elise and Kha’Zix. Then I swapped to Jungle. I was a Shaco one trick and played some Lee Sin. Then when I saw Faker was destroying everyone I swapped to mid. I used to play Sion (the old Sion) and Katarina.

 

Two years ago you decided to go pro - what led to that decision?

I wanted to go pro for a long time; in Season 2 I was 2600 elo and I thought I was good. But from Season 2 to Season 4/5 I pretty much just played solo queue. I was living at home, I was stressed out from school, and I had my parents all over me saying “please quit this game, do something with your life.” I reached my limit and one day I decided to just go with the first guy who invited me to a gaming house. I’ll go there, and will practice hard for my dream. I just want to chase my dream right now, I don’t want to waste more time, and that’s how I did it. Two years after that… I joined the LCS.

It feels really good. When we qualified I wasn’t sure if I was smiling or crying. It was overwhelming. And now that I’ve played my first match... I had so much fun. I feel like this is my home. I want to stay here.

 

When we qualified I wasn’t sure if I was smiling or crying. It was overwhelming.

Daniele "Jiizuké" di Mauro

 

I noticed you have a quote from Faker pinned to your Twitter profile.

Yeah it’s a good quote. It inspired me—this guy plays so perfect because of this mindset. So I pinned it to my profile.

Now that you’re in the EU LCS do you think you’ll inspire Italian players?

I hope so—I hope that I can be an example to everyone and make sure that the parents, especially in Italy, are supportive. If their son really believes he can do it, I hope they’ll be there with him and get interested in esports and learn about it. If your son really believes he has a chance to do it, believe in him.

You have some interesting nicknames… your previous username was Italian God.

Italian God was just a nickname I chose; I was the only Italian, so I was really cocky and I was being called the best player in Italy. So then I swapped to “Italian Pride” because people were calling me that in Italian. Pretty much they were silly nicknames, but now I’m Jiizuke. As for Italian Stallion… it’s a good nickname. Yeah, I like it. [He smiles.]

 

TONIGHT'S GAME VERSUS H2K

Congrats on your win today – you went 9/0/6 on your very first day on LCS. How did that happen?

We had a plan going into the game. I was on my comfort pick so I knew what I could do. I just imagined it in my head, and it happened right after. I couldn’t ask for a better debut.

You’re considered a rookie—do you think that people underestimate you?

They should underestimate me, they don’t know me of course. I don’t expect to get respected by everyone all at once—I just hope that I can gain everyone’s respect with time.

I don’t expect to get respected by everyone all at once—I just hope that I can gain everyone’s respect with time.

Daniele "Jiizuké" di Mauro
Ryze and Tryndamere

Riot co-founders Marc "Tryndamere" Merrill and Brandon "Ryze" Beck

What do you think makes Ryze really strong right now?

Oh I don’t know… maybe the owner of the company named Ryze asks to give him buffs all the time. And then they buff it and they’re like, “Let’s buff Ryze one more time!” [He starts laughing so hard he can’t speak.] I dunno, just Ryze… his kit is really strong. He’s always been a broken champion, and it’s never changed… [He starts laughing again.]

I’ve always wondered why Tryndamere isn’t broken as well, because he’s the co-owner of Riot.

I think he just doesn’t pressure the balance team much. Ryze is just like pressuring them all the time “You have to buff him!! You have to buff him!” But maybe… maybe…  [He laughs so hard we have to pause for a moment.] Maybe Tryndamere just doesn’t pressure the balance team that much, but I think he should! I really like Tryndamere as a champion as well. Shout out to the owners!

What runes do you like on Ryze and why?

Right now the most common ones are Unsealed Spellbook, because with Ryze you always want to change your initial summoner spell to Ghost in the late game so you can just rely on mechanics. Arcane Comet gives you a lot of laning pressure, while Unsealed Spellbook lets you TP back into lane, you’ve got Heal for the start, you’ve got Ghost for late game… plus you’ve got 25% reduced cooldown on your summoner spells, so that’s good too. I prefer Unsealed Spellbook right now.

 

VITALITY: V FOR VICTORY

What’s it like being on Vitality?

The Vitality house is insane; there’s 10+ rooms, a gaming room, two bathrooms, there’s everything. I’ve got my own room, and it’s really big too. I feel at home now. I’m sharing a gaming house with people that want what I want, and we’re just pushing this dream together and going to pursue what we want.

You joined Vitality with three members from your old team, Giants. How have you gelled with Cabochard?

At the start we weren’t sure if he would have to adapt to our playstyle or if we would adapt to his, but we found a balance. Sometimes we play top-side, sometimes we play bot-side. With Minitroupax in Giants we were always playing bot-side because of the meta with Ardent Censer. But today we played top because Cabochard had a good match-up. But I think there’ll be games where we play bot again, so we’ll balance it out.

Team Staff

Team Manager Clément Laparra and Head Coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi

What is it like working with the rest of Vitality?

Yamato Cannon is the best coach I’ve ever had. On my first team I had a good coach, and then I got a better coach, and it’s always scaling up. Yamato is really good; I guess because he was a player before, when he talks and does reviews I really understand what he’s trying to say. I think I can learn a lot from him.

The manager of Vitality is also the best one I’ve ever had. He cares about us a lot—even if you don’t say something, he’ll ask. If I ask him to help me out with something, he does it. I’m really thankful to him. He’s a great person.

Who are you closest to on the team?

[Instantly] Minitroupax. When I joined Giants, Minitroupax was the only person I knew. We sat next to each other in the gaming house so we talked a lot and we built a connection. I’ve played with him for the past year in the LVP split, Challenger Split, and another LVP split, and now LCS… so if you think about it in EU LCS terms, we’ve been playing together for two years.

 

PREDICTIONS FOR THE SPLIT

Excluding yourself, who are the top three mid laners in the EU LCS right now?

Perkz, Caps and Nukeduck. Caps is really good mechanically, but Perkz has more experience overall, so he’s a more complete player. He also has way more stage experience than him, and he played on four playoff stages and MSI. Overall he has one year or more advantage on Caps.

Caps is better than Nukeduck because Nukeduck has never performed on stage. Everyone knows that Nukeduck is actually good but he never performs on stage. I know that he’s smart and he’s good mechanically, and I respect him a lot. But for now he’s third.

Tomorrow you play against your old organisation Giants - how does that feel?

It feels weird I guess. I’m still friends with most of the staff and Ruin of course. They just won against Unicorns of Love, so I’m happy for Ruin. And Naruterador, the coach, he was my second coach in Challenger Series. I’m happy for those two.

Any final thoughts?

I’d like to ask our fans to keep supporting us on social media - we will not let you down!

 

You can follow Team Vitality and Jiizuke on Twitter at @Team_Vitality and @JiizukeLoL.
 

Tune in on watch.lolesports.com on Saturday January 20th at 17:00 CET when Jiizuke takes on his old team, Giants, in the opening match.