Team Liquid UmTi is living proof League pros should never give up

Carver Fisher
TL UmTi living proof league pros shouldn't give up

Almost a decade into his career as a pro player, Team Liquid’s UmTi has officially had his furthest playoffs run ever, and he’s reaching new highs with the LCS team. Dexerto sat with him after TL’s win over Dignitas to ask about his journey here and what’s kept him going through years of adversity in the LCK.

There’s long been a stigma around players who have been competing for years and never managed to find success within their region. Though there are a ton of great players in both the LPL and LCK, many of the best players in each league have never made it to an international and go relatively unknown in the West.

Team Liquid’s Eom ‘UmTi’ Seong-hyeon is probably the highest profile example of a player like this who’s been playing for a while. LCK fans have dubbed him ‘General UmTi’ for his in-game leadership, and he’s built up a devoted fanbase that love his first in, last out playstyle and his focus on leading the charge to victory.

And, after years and years of struggling within the LCK, UmTi has reached a new career high by finishing, at worst, fourth place in Playoffs for a major region with his current LCS run. Dexerto sat with him to figure out what kept him going all this time and how he’s still peaking over 7 years after his debut.

UmTi talks the transition to LCS

UmTi has spent the vast majority of his career playing in a region where BO3 matches made up every regular season game. There’s long been an argument about whether or not that makes NA inherently worse than other regions.

While the topic of why NA can’t perform internationally is much more complex than the format itself, UmTi shed some light on how he’s been forced to change the way he thinks about game days.

“I think there are a lot of problems to me. I first thing is, like — To me, BO1 is fine, but there’s too many bad matches. So, I don’t get to experience a lot. That is quite disappointing to me. I don’t mind if it’s gonna be a BO1, but it’s only 14 games. So, for them to be short games or that kind of thing, then you just lose that one match and you just like, kind of prepare everything, and you just die. You just lose everything. That feeling is quite, like, ‘Huh?!(laughs)

However, Team Liquid have looked like a drastically improved team in the Playoffs, and the swap to Best of 5s has been a huge boon for them. UmTi shed some light on how Team Liquid put together their team compositions and strategies, and why the regular season was frustrating.

“We just practice in scrims, like, let’s say three comps in one day. Like, in one day, two games, two games, two games. So, we practice three comps, right? And we can only use one comp. We just say at the draft meeting, like, three hours for it, ‘What kind of comp are we gonna use?!’ Then we lose with that comp, and we are like, ‘Oh, we should choose this!’ kind of this thing. It’s kind of regretful. So that’s quite… sad.”

That said, UmTi seems overall happy with his time in the LCS so far, and he feels that Team Liquid has grown a lot as a team over the course of the split. Even if his arrival is a year later than he would have hoped.

UmTi reflects on his time on BRION

BRION has always had a rough go of things within the LCK. Though they did alright as BRION Blade/hyFresh Blade in the LCK CL, they’ve only managed to make it to LCK Playoffs once in the org’s entire history. UmTi was on this Spring 2022 roster mind you, but they got immediately 3-0ed and eliminated from the Playoffs.

UmTi didn’t fare much better in his time on Jin Air Green Wings or KT Rolster, either, with him not reaching the Playoffs on either team.

Despite all of this, UmTi’s widely known and loved by his fans. He kept getting signed by orgs for the ways he contributes to his team, both in and out of game, and he had nothing but good things to say about the BRION roster he left to come to NA.

“First year [with BRION] was like, I was thinking that I’m learning a lot from BRION. So I just thought that I should not leave BRION at this time. And my head coach Edgar was giving me a lot, and Drinker (BRION’s other coach at the time).”

UmTi after his last game with BRION, a set where they 2-0ed GenG.

He was planning to leave the team and find other opportunities overseas with his mandatory military service coming up, but none of these plans worked out for him up until 2024.

“I tried to go [to another region] because my army time is coming. So, I was trying to go out somewhere to get my career. Unfortunately, Pyosik came out and I just f**ked up. (laughs) Yeah, I cannot beat the Worlds winner, bro. So I understand that kind of situation.”

There were prior rumors about UmTi supposedly joining Team Liquid in 2023, and he confirmed them here.

“I was just like… Yeah, never mind, I’m just going back to the BRION with my head coach Edgar, he appreciated it. So I just learned a lot. And after the three years I was taking at BRION, now is the timing that I should leave. Because I thought that, if I want to learn more as a pro player, I should leave my house, this kind of thing? So because I have to leave to an uncomfortable situation, then I will be better.”

That leads us to today, where there’s a solid case to be made that UmTi should have been picked to be Team Liquid’s jungler over Pyosik last year.

General UmTi leading the charge

Building a good League of Legends roster is hard. As we’ve seen time and time again with “super teams”, every player on the team thinking they can carry never works out. A good roster requires a power dynamic where everyone plays toward the same win condition and is on the same page.

Finding the right balance here was a huge issue with last year’s Team Liquid roster, both in and out of game. Old players on that 2023 roster are still trash talking each other to this day.

UmTi, meanwhile, was built for this team. He told us he’s been learning English since Elementary school and all the way through his teenage years, giving him a considerable leg up on other import players when it comes to shotcalling.

But, more than that, UmTi has his teammates’ backs every step of the way both in-game and out. His experience with persevering through rough times has given him near-unrivaled mental fortitude, and he’s convinced the amount of effort he’s put in for several years is what sets him apart from the competition.

“I have had a lot of fails. And I just like — many times I was depressed or kind of wanted to give up, but I just didn’t give up. Just like, standing up again, standing up again, standing up again, again and again.” UmTi explained. “I believe the effort is there.”

Even after all those years, UmTi never gave up. He put everything he had on the stage, and through that he’s been rewarded by finally finding his place on a top-tier roster in a new region. He’s living proof on why pro players shouldn’t give up, even if it takes them a while to find their stride and get on the right team to fit their skillset and unique strengths.

UmTi isn’t too sure how long he’s going to stay in NA yet. He was conflicted on whether or not he’d try to build a life for himself here like CoreJJ and Impact have before him when we asked him about it.

But, for now, General UmTi has found his home in a place he can thrive. Even if it took years of struggling to get there.


“I believe that players just learn after losing. Just losing gives you a lot. Like, it can make you depressed, it can make you fail. But, if you just don’t miss the quite important things and you learn, only think about learning, then you will just grow and grow and improve. So, you don’t have to be depressed, but just have to be angry a little bit.

“But, it’s quite a hard thing. If angry is like, more, very angry, angry, angry, then it can be like… you can say bad s**t to teammates. So, you should control yourself very well. I think, to me, I learned from seven years in Korea very many things for losing. I know that my win rate is terrible, like 35%. So, I just learned for 65% of my life as a pro gamer.”