On The Map

People on the outside don’t realize that sometimes these decisions break hearts, you break friendships and you burn bridges.

When you’re competing you’re spending more time with these four or five guys instead of spending it with your significant other or your family. Sometimes you have hard decisions to make and it can lose you a friend or a colleague when you need to make a player change because their best just isn’t good enough.

I’ve been there. It doesn’t feel good at all. Even though you feel guilty about it you know moving forward it’s the way to go.

Doesupz and I have been together since the very first LAN at DreamHack Sweden in 2016, longer than any other duo.

We both have this knack and ability, to bring players on our team and make them better. No matter who we’ve brought we’ve always been a top team in North America by the precedence that we set. Even when the PPL started it was no different.

When the PPL was first announced we all feared we might lose our positions because organisations had a little bit more control than the players. We wanted to make sure that they weren’t just going to bring in five Counter-Strike players or five Overwatch players and tell us “Thanks for playing, but we own this now.

The guys at Hi-Rez always told us not to worry and just to focus on what we need to do and we’ll be fine and sure enough, they were right. It was still very hectic at the end because three or four teams weren’t signed but thankfully we got picked up really early.

When the WESA organisations got announced it made Paladins esports so much more legitimate because we could actually be salaried players and have that job security.

It’s huge to be able to work with these organisations like G2, EnVy, and Fnatic but it brings a lot of pressure to meet expectations and that can really affect our gameplay and even how we approach roster changes.

Conflict isn’t always a bad thing, necessarily. It drives the conversation to things like meta changes and the way that you’re playing but too much conflict is just that; too much.

Our team had so much internal struggle at one point it made it hard to even go to practice.

We couldn’t show up to tournaments in the right mindset and we knew we weren’t reaching our full potential. We just had too much conflict and that led us to make a roster change.

When we decided to make changes it was the start of the Summer PPL. At that time the PGS didn’t have that many good tank players, which is what we needed, so we had to make an even bigger change. I moved from support to tank and instead, we picked up a support player. Thankfully it wasn’t that hard of a transition for me.

Back in the day, there wasn’t any true support champions or true tank champions. Just about everyone did damage, so when I really got started I was just another damage player. When true roles started getting introduced I played around a lot with tanking and supporting.

At one point nobody on our team wanted to play support because who wants to play support right? You have to clean up everyone’s mess, it’s awful. Somehow I agreed to take one for the team and step into the position.

I play the game a lot, so the decision for me to swap roles really wasn’t that bad. I stream for 3-5 hours a day on top of practice so switching was pretty natural. But switching in a competitive setting like in scrims and tournaments was definitely something that took getting used to for a week or two.

Our “new” support player, actually wasn’t new, if you think about it. Vex30 was on the team when we won DreamHack Valencia in 2017 as our coach/analyst and substitute. The only reason we had to drop him was because we couldn’t offer him a starting position.

When we brought him back he was really excited to be back with the team and he’s a perfect fit because we’ve all technically been together since January 2017.

After we made those changes in May it’s just been smooth sailing. Now we’re able to criticize each other and make each other better players. The major internal struggle is gone and I think when you get that monkey off your back it makes things a hell of a lot easier.

Even though I know we’re a better team than we were before the roster changes I still feel like last season the North American teams gave us “too much” respect for what we were actually able to do or what we were actually capable of. Now we’re just lacking the opportunity to show that we’ve improved as a team because nobody takes us seriously at the international level.

HRX is everyone’s dream but it’s more about winning, it’s about being validated by getting that World ring. Being able to rock it like a super bowl ring or something and that’s what we’re gunning for. This is our opportunity and I don’t think there’s a better time to have our opportunity because we’re not expected to win. At all.

We’re expected to lose to Europe just like always.

Europeans have a giant ego but they have the track record to back it up so they deserve it. I’m okay with that though because so do I, but I’m the underdog. Being the underdog is the best place to be really. Not having any pressure is an advantage in itself.

If we lose, people will be like “Eh. It’s just America. We expected that. No big deal.” Anytime we win a LAN it was ‘lucky’ because Europe was having a bad day or a bad week. It’s never “Oh hey, North America looks really good.

We meet expectations if we lose, and we surprise people if we win, so it’s not a loss for us either way. That’s how we look at each LAN because internationally, nobody expects us.

We don’t fear any teams but we don’t overly respect any teams. So right now we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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