On My Way Back

I was just turning 17 when I placed top 24 at Insomnia 53. That was the first LAN event I ever attended. To be honest, I knew I could do better. 

Xenex Esports saw the potential I had, and almost immediately I joined my first esports organization.

We were the favourites alongside Epsilon heading into Am 2 Pro 1 in Leicester. We felt pretty good about it, but unfortunately, a problem before the event meant we had to use a stand-in.

We should have been finalists, but all we got was top six.

Another disappointment.

When Black Ops 3 rolled around I was picked up by Splyce alongside Dominate, Reedy, and Joshh. Together we managed to make it into the EU CWL qualifying tournament. In stage one we placed top 2, which was my biggest achievement to date. We made some roster changes along the way, but we felt like the team was in a good place.

We weren’t considered the favourites to win or even make the final. Individually it was by far my best performance yet, which was a massive confidence boost for me.

I felt like this was the first time I’d shown my true potential.

We got a great result against FaZe Clan at ESWC, a 3-0 win in fact. When we met them again at MLG Anaheim 2016, we expected to repeat the result. After going up 2-0, the third map was the same as one we’d beaten them on at ESWC, we were coasting.

And then we lost 3-2. It was heartbreaking. From 2nd place to top 12. Instead of improving, we’d just regressed.

We were going through a strange period at the time. We could beat some of the North American teams and top EU teams like Millenium, but then we lost against Team Infused at Stage 2 playoffs. It’s not like we just lost focus or got complacent, we really had our heads screwed on for that game.

The loss meant that our team was not in a good place for the upcoming CWL World Championship. To be honest, we were close to disbanding altogether because we were so hurt after the loss to Infused.

Thankfully we stuck together because we all knew what the team was capable of. It wasn’t perfect, and we weren’t getting along like the best of friends, but we made it work.

And we got 2nd place at the biggest event of the year.

The performance as a team wasn’t even close to our best, but individually, we just went off. It was brilliant in its own weird way.

It took some time for the result to sink in, I suppose because we had lost the final so there was some disappointment there. When I got home and rewatched my games, I realized truly what an achievement it really was.

We’d won $250,000, but I didn’t even think about the money all that much really, I was still just amazed that we’d done it. It really was a moment where I had to sit back and say to myself “I just finished 2nd in the world championship…”

At one point in my life, I had the choice of staying in college or dropping out to play CoD. I think this proved I made the right decision.

Results recently haven’t been as glamorous.

I wasn’t a fan of WWII and I think that has contributed to the mediocre performances. Search and Destroy was fine, but Hardpoint and Capture The Flag had huge issues, especially with respawns. They were all over the place. It made it difficult to communicate with your teammates because you didn’t even have a good idea of where the next spawn will be.

Fans were surprised when Tommey left the team in April, and I can understand why, but it wasn’t working out with him. Truthfully, it was hard to play with him. He was very critical of our performances which made it tough to communicate and improve, especially on a game that wasn’t really enjoyable to play in itself.

Skrapz was our main target to replace Tommey, but he joined Red Reserve before we really had a chance of talking to him. Because of that, we decided to bring Joshh back into the roster.

Despite the change, we still couldn’t find the form we were looking for leading up to the CWL World Championship, which in itself was an abysmal finish to the season.

We weren’t exactly optimistic considering our run, but to not even make it out of pool play was heartbreaking.

As soon as it was revealed that Black Ops 4 would feature 5v5 instead of 4v4, I started playing with Red Reserve. At the moment the lineup is Rated, Skrapz, Joee, Zer0, and myself.

I think we’re looking pretty good as a team and we’re all looking forward to Las Vegas in December and, of course, the move to the U.S.

I’m not the biggest fan of some of the recent announcements with regards to pro play, like the riot shield being allowed in competitive play, but it is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s the CWL ruleset and we have to adjust as best we can.

I’m optimistic about this season, honestly. I’ve yet to match the heights of that 2nd place in 2016, and I’m not saying it will definitely happen this season, but we have a great team, and I’m hopeful of good results.

Image Credit: MLG

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