Washed Up

I place value in teams that have a clear direction, not only within the players and the coaching staff but also in the organization itself. That’s why Golden Guardians stood out to me.

The move happened naturally as I was just speaking to Nick – Inero – who used to be my coach at Echo Fox, and Danan, the GM of Golden Guardians. Our visions lined up very well and I felt pretty good about the project at Golden Guardians. It seems that they liked what I had to say too, so it just matched up nicely.

All I really care about is winning and I’m glad to have found a team that makes that the priority, management included. There isn’t a single player on this lineup that achieved what they wanted to last season, and I think that has made us very hungry as a team.

I never planned on leaving Echo Fox. They told me that they were happy and wanted to keep me on the roster and, because of that, I didn’t even think about looking into other teams or options; I was happy at Echo Fox.

Then they hired new management.

I have no idea what happened there. I got the news that I was being replaced while I was filming content at the Echo Fox office. I was completely blindsided.

Perhaps I misread the situation, but from my perspective, it felt like we just had to renegotiate the details of the contract and I would be starting for Echo Fox again. As it worked out since it happened quite late on, I was left with no options, because other teams had already signed their mid laners.

Thankfully I’d always kept streaming as a back-up plan and that’s what I transitioned to when I couldn’t find a team last year.

The problem with streaming is that I am an extremely competitive person. There hasn’t been a single moment in my career where I’ve thought about quitting competitive and going into streaming full-time.

Streaming is very lonely compared to being part of a team. In a team, there is always something going on. If you want to go out for food, there is a teammate to come with you if you ask. At home, you’re isolated.

You wake up, maybe go to the gym, and then play solo queue for eight hours. Sure, you can interact with your viewers in Twitch chat, but it’s not the same as having people around you.

Since I was no longer contracted to a team, my P1 athlete visa was also no longer valid, so I had to go back to Denmark for a while. I’d been living in LA for two years until that point, so most of my friends are there now.

I have my old friends in Denmark, but it’s not easy to see them because we live quite far apart now. It was pretty lonely, and after six months, I was glad to be able to head back to LA.

I’m still not the kind of person who thinks about retiring or streaming full-time; I just can’t see myself doing that any time soon. Unfortunately, we are now at a point where if you haven’t been on a team for a while, it’s very difficult to convince people that you are still good enough.

Before the start of the season, I went to Korea to boot camp, largely just to prove that I was still a good player. Within two weeks I had reached the top 10 in Korean solo queue.

That’s when I discovered that literally no one really cares. It didn’t change a thing.

“Washed up” is the term that gets thrown around a lot, and to honest, I can understand why people might say that about me. The last time I actually won anything was with Alliance in 2014. That’s four-and-a-half years ago.

People are bound to ask the question: “Is he actually that good anymore?”

For the most part, it’s impossible to prove that you are good unless your team is winning. When you’re on a losing team, all of your mistakes are highlighted and shown to the world: “Look, here is what Froggen could have done better…”

But when you’re winning, those exact same mistakes are quickly forgiven and forgotten. Ultimately, it comes down to winning and losing, and I haven’t been winning for a long time.

It’s funny because I used to love the attention. I would be on Reddit after every single game in season two because everyone was so positive back then.

Nowadays, it feels very negative whenever I look at anything. I still care a lot and I want to prove how good I am and how good my team is, so seeing people shit on us is naturally upsetting.

The public’s perception of me was really the main reason I decided to join Origen for the EU Masters.

I knew I could use it as an opportunity to prove that I was still better than these so-called “solo queue prospects” in Europe. It was a bit of a risk I suppose – if I played badly, it would be nearly impossible to convince people that I was still a top-tier player.

Of course, it ended up working out for all of us. I personally think I performed very well in the tournament as well, so I was happy about that. A lot of the players I faced in that competition ended up joining strong teams in the regional leagues and the LEC.

People called us “old men” during that competition, but we still rolled through all the young guys.

Some people have the strange opinion that players are getting “old” when they’re in their mid-twenties. I am 24 years old, and there are people who call me old. Does that make sense?

Just because you aren’t 17 years old anymore, it doesn’t mean that you can’t execute everything you need to in the game.

People like to draw a comparison to regular sports, but it’s not the same at all. A player in the NBA reaches a certain age where their body can no longer keep up with the game; they end up playing a few minutes in each game and then spend their time teaching the younger guys to help the team.

But for competitive League of Legends today, academy players have so much more to learn from than I ever did. When I came onto the scene and played internationally, there was very little material for me to follow. I had to figure everything out on my own.

These days, anyone can watch pros in the major leagues, and players from academy teams can watch and listen in on scrims. They can ask me questions and I’ll be happy to answer, but they also have to be able to figure things out for themselves.

I much prefer helping the younger players get used to being on a team, or living away from their family and friends rather than help them to learn the intricacies of the game.

I’m quite straightforward when it comes to this kind of thing: I’m here to play and I’m here to win.

If you want to take my spot, then come and take it from me.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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