Slovenia has arrived at the LEC.
It feels good to have made it to the LEC alongside Mikyx and Nemesis; to compete with them and see them succeed.
It reminds me of a time when all the high-elo players in Slovenia were playing in LAN events against each other. I would always lose to Nemesis and the community back home would never let me forget that.
Today, we Slovenian players all have a really good relationship with one another and we talk from time to time, hanging out on TeamSpeak and Discord – we’re all really good friends.
It wasn’t always that way though, especially between me and Nemesis.
Those days were different. We hadn’t made it yet and were both desperate to make a name for ourselves. Who knows, maybe we just took our frustrations out on each other? We were both just kids back then.
Mikyx had been picked up straight from solo queue and we were both eager to follow in his footsteps. For Nemesis and I, it would take a bit more time.
We had to work our way up through the minor tournaments and national leagues; we even competed for a challenger spot together at one point.
When I was rising through the ranks in 2016, I promised my parents that I would finish high-school in Slovenia before committing to professional esports. It was a juggling act, trying to keep both studying and competitive League of Legends in the air.
The moment I’d finished my final high school exam, all I wanted was to be a part of the EU LCS.
I signed with Team LDLC in the French scene for three months. It was there that I first met Selfmade when he was subbed into the lineup.
Ah, I don’t miss those French LANs that we would compete in together – events where you would bring your own computer and be there from morning until night – there was always computer problems, consistent lag and long delays between games.
In some games, you had to play against teams that were just playing for fun; you would likely spend half of the day playing against Diamond 5 teams. It wasn’t a serious level of competition at all.
After a few months, I needed a change. I heard that MAD Lions were in need of an AD carry and, having already played with Selfmade and Nemesis in the past, I decided to switch to the Spanish scene.
Of course, the major drawback of going there was that it meant I would be playing in the national leagues for yet another year and given, my experience in France, it wasn’t the level I aspired to play at.
At the time, I was disappointed, but since I was surrounded by Werlyb, Nemesis and Selfmade, I was excited to see my skills develop alongside them.
As it turned out, the Spanish league was way more professional than the LANs I had played in France.
The structure of the LVP was similar to that of the EU LCS: we had a live audience, everything was set up in advance and we played on a weekly basis.
Even the team itself, MAD Lions, had a structure that was more professional than anything I’d experienced (or had even heard about) in France.
On top of that, I had the opportunity to play in scrims against the top EU LCS teams, especially during the 2018 Summer Split. The players in the Spanish regional league were better across the board than those in France at the time – I remember playing against Hans Sama in the occasional LAN, but the players were not that good on average.
In general, the Spanish league was pretty huge for me. I could focus on improving my game during my time with MAD Lions; that period of my career contributed a lot to my growth.
Still, the biggest stage I played on in 2018 was the EU Masters. That whole tournament was huge for my career.
The viewership we had for the EU Masters was massive; I think it was at 100k against Origen.
After winning pretty much everything besides the EU Masters Spring Split in 2018, here we are, in the LEC, representing SK Gaming. I’ve finally made it.
It took some time for us to become comfortable because we were all really tense to be playing on stage. We were doubting our calls at first and the atmosphere just wasn’t the same as it was during scrims where we are more confident in ourselves and joking around.
The stakes are higher now but I think we’re slowly gaining in confidence.
We only occasionally had pressure on stage playing in the LVP. After playing on stage in front of that crowd so many times, I became accustomed to it. It’ll just take a bit of time until I feel that way playing in the LEC.
I think we will surprise a lot of people this split. A lot of analysts ranked us really low before the season started but, slowly, people will see that we are quite a good team.
Thinking back to where my journey started in Slovenia, I’ve matured a lot as a person and learned a lot on the way.
At the start of my career, I was looking at League of Legends as something I enjoy and do on the side. I take League of Legends more seriously now.
When I first started competing, I was a really toxic player and I think it hurt my reputation. I’m glad to have overcome that hurdle to make it this far.
I’ve come a long way since 2016.
Back then I was a Slovenian high school kid with a big dream.
And here I am now. Ready to prove myself in the LEC.
Image Credit: Riot Games