Work Smarter

If you are good enough to get somewhere, you will get there. It’s just a matter of time.

I worked hard, but not to play in the LEC: I worked hard to become a better player.

When I was young, in general school, I started participating in maths contests, but I was not getting the right preparation. So, my parents took me to the best school in my area, with possibly the best maths teacher in all of Romania.

He trained me for one year, and he helped me reach second place in the national Olympiads. He taught me everything about competition.

At this point, the rules of competition are built into my subconscious, and I don’t have to think about them, but I will list them here.

The biggest rule is to never lie to yourself. If you start finding excuses for everything, you will stop improving. When you stop doing that, you’re basically dead in terms of competition. Always try to be better.

Another rule is to put in the work – but don’t work hard: work smart. If you put in 12 hours of work and learn nothing, and someone else put in four hours and learned a lot, you haven’t worked harder than the one that put in four hours.

Those are the rules that I have followed since the maths contests, and I follow them even today as a League of Legends top laner. Speaking of which, League of Legends replaced maths as my primary interest once I got into the game.

The biggest difference between the two was that I could always queue up for a game and feel competitive. It was much easier for me to utilize my competitive spirit in League of Legends. On the other hand, I had to wait for results in maths contests.

It was in high school that I started playing at small Romanian LANs. I was already a better player than the competition there. I realised that I could do something with the game, and I started researching it.

When I discovered that there was a viable career path in becoming a professional League of Legends player, I decided that I would achieve it. It was perfect for me.

My parents did not agree.

Like a lot of other players, I had to struggle with parents that thought I was just addicted to video games. They didn’t know that it was possible to do something meaningful with the game.

So, I made a compromise: I would study. I quit League for a full year.

I proved that it wasn’t just an addiction. They saw me get into university with very good grades, and they realized that I knew what I was trying to do in regards to my future.

They had trust in me, and they supported me. When people around you are supportive, it’s much easier to compete and improve. That changed my whole career.

During my university year, I was living with my girlfriend and playing for KIYF remotely. Since studies came first, I didn’t go to the gaming house. My parents knew that I was going to go pro once the university year ended.

If you don’t pass the first year or try to freeze it, you get kicked out. But if you pass it and freeze it, you can return there whenever you want. That’s what I did.

So, when the Splyce opportunity came, I knew what I had to do: I moved to Berlin. In fact, 2019 is my first year of full-time League of Legends.

After six weeks with Splyce Vipers, I had improved more than my entire League of Legends career before that. The difference between my play now, and three months ago, is night and day.

The coaches in Splyce Vipers are fucking great. Excuse my language, but I really want to emphasise how much they helped me. I find it’s much easier to learn when someone with an outside perspective can teach you, and I learned so much from them.

You can study by yourself, but it isn’t as fast as if someone teaches you. The information is not there, so you have to make deductions and think actively. Even then, you aren’t sure if you are 100 percent correct because you don’t have a second opinion.

In Splyce, I can access the coaches at any point during the day – they are not a Skype call away. I feel really good here. Instead of only having a trial by error approach, I can exchange information before doing my trial by error. It’s a lot more productive.

Nowadays, I have a full routine compared to my days studying in Romania and playing in parallel. We finish our scrim day somewhat late in the evening, and I relax a little. I play just a little bit of solo queue, but I don’t make it the main focus of the evening. After a full day of working, I find it difficult to focus. If you can still focus after scrims, it means you weren’t focusing during the practice, which means you weren’t learning as much as you could have.

That, or you have lots of energy. You can have days like that, but it’s not sustainable for most people. I’m sure some people are outliers, but I can’t do that on a consistent basis.

There is something else: we live with the main team, and we can learn so much from them. I learn a lot from Vizicsacsi.

Vizicsacsi is like an idol to me. In so many ways, he’s insanely good. If I learn everything that he knows from him and mix it with my own style, it will be very good for me as a player.

When I heard that I had to replace him after the Team Vitality game, I had quite mixed feelings about it. That was not how I imagined my first time playing on the LEC stage.

On one side, I felt happy that I had this opportunity. But on the other, I did not feel ready, and I felt really bad for Vizicsacsi. If I was in his position, I would be pretty sad.

Vizicsacsi wanted to play against Team Vitality, but he was very sick. He had a hard time playing the game, and he went to the hospital. When they told him to rest, the coach came to me and told me that I was playing.

I also had so many supportive messages from everyone, and that means so much to me. I would like to make a shoutout to everyone who made a positive Twitter comment about it or sent a message.

It meant a lot to me, so thank you for that. I hope that everyone keeps their support for me when I next get up on that stage.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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