Europe Is My Home

After failing to reach the World Championship in 2017, I felt that I needed a change.

I really wanted to experience North America. After so many years in Berlin, I wanted to see how LA would compare, meet new people and just be in a new environment.

I didn’t hesitate to take that chance when I received a good offer from Clutch Gaming.

At first, things were great, but once we started getting into the split, I started to feel that my teammates were lacking in terms of mentality, potential skill-ceiling and the ability to work and improve together as a team.

I’ve been through hard times before, with both Fnatic and H2K-Gaming, but there was another factor that made it harder for me at Clutch Gaming:

I didn’t like it in America.

I found the time difference really hard to deal with. Between scrim schedules and practice, it was hard to find time to talk to my family and my girlfriend – I felt lonely, isolated and I couldn’t seem to make any friends.

I wanted to dedicate myself to the game instead, but it was hard to motivate myself since the team wasn’t doing so well; I felt like all the time I spent playing didn’t really matter.

By the end of the Summer Split, I wanted desperately to return to Europe.

Honestly, I couldn’t see myself being happy staying there for one more year. I knew I would be much happier going back to Europe and finding a new team, even if that meant starting over.

I told Clutch Gaming that if we weren’t going to upgrade the lineup significantly, then I would want to leave. I didn’t really hear back from them, so I guess they didn’t want to continue either?

I didn’t expect Clutch to try and keep any of last season’s roster, except for myself and LirA. It’s not that the team was bad, but we definitely needed some upgrades since the other rosters were way stronger. Something needed to change.

I guess when you feel that way about your team and you feel like solo queue is trash, you begin to feel like you aren’t improving, not individually nor as a team.

I felt my mental health beginning to go downhill because of that; I felt really emotional. I needed a reset, another fresh start.

Even though life for an esports player in North America is generally great, my impression of everything became warped – everything felt sour.

There are no bad things about NA as a region, but I just felt that things could be improved… and those same things are already improved in Europe. The personalities are also very different between the two regions.

I just fit into an EU team better than one in NA.

I’m glad to have experienced North America because now I know for sure that I would rather just play here, closer to home, my family and my friends. I don’t know if it was homesickness, it’s just my preference.

I feel at home in Europe, and with Misfits.

My offseason was very uncertain at first. After I returned home from America I just took some time to relax.

Misfits expressed an interest fairly early on. The roster wasn’t set when we first started talking, people signed piece by piece – Hans Sama and Maxlore were remaining from the previous split, then I joined, then sOAZ and GorillA did.

My experience with Misfits so far has been so much better than what I’d become used to in America. Everything from the players I’m playing with, European solo queue, the coaching staff, even the food is really good in the Misfits house – our chef is really good.

We don’t sleep in a gaming house, wake up and play instantly. We have our own apartments shared with our teammates, and every day we get up and walk to practice. I focus better when I don’t work where I sleep.

Importantly, I also feel that I have people around me who want to win. This team has real potential and we all want to practice and win. We just have to show up now.

We started off really well, better than I expected us to in honesty. We snowballed our games really well, and we outfought our opponents in the early game.

But then we started suffering losses. It sucks to lose, it always sucks when you lose, but this season I won’t sink into the negativity as I have done before.

I’m learning to process losses in a more positive and resourceful way. I may be emotional after a defeat, but I recover very quickly off screen. Everyone is allowed to be controlled by their emotions sometimes, but moving forward is all that matters.

When you have that perspective, you realise it’s just one game out of 18. We have a new roster, and the enemies played well. Sometimes, we outplay ourselves.

It’s about the journey, it’s not a one-time thing that has to go well immediately.

It takes time, and you need to be patient, positive and optimistic. You need to keep learning from your mistakes.

It’s something we work towards constantly. We’re slowly figuring out our drafts, solid game plans and our playstyle. We need to work on having a number of strengths in our game, rather than having one strategy and losing when it fails.

With Moose coming in, he’s trying hard to make us more of a team. He’s revised the fundamentals so that everyone is on the same page.

He’s making us go back to basics, right back to the laning phase with slow pushing and trading. He questions everything and we talk a lot as a team.

I really want to go to the playoffs with this roster and show the potential that we have, but most importantly, I want to make sure that I maintain my healthy mental state, regardless of whether we win or lose.

If we come back strong, that’s fucking great, but if we don’t, then I’ll know it’s because we didn’t work hard enough and the other team was better. 

I want to be in a good mental state regardless of whether we win or lose, and I want to be clear on what I and my team have to improve upon.

I’ll take it game by game, and just chill.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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