Before League of Legends, I was just a student sitting at home, studying a little. Now, I’m a professional.
I started my career in Europe, rather than in South Korea. I didn’t even play in the Challenger scene in South Korea, unlike Wadid. In fact, I only experienced the European scene in competitive League of Legends.
The language was not really a problem since I spent a number of years in Malaysia way before I played League of Legends. I went to an international school, and they taught everything in English. Because of that, I could speak English when I came here – not very well, but better than most South Korean players.
My father stayed in South Korea, and my mother and sister came alongside me for two years. After that, we returned there, and I had a normal school life.
My journey in esports began with Starcraft: Brood War, as it did for a lot of people. Of course, I was hoping to be the best when I started playing it, but I couldn’t make it that far. Once the chance to play in those Starcraft leagues were gone, I switched to League of Legends.
I know that my parents never expected me to turn the game into something real. When I told them I wanted to be a League of Legends pro, they weren’t against it, but they weren’t exactly excited about it.
I believe my family has always been proud of me, no matter what I do, but I’m glad I was able to achieve this dream and make them even more proud.
When I told them about an offer from Europe, they realized that I could do it, and they have supported me ever since.
We don’t often talk about my career. They know how long I have spent getting here, and how much it means to me, but that’s about it. I haven’t told them about the details of what I do and how it all works because they don’t really understand League of Legends and esports.
They do know about the teams I’ve played for though.
The first one being Misfits Gaming, or Renegades: Banditos as they were known in the Challenger Series qualifiers.
I made it to LCS with Misfits, but IgNar joined and replaced me on the main team. It wasn’t the end of my time with Misfits, because I joined up with their academy team, which turned out to be a fantastic learning experience.
The stage experience helped me a lot, but playing in challenger for a little longer allowed me to work on improving my play, my champion pool, and some specific match-ups that I used to struggle with.
Again, we made it into the LCS, but this time we had to depart from Misfits. Mysterious Monkeys bought the lineup, and as most of you will know, it did not go well.
I still have sad memories from that period of my life. Despite the fact that we qualified, the team had a lot of problems.
I didn’t feel any emotion on the day of our elimination, but I felt really sad two days later.
Yuuki and I continued to play together, even though we had been eliminated from the LCS. Together, we played in France for a year, which was another new experience for me. I was able to learn another culture and enjoy myself in another environment.
We had a lot of potential as a duo. The final tournament we played together, on Team Vitality Academy, was one that we won at Disneyland.
I miss Yuuki as a friend. Unfortunately, this business does not lend itself to friendships. I wanted to improve with him, but I also wanted to play in the LEC and try to get a spot at the World Championship. So when the offer came from SK Gaming, I had to say yes.
The challenges here have been different to what I have been used to at Vitality Academy. The players and staff here understand the game at a higher level, and individually there is more talent available.
My job specifically has changed from shot calling to supporting those who do make the decisions in the team. I work more with managing minion waves and providing information.
There was a lot of talk in the media about our team. Not a lot of it was good. People said that we weren’t good enough, or more specifically, that our communication would not be up to the standard that it needed to be, because of our ability to speak English.
It’s funny because that’s not even the most important thing, honestly.
The most important parts of in-game communication are giving correct information between teammates, making decisions and being decisive. Yes, we were lacking that at the start, but after working on it, we fixed it, and made it to the playoffs.
It’s been quite the journey from my start in Europe to where I am now. When I first came here, I didn’t know whether I would be fine in another country, doing something quite out of the ordinary, but here I am.
Sometimes you just have to take the chance you get and face whatever will be thrown at you in pursuit of it.
Image Credit: Riot Games