Over the last few years, I have come to understand the core of my personality a little better, and I wanted to become a calmer person, with a clearer mind.
I am a strong believer that you have to think about your position in life at different ages and make choices that will allow you to build. You shouldn’t look back and think: “I Should have done this”.
Not that you shouldn’t have regrets. There are certainly moments where I wonder how my life would have changed had I made a certain decision. But any experience you have shaped you in one way or another.
That’s just life. Life isn’t a video game, even if mine is built around one.
I try to shape the way I behave, the way I think, and the way I do things. If I can’t do that or my emotions get the better of me, I can at least understand my thoughts and reactions and come to terms with them.
This change in my mindset is largely thanks to growing up in the competitive atmosphere within the LCS and LEC. The stakes are high and pressure is on all the time. It’s very different from my time in Gran Canaria before I became a part of this.
Self-reflection is important in this environment.
You have to be able to find the smallest improvements you can. Those marginal improvements are sometimes as a player, on a technical level, or as a person – your mindset, communication, and attitude.
I come from a time when the barrier of entry was not as high; nowadays, the player base is bigger, and players have to prove themselves in regional leagues or in other competitive regions.
But one thing has remained true: if you’re good, you’re going to get in eventually. The people that got in back then and didn’t push for those marginal gains are not playing professionally anymore.
But things are better now: you have more support overall. You will meet veterans that have been playing for a while, and the organization will provide you with more things – like a sports psychologist – early on. In our organization, nothing is left to chance.
There is so much support, so many people taking care of our every need, and it makes a huge difference.
A new player can develop much faster in the current climate. It’s not as much of a “trial by fire” as it was for players like myself.
I wouldn’t even consider some of the lineups I played on as teams. It was just players coming together in an attempt to get lucky and qualify for a tournament, or for the European LCS.
In 2013, I played for four teams in the space of six months. How can someone expect to improve in an environment like that?
The first time I felt that I played within a team was in Lemondogs. We could play every day, practice for the whole day, play together at the same place, and talk to each other in-person. We lived together.
Of course, as everyone knows, I was banned from competitive play earlier in my career.
It used to be the case that I would win my lane, but the team lost, and I would ask “Why didn’t you guys win your lane?”.
After the ban, I realized that being a better individual player isn’t going to make my team win. I needed to have a deeper understanding of macro gameplay, communicating ideas to my teammates, and exist in a structure that every player on the team can understand and follow.
That was the approach I used as part of Origen in 2015. And I made it to Worlds for the 2nd time in three years.
When I made it with Lemondogs, we didn’t make the most of our chance. Our boot camp was poor, we had a difficult group, and we didn’t play to the best of our abilities.
Origen was a different story. Our boot camp was positive, we came prepared, and we trusted each other.
It’s funny. Nowadays all I’m trying to do is make it to Worlds and challenge for the trophy, but back then I didn’t appreciate the achievement of making it to the Semifinal.
All I could think about was the fact that our scrim performance was stagnating, and our understanding of the meta was below our opponent.
Since then, I have had the chance to go back to Worlds twice, on G2 Esports.
Our first attempt, although I think we were better than our results showed, we deserved to lose.
Our practice and preparation for the event was immature, and we relied on superior mechanics to win in Europe – But you can’t do that against the best international competition.
In 2017, we focused on building structure, playing good macro. Through that, we grew a lot when we went through IEM Katowice and MSI. We were a great team, and we understood each other very well.
And we failed again.
We played to our potential, and on another day we could have won the matches that we lost. I have no regrets from that tournament.
In fact, I cherish it perhaps even more than the Semifinal with Origen.
Reaching Worlds again and actually doing our best both in and out of the game to compete was an awesome feeling.
I didn’t realise how much of a brotherhood we had at G2 in 2017 until I left them. When Zven and I joined TSM in 2018, I thought we could replicate that feeling. That everything would just click into place. But it’s rarely that simple.
That particular challenge helped me learn what a team needs to click: the things that need to be said, how players need to behave, and how you want to ease into all of those things individually.
I don’t regret any of the experiences I’ve had: I just cherish them in a good or bad way, as long as I take the most out of them and learn from them.
That’s what I am bringing with me to Origen, to my teammates, and to any challenges I might face in the future.
Image Credit: Riot Games