Before I played in the LEC, I was a bit of a journeyman around Europe.
The first time I joined a serious team was Illuminar Gaming.
I was a rookie surrounded by four veterans. 17 years old, and I had Creaton, Kubon, NiQ and Tabasko as teammates. I wasn’t a shot caller yet: I was doing whatever they needed me to do.
Creaton was a former LCS player, and he is the best person I’ve ever met in esports. He became my best friend, and we talked a lot after games. We used to talk about anything and everything.
He taught me how to communicate and how to treat people. I’m really grateful that he was my teammate at the time. He is a big factor in my development as a player and a person.
I followed my teammate’s advice and their feedback when I did things poorly, and their teachings to help me understand the game better. I was just a mechanically good solo queue player at the time, and that got me to high elo in EU West.
I was playing not to lose, not to int. I don’t do that anymore, since playing not to lose is a bad thing to do.
Unfortunately, that team fell apart after our failed attempts to get into the Challenger Series.
Tabasko and I were the only players that had not played in the LCS, and it showed. After the failure, those guys didn’t really have the motivation any more. They had already had their chance to experience the top level.
Some decided to take a break, some looked for new teams, Creaton even decided to just completely leave League of Legends.
Since I was still looking to progress, I had to find a new team.
I think maybe I jumped in too quickly and didn’t think about my options enough. Joining Movistar Riders ended up being a pretty bad experience.
We failed to qualify into the LVP Superliga.
At the start, I felt pretty good about my performance, but as the weeks went on I just got worse, and I couldn’t figure out why. The meta changed from tanks to mages in the support role, so maybe that caused it, but it wasn’t good for my state of mind.
After we dropped out in the semifinals of the second division, I wanted to quit the team. I was younger then, and my arrogance got the better of me. I convinced myself that it wasn’t my fault, but the team was bad.
I was very immature at the time, and I am not proud of myself for that.
I doubt any of the players or staff recommended me to other teams when I left.
During the downtime, I spent some time with various teams but nothing serious came from it. My efforts in solo queue were mostly what led to me getting offers from the LVP. Since I wasn’t good enough or known enough to fight for a spot in the LCS, I was very interested.
When I joined GIANTS, things were different from my previous teams. I became a leader there, a team captain and a shot-caller. I have to thank Sharkz, who was coaching the team – he helped me improve in that role quite a lot.
The team felt more like a brotherhood, and our coach was really fun and entertaining. It was the best time I had experienced in esports.
It didn’t take too long for the good times to pass though. In our first split together our attempt to make it to EU Masters failed because our jungler had to go to the hospital before the semi-final.
During our 2nd split, the team still looked strong, and we even scrimmed against LCS teams, but I just snapped.
It’s hard to say exactly what did it, but I felt like I had to stop playing the game entirely. In July 2018, I took two months away from the game completely.
It became clear during the break between Spring and Summer. Being home, without the pressure of playing and competing every day, it just felt really calming.
At the same time, I got into a relationship, and it made me realize how many “normal” things I had missed about being a teenager, because of League of Legends.
It was obvious how unhappy I was when the season started again. GIANTS didn’t want me to leave, but they knew it wasn’t worth keeping me in “jail” either.
Finding my replacement was tough because I was the leader of the team. Denyk was a pretty lucky find for us in the end. He had a cheap buyout and filled my role perfectly.
So I took two months completely away from the game and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I have never felt the drive to compete like I did when I returned from that break.
All I had in mind was the goal of getting a good offer for 2019. To achieve that, I had to work on my flaws: becoming more mature, dealing with the emotions of my teammates, and generally just becoming a better player individually.
When I met Zven in solo queue and started duoing with him, the whole thing really went to the next level.
I got challenger, and Zven started recommended me to some teams. I’m probably more grateful for that than he realizes.
I put in the hard work to get there, but without his influence, who knows where I could have ended up. I don’t think I would have made my LEC debut, or even been part of a franchised team like Excel Esports.
When I left the GIANTS house in 2018, I didn’t even think I’d be back as a competitive player at all, let alone playing in one of the most competitive leagues in the world.
Images: Riot Games and Cybersport