No Pressure

Emil Larsson
Video games have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

It’s not the only thing I am interested in. I have played football for my whole life, along with some table tennis and the very Swedish sport of Floorball.

But gaming was always my number one hobby.

I have always had fun playing games. When I was a kid it was Pokemon on the Nintendo, either playing it myself or watching my brother be much better at it than me.

We made the move to PC gaming together, and some of my friends came along as well.

Call of Duty 4 was the first online experience. That was a long time ago, and I have more memories of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, actually. Killstreaks left, right, and centre.

Eventually, my brother and I made the switch to League of Legends, and we started climbing the ranks together.

My brother was actually the first of us to play on a “competitive” team. He managed to get a spot on a team that played in the old “Go4LoL” tournaments on ESL. After a little bit of roster drama, he convinced the other guys to get me on the team.

That team didn’t really go anywhere, and my brother decided to put a little more focus on his studies. We still played together, but I still wanted to go as far as I could.

My friends and I still get together and play when we can. These days it’s mostly Fortnite.

I still have fun, but it’s not quite the same now. Gaming, in general, isn’t just a hobby now, and my career has to come first.

My brother, on the other hand, after seeing me play in the LEC, decided to get back into the game.

You can find him in the Swedish Esports League and the Nordic Championship on a team called FALKN. He’s a support player, using the name “Lannister”.

We both picked very original names to use as you can see.

So the older brother ended up trying to follow the younger brother’s footsteps. Although, I agreed with him that completing your studies was important. The only circumstance in which I considered quitting high-school would have been an offer from an LEC or LCS team.

I always believed that I would make it to that point one day, but I also knew that I wasn’t in a rush to get there. While I finished my studies in Sweden, my focus was simply on improving as much as I could as a player.

My parents knew that the League of Legends scene was exploding back then, and would have supported me no matter what I decided, but in the end, it was my choice alone to finish school before committing to anything.

Playing with H2K in the 2018 Summer Split wasn’t an issue, because it was mainly during summer vacation. Playing during the school year was a different prospect entirely.

There wasn’t much pressure on me at all when I made my debut for H2K. I sort of said “I’ll just go, play two games, and see what happens. It will be a good experience, and if I win it’s a bonus”

And then we actually won. H2K’s first win of the season.

At the time I just enjoyed the moment, but I think in the long run it’s good that I recorded a win that early. It just added a nice little bit of buzz around me.

The offer from Rogue, last Autumn, came in just slightly before I was going to finish high-school.

As I mentioned, my previous rule had been to drop out for an LEC offer, but at this point, I was so close to finishing school that I just had to. I felt it would be better to have it off my shoulders and focus 100% on the game when I was finished.

Rogue has a strong academy set up, and I knew that I could play from home during the Spring split, so that was the obvious route for me.

Rogue had the strongest academy team in the league at the time, and my conversations with their management went really well. I had good vibes about them from the very start. Some of the management even came to visit me when I graduated from school.

To be honest, there wasn’t much difference for me playing in the academy league. I’ve been playing almost exclusively online for the last four years, so playing in the Ultraliga from home was pretty comfortable.

We managed to win the entire thing, as I thought we would before the season started. Though I don’t think we needed to go to game 5 in the grand finals to secure the trophy.

What I remember more than playing in the Ultraliga was the scrims against LEC opponents. Those games helped me improve more than anything else.

We did suffer a little bit from burnout, but that can happen to anyone. Since we were playing from home, we didn’t have access to the same resources an LEC team might have, on top of school-work and individual practice, it got a bit too much towards the end.

But now I’m in Berlin, things are a lot easier. I get along with everyone on the team, and we’re all looking to improve together.

As for my studies, the pressure is off now: if everything failed, I could go to university anytime. For now, I don’t need to think about it. 

I can finally put 100% into being the best competitor that I can be.

Image Credit: Riot Games

Adel Chouadria assisted in the creation of this article

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