After spending some time in Korea and Turkey, I am glad to be where I am more comfortable with my play, and where I know what I am supposed to do.
It feels good to be back in Europe.
It has been a long time, but I feel as comfortable here as I was in 2015 at CJ Entus. Where I first made a name for myself.
As a rookie back then, I didn’t know how to play League at all outside of solo queue, where I was high-ranked in the Korean ladder.
I still remember in the tryout, our coach told me that I could make it as a professional League of Legends player, even though I didn’t have any competitive experience.
Like most rookies, I started out on the substitute team with a few players that are still around today. Ghost and Bdd are in the LCK, Helper is coaching, and Max was in the LCK last year, but I’m not sure what he’s doing now.
That team was how I got my start in this career. We scrimmed the main team and patiently waited for a chance that might come someday.
Mine just happened to be against SK Telecom T1 – who won 14 straight games before our match. Before we started, my teammates told me: “It’s fine if we lose, just don’t go mental boom”
Winning and losing wasn’t at the forefront of my mind back then. As part of the substitute lineup, all I had focused on was improving. So I didn’t go mental boom, and we actually won the series.
I believe I made a big difference in that game, but our coach seemed to think differently, as I was back on the bench for the playoffs and the regional gauntlet.
At the end of the season Max, Helper, and I were all kicked from the roster entirely. I still sometimes think about that and try to figure out why, but I really don’t know what happened.
Whatever the reason, I still have to thank everyone at CJ Entus for my time there. I learned a lot from the main roster and my confidence was sky-high when I arrived to G2 Esports in 2016.
I knew I would enjoy myself there when I met my teammates. Perkz, Kikis, Emperor, and Hybrid were all try-harding. As we played together more, Perkz and I became very good friends too. We still meet up every week, and sometimes Expect joins us too!
Winning the Spring split and going to MSI was quite sudden, and by the time we actually played there, we had some internal problems. That is not a secret anymore after the “vacation” meme.
By the time we came back for Summer, Zven and Mithy had joined us.
Both Perkz and I had the same problem in those days, and that was what I would call a “childish mindset”. After every win, I was thinking about how good I was, and not about what I could have done better. I can’t speak for how Perkz was thinking, but I suspect that it was the same for him.
After Zven and Mithy joined us, the whole team worked on changing how we spoke to each other. We learned from their professionalism, and things like macro and working as a team became much more important.
Those two are a big part of why we were able to win the Summer split despite making the roster changes. We still didn’t hit the target we wanted at Worlds, but there was definitely some improvement.
It became quite clear to us that if we played to our best, then there was no way that we could lose in the LCS in 2017. We even had a good international performance for once, this time at MSI.
Unfortunately, that was the year that we were drawn into the same group as RNG and Samsung Galaxy. Another group stage defeat.
It was disappointing, but I don’t have regrets about my performance there. I focused on every game – on-stage or in practice – while I was there. It wasn’t enough, but I gave it my best, and that’s all I can do.
Those would be my last matches with G2 Esports. I got a few offers in the offseason, but I wanted to team with IgNar more than anyone else. We became really good friends in 2017, and I was very interested in joining a team with him.
It worked out quite well since we both got an offer from bbq Olivers in Korea!
On reflection, you could say that it was a bad decision, but at the time I really thought that we had put together a good team.
My main issue was with the coaches. We had different views on macro, and that lead to me not being able to play the way that I would like to play.
The whole situation made me really hate the game for a while. At a certain point, I just didn’t want to play at all.
But I didn’t want to retire. I wanted to become a champion again. I tried to put the problems behind me and give my best, but eventually, we were relegated.
My time at Galakticos in the TCL wasn’t much of an improvement. Our AD Carry got banned, and our mid laner was sick throughout the entire season. We lost a lot.
I had to do everything: drafting, looking at player behaviour, things like that. Obviously, it didn’t work out, and we parted ways.
It just confirmed my feelings that I wanted to return to Europe, a place where I felt comfortable and capable of succeeding.
In Europe, and Schalke 04 specifically, I don’t feel like I need to argue with my coaches or handle lots of things like in Turkey. I also don’t need to play solo queue until 3AM, which was an actual rule in my experience in Korea.
I know that everyone here is trying their hardest, which also includes getting enough rest, and taking some time away from the game.
And who can forget? I’m back with IgNar!
I really like playing with him and Upset – I think Upset is the best AD carry.
Thanks to Schalke 04, I am feeling really comfortable again, and I am in an environment where I am happy.
No matter what happens in the playoffs, I’m glad I came back.
Image Credit: Riot Games & Kespa
Adel Chouadria assisted with the creation of this article