The Long Road To The Top

My mind was racing with 19 seconds left.

My brain didn’t know what to think. It felt so surreal. Even thinking back now, all I remember thinking once the ball hit the ground was “holy shit”.

That was in January of this year, at WSOE. My long road to the top started a long time before then.

A couple of months after I first swapped to PC, I was approached by Borito B and Rix_Ronday to join Reason Gaming for the second season of the Gfinity Elite Series. It was a massive catapult and I think that they picked me because I played well on my first PC team, Backpost (with Gregan and irvl).

We had solid results as a team, and I headed into the Elite Series expecting to start every series. However, shortly before the season started I was replaced by Tigreee in Reason’s starting lineup. I was upset and scared, since being benched cast into doubt on a personal level whether I was any good or not.

As soon as the season was over I was ready to move on, despite Reason eventually winning the entire thing.

I was met with an extremely pleasant surprise when I was drafted by UNILAD because I was given a second chance to showcase myself. It was also very special for me because it was at the point when my mum had really started to get on the esports hype train.

Nevertheless, although I really appreciated the opportunity, finishing last in our group cast yet another seed of doubt over whether I was good enough or not.

After Gfinity I had been looking to form a team with fruity. Eventually, we settled on Shakahron as a third. Truth be told, I didn’t expect us to do anywhere near as well as we did.

We were grinding for the RLRS play-ins when we found out that fruity had joined PSG, and that was a huge shock for us.

Not too long after that, I started trying out with Tadpole and Ronaky on Triple Trouble. We played some scrims and eventually I decided to go for it. It was a hectic couple of weeks, and to be honest it went by in a flash. Our first big tournament as a team was playing in The Play.

Once we started, we knew that there was no stopping us.

Even with that victory, we still weren’t confident in reaching the RLCS Promotion Tournament. We were expecting Top 4, but the competition was stacked during that season.

Our mindset for League Play was one series at a time. Once we beat Method we knew that only Copenhagen Flames stood between us and the Promotion Tournament. Around that time we also joined Red Reserve and were extremely happy playing under them. I met a number of very good friends who were staff at the time, and I’m still friends with them a year on.

Getting promoted was absolutely surreal. Personally, the experience was only second to winning WSOE, but once again I was rendered speechless once the ball hit the floor.

There was a lot of screaming, but absolutely no English whatsoever. I remember having no idea what to do, so I just looked at my monitor while eating grapes for nearly an hour after the series had finished.

We had no idea about the roster shuffle that was about to unfold.

It was also around this time that Red Reserve shut down. We were all incredibly sad to see it happen, and the circumstances were especially strange because they thrust us from salary to orgless in a very short space of time through no fault of our own.

After the qualifiers for WSOE, Yukeo left FlipSid3 Tactics to join Dignitas. Miztik and kuxir approached me almost immediately about playing the event with them. The move was initially just a temporary one, although that all changed once we ended up winning the whole thing.

I decided to join the roster permanently, although I never actually signed a contract with FlipSid3 as miztik and kuxir left the org shortly after.

The first half of the season was quite a bit of a let-down, to be honest. I missed the opening game while I was on holiday, and we struggled to find a foothold in the league.

We slowly started to improve throughout League Play, but in our last series we came up against Dignitas, who had had a very similar season. Unfortunately, they were the better side on the day and so we finished in the bottom two.

It was another tough loss to take, and it was harrowing to think that my RLCS career had the chance to be over just as quick as it had started. However, all that did was motivate me to grind hard in the two weeks before the Promotion Tournament, and so heading into it we were as strong as possible.

Losing to Complexity was scary but still, we knew that we were capable of making it in the end and we pulled off the two wins necessary to keep our RLCS spot.

We knew that a change was needed. It was decided pretty early on that miztik was the one who was going to be replaced. I’m not sure why, but kuxir trusted my decision making, and so when I got back from DreamHack Dallas after playing with Tigreee and al0t I suggested that we tried al0t out.

Our strong performance in Valencia solidified him in our eyes. From there on we knew exactly who we wanted. Mousesports were also incredible with their loyalty towards al0t, which helped kuxir and I know which org we wanted to sign with. As soon as they did rock up with an offer, it was the one that we wanted to sign.

Although we were happy with our semi-final run in Valencia, we weren’t quite as pleased with our performances at the Rocket League Summit and at DreamHack Montreal. Summit was simply a poor performance on our part, but that was probably down to me simply because I didn’t take the tournament aspect of the event as seriously in terms of preparation.

As for Montreal, I’m happy with how we played but I feel like we got a bit unlucky and I think we could’ve gone a lot further had a couple of tiny things fallen our way. I think that Valencia is indicative of where we are as a team right now, and I’m incredibly confident in this team.

I’m incredibly excited about the future of Rocket League, I think the Olympics is a great thing and I can’t wait to see how that works out. Epic acquiring Psyonix makes me think that they have big plans which, fingers crossed, are good ones too.

As for RLCS, it’s going to be incredible. Making it to LAN has always been a dream of mine so hopefully that becomes a reality this time around.

My one motivation in life for as long as I can remember is to be the best at something.

Now that I’m beginning to edge closer and closer to that goal, as long as there is a single player who is better than me then they will motivate me to get better. My family has been extremely supportive and accommodating throughout my journey as a Rocket League player and I can’t thank them enough for all of their support.

Rising to the top in such a short amount of time was a huge surprise to me, and I hope that I can restart my rise to the top once RLCS starts. At the end of the day, I really just want to win.

My journey is nowhere near over, I’m barely hitting the spring of my career.

Image Credit: Joe Brady/Gfinity, WSOE, Stephanie Lindgren/Dreamhack

Ben Hurst assisted with the creation of this article

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