Creativity has always been one of my strengths.
Whenever Riot Games release a new champion, or I notice that an off-meta pick could work, I often spam games on it and practice it extensively. That allows me to develop a good sense of what works, and how it works.
When the meta gets stale and you see the same champions over and over, I often think: there must be something that nobody thought about that counters those champions. Otherwise, it would be boring to play the game.
For example, when Sylas was released, I knew he was a good jungler and that I should practice him, even though he was stronger in the mid lane. The same applies to Qiyana, which I practiced extensively before picking it for the first time.
Half the time, I succeed in finding something, and I show it to my teammates and my coaches. When they rule that it’s good, I use the pick on the stage.
Because of that, some picks in our drafts become more powerful as we can flex them in the jungle—look at Qiyana, again, as an example. If the enemy team counters our initial pick, assuming that Qiyana goes mid, I take the bullet for the team and play it.
Other times, there are picks specifically for the jungle that people undervalue, but they work so well into the meta that they should be picked.
With Splyce, the Trundle pick I used to counter the tank meta spread worldwide a week or so after I picked it. I still consider it my greatest creation to date, alongside Ivern when I was with the Unicorns of Love, since they stayed until they were nerfed months later.
But that alone doesn’t make a great player, and I had to grow. Thanks to a lot of people in Splyce, I grew as a player and as a person. The structure the organization built is as solid as ever.
We have lots of people in the coaching staff for the main team and the academy with a lot of knowledge to spare.
In the spring split, with all the roster changes that happened, we needed to have a good basis for our playstyle, and they guided us. We were a new team, but we clicked quickly.
However, over time, we players became more talkative as we grew more comfortable doing that, becoming more active during game reviews. With the coaches doing their part, we had to do ours as well to progress as fast as we should.
It’s more impactful to hear from a player when misplays happen, because they’re the ones playing with you on stage. After hearing your coaches tell you about mistakes so many times, you grow too accustomed to it; in contrast, hearing it from a player adds that bit of shock value.
At times, in the past at least, we would forget what we learned in previous weeks, and we would be inconsistent. Learning mid-bot play for three weeks, then switching to a mid-top approach as the meta demands for three more weeks, we would forget the stuff we learned previously when the meta swung back to mid-bot.
But we’ve become better at handling that. Sometimes, defeats also help set us straight back into a full focus.
At some point, we had two military guys helping us with communication. Although we didn’t have too much time knowing one another, their presence during scrims allowed us to learn more about filtering distractions—like the crowds cheering.
Their experiences on the battlefield, actually hearing people getting shot, and having to communicate through it and stay calm was so crazy. We as players get nervous before games, but hearing about their experiences was eye-opening. Hearing their perspectives was really impactful.
But to be a good player, practice and coaching isn’t the only thing you need. A pro player’s life is not all about spamming games and focusing solely on the game.
Our nutritionist, who also helps us stay fit at the gym and gave us stretching exercises to do before games to prevent injuries.
You need to take care of your body and your mind outside of it to perform. Especially your mind: the game is not being played on-stage, but in your own mind. The way you see yourself going into the game and your confidence play a huge role.
Whenever things go south in-game, I can always fall back on the work that was done before. I know all too well how games can be lost due to a bad mental spiral after making a single bad play.
When I joined the league, this creativity was my greatest strength, but I developed other aspects of my game since then, my early-game pathing and my communication most of all. At the moment, I consider communication to be my main asset.
Thanks to clear comms, I know what my laners need to succeed, and I adapt on-the-fly to be there for them. In the current lane-reliant meta, it’s even more important that I get them ahead.
My carries are like my babies; I need to make sure they have food, water, and everything else they need. With that in mind, I hope to do well enough to nurture them at Worlds.
Either way, I am proud of what I have become, and I would improve even more in time. Even then, I’m not content with just being good, if I can be better. The road keeps going.
Image Credit: Riot Games
Adel Chouadria assisted in the creation of this article