The first Oceanic import in the LEC – I’m quite proud of that.
My goal was always to play and compete at the highest level that I could. It’s a drive that I’ve had in me for much longer than I’ve played League of Legends.
Before video games, my passion was soccer (or football, for the Europeans!). My dad really wanted me to be good at it, but despite my best efforts, I just wasn’t that good.
My drive didn’t die with soccer, it simply carried over to League of Legends when I discovered the game.
I was still in high school back then, working a part-time job and trying to do my certificates. As with most people, I started by playing with friends, but that ambition to climb the ranks kicked in pretty fast.
Since then I’ve always been highly ranked on the OCE ladder. The only problem came up when I tried to get into professional play – I was under the age cap. Rich Gang, who had just made it from the Oceanic Challenger Series to the OPL, were the only ones to make me an offer.
I certainly didn’t expect things to pan out the way they did. The team was kicked out of the league. Nobody expected it to go down that way.
The guys were super nice at first; we’d watch movies together and chat on Teamspeak. It really felt like a team. But I guess they didn’t care that much in the end. Most of them quit the season after Rich Gang went down.
In the middle of it all, I legitimately just wanted to play, and I was lucky that Avant Garde picked me up the following season. That was the start of my international appearances.
The very first one came in 2017 when I went with Dire Wolves to the mid-season invitational. Unfortunately, we had a really poor read on the meta, and it reflected poorly on us. We actually thought we’d do quite well, but we got stuffed on.
Worlds wasn’t quite as bad. I put a lot of work in to make sure I didn’t disappoint again. Although we didn’t manage to beat Cloud9, I remember feeling good about that game. Solo killing Sneaky and Smoothie as Karma was something to remember.
Alas, I was gone from the team after that season, and we didn’t end on good terms.
I joined Chiefs with the hope of continuing to advance to international events, but I couldn’t even beat my old team domestically.
The thing about the Oceanic region is that you don’t get opportunities when you don’t win a wild-card region, like it’s you don’t have any opportunities. Nobody will be scouting someone who finished second in the OPL.
We have fewer resources in Oceania, and it’s hard to compete full time. If you want to have an impact, you have to win and try to get to the group stage of Worlds, but that is such a difficult target.
You’ll never be the favourite when battling against a third seed from a major region. Their competitive environment is simply better than ours ever had been.
It’s challenging to even get scrims against major region teams because they don’t see us as worthwhile practice most of the time. In 2019 we were lucky that Splyce gave us the chance, and we showed them that it was a good choice.
Initially, we scrimmed a lot of the European regional teams. It was a bit of an eye-opener for me because I really felt like I was smurfing against them. Manhandling players that were on the cusp of getting into the LEC.
Guilhoto happened to be watching one of the scrims, and that’s what led to Origen getting in touch with the Mammoth management to show official interest in me. This was before I’d even played on stage. It certainly added some extra pressure to the upcoming matches.
Being scouted by an LEC team isn’t something that happens every day. I threw my full effort into that couple of weeks. Challenger in solo queue, full effort in scrims, and trying to improve whatever I could in that short of a timeframe.
Despite the work we all put in, it ended up being a disappointing finish. Our performance was positive, but we missed out on qualification in the three-way tiebreaker with Clutch Gaming and Unicorns of Love.
I won’t lie – I am delighted to join Origen – but there is a slight sadness that everyone went their own way after such a promising performance. The good part is that most of my old teammates went onto North American Academy teams. They also get a chance to fight for a spot in a major region.
But this is about my story, they’ll create their own.
Right now, my friends and family are on the other side of the world, in a completely different timezone. When they wake up, I’m heading to bed. We talk, but it’s difficult.
It means that my mind is almost 100% occupied by League of Legends and the LEC.
I’m obsessed with the game, and Origen has given me all the resources I need to work on being the best player I can be.
I’m not here to cash-in. It’s not a vacation. I mentioned before that I’m proud of being here, but now I have to represent my home region in the best way that I can. Even if a lot of people doubt me. Don’t think I haven’t noticed those comments.
“What a budget support”
“This is pointless, they should have just picked up a regional European player”
“Why get an Oceanic Support player who’s never done anything internationally?”
I’ll show you why.
Photo Credit: Riot Games
Adel Chouadria assisted with the creation of this article