I could have played in the EU LCS with Giants Gaming in 2017. I received LCS offers after my first split with Schalke 04 Esports in the Challenger Series. But importantly, none of these options presented me with the same potential for success that I have here at Schalke.
I was never in a rush to play in the EU LCS, I knew it was only a matter of time. That’s why I turned down the chance to re-sign with Giants for the 2017 Spring Split – despite having earned promotion with them the previous split – I didn’t want to join the EU LCS until I could do it as part of a team with the potential to be the very best.
I felt that joining Schalke 04 Esports provided a better opportunity for me to grow and improve as much as possible; both splits last year were very important for my development.
In spring, I learned a lot about the basics of the game and what it’s like to be a dominant team; we were having a great time up until the series against Misfits Academy. Although finishing the Spring Split the way we did felt very disappointing, it shaped the way I now approach the game.
It was an important lesson and I knew I could apply it in the summer, helping my teammates to realize what’s important in practice.
During the break between Spring and Summer Splits, I had the opportunity to join G2 Esports for the Mid-Season Invitational in Brazil. By that point, I was already talking a lot with Perkz and for the event, G2 needed a sub; it was as simple as him contacting me and asking me if I want to join them.
I was quite surprised by the offer initially, but also really excited that I was going to get the chance to see first hand how the ‘Kings of Europe’ work and play. The personal bonus for me was that I could watch closely how Zven and Mithy played and apply it to help me with my own gameplay.
I didn’t really have any responsibilities as such; I wasn’t there to contest Zven’s spot. Importantly though, I learned a great deal – not just about the game – but also, about what it takes to be a top team.
Not that I needed any more motivation to compete at the highest level, but even being a tiny part of G2 Esports MSI campaign just added further fuel to the fire. I returned to Schalke ready to face the Summer Split; ready to apply everything I had learned from G2 within my own team.
It saddened me to see some of my teammates leave, especially Vander. I had really enjoyed playing with him and he had taught me a lot, both inside and outside of the game.
I still trusted the coaching staff to make the right decisions for the team and I felt their trust in me as we worked to rebuild the roster. Even though the new players we recruited were considered much weaker than our lineup from spring, the effort to play as a team would pay off in the end.
Promotion at the end of the Summer Split felt even better after the personal issues and struggles we had fought through that year.
My relationship with Vander is different now. When we first started playing together, it was very ‘one-way’, but now we’re at the point where, I’m still learning from him, but I’ve reached a level where I can help him to improve too.
I felt really sad to miss out on the first game of the split because after everything that happened in 2017, sharing that moment with my teammates would have been very special.
Right now, we are experiencing some issues as a team that is making it hard for us to show the full strength of our roster. There is definitely still a chance for us to succeed if we can fix these problems.
Schalke has made a big effort to make everyone on the esports team feel included, to feel like part of the culture of the club and to understand what it means to be part of the club.
I will focus every day to improve and hopefully, success will follow. My goal will always be the same and that is to be the best version of myself I can possibly be; Schalke 04 Esports is the best place for me to achieve that.
Image Credit: Schalke 04 Esports & Riot Games