Changing Your Stripes

Zdravets Galabov
I was just a solo queue player when I joined the Unicorns of Love, they were my first ever competitive team.

UOL wasn’t a well-known organization or anything, just a Go4Lol team at that time. When Sheepy first asked me to play with them, he didn’t even tell me which role he wanted me in, so I started out as our mid laner, despite only being able to play Orianna and Lux.

I would casually switch to support from time to time to play either Blitzcrank or Thresh alongside Vardags, but after a few weeks of playing together, the team’s starting support went missing. I decided to try and lock myself in as the replacement and have xodiaz – known then as Kubu – take mid lane off my hands.

The guys knew that I played a lot of support in high elo so were happy to give me a tryout – they liked my play and I became the permanent support for the Unicorns of Love.

I only have good memories of my time at Unicorns of Love. One of my favourites moments was that crazy back-and-forth game against Fnatic in 2015, during their Huni/ReignOver era. We had Kikis in the jungle, Vizicsacsi top lane, Vardags as AD carry and PowerOfEvil in the mid lane.

We had made a name for ourselves playing with crazy team-compositions, we all had crazy ideas. Although we maybe weren’t as good mechanically as other teams, even against the odds we went in every challenge as a team, we’d give it our best and if it failed… well, who the fuck cares?

In that game against Fnatic – who were heavy favourites – we drafted a comp with Cassiopeia and Yorick, the strategy being ‘just do as much damage as you can before you die’… we won that game somehow!

I probably had the most comfortable time of my career playing with Veritas in bot lane. Our best moment together was IEM Oakland, where we somehow won it all against Flash Wolves in the finals – I’ll never forget that moment. I hope people recognize how good Veritas is because he’s really underrated in Korea right now and it saddens me.

There was a point where I thought I would never leave the Unicorns, that they’d be my team for life, but it reached a point where I felt like I couldn’t achieve anything more with them – I didn’t want to have to find new players and rebuild the team from scratch again with Csacsi and Sheepy. During the two weeks we had to prepare for the Summer Split playoffs, I told all the guys: “If we can’t make Worlds, I think I will be leaving the team.”

It was do or die and we didn’t make it, again. It was disappointing for everyone, even Csacsi and Xerxe couldn’t deal with it and went their separate ways. Everyone knew where I stood heading into those matches so my exit didn’t come as a surprise.

Throughout my time at the Unicorns of Love, I had always admired Rekkles. He just seemed kind of immortal whenever I played against him, I remember thinking to myself: “Damn, Martin is too good!” as I struggled on stage against him because his defence mechanisms were too good.

It was a style of play that I liked and even though he maybe wasn’t as good at playing aggressively or proactively, he has always been a player that just really hard to lock down and kill. We’ve been friends for a while and the moment I announced free agency, he sent me a message to ask me if I wanted to join Fnatic – I saw no reason why not.

I definitely don’t regret the decision to join Fnatic – I now have the chance to work alongside so many great people: Joey, Caps, Broxah, Martin and sOAZ – I’ve no doubt that I made the right career choice. I really appreciate all the fans who’ve been behind me and the team, I hope we can reward their support with first place in Copenhagen.

I may have switched teams, but I’ll always be the same crazy guy that played for the Unicorns of Love; I’ll always be that player.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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