Hello. I normally would not write about CLG as I have left the scene but both Link and Doublelift pretty much went into the negative PR zone and all is lost, so I might as well enlighten long-time CLG fans and League of Legends fans alike, but mostly so I can offer an outside view. I have always wanted to do a tell-all but felt no need because it doesn’t really benefit anyone but myself by letting the masses of ignorant fans know what went on to transform CLG into what it is today. I want to preface this by saying that I consider every one that has ever been a part of CLG as my life-long friends, and I have nothing but love for the organization that gave me the best three years of my life.
This is going to be a long post, and it will be include most of the history of CLG as well as the inner workings of CLG. I might be ranting from time to time. However, this is more of an overall look from my thoughts of playing League of Legends. I will be going into detail different time periods and random thoughts before delving into characteristics and why rosters worked and why rosters did not. I am going to try to be as objective and transparent as possible without throwing personal attacks. Some of these time periods will be irrelevant as most of the readers are new fans who know nothing about Season 1 or pre-season, but I love to think about the past.
I’m going to start by listing impactful CLG players and my take on their career with CLG. Some will be long and some short, I will omit some less impactful players. Let me repeat that these views are from my perspective and are reflected as such.
Bigfatjiji – I respect jiji the most out of any CLG player. He is the only player to have really taught me anything about macro-style play. He is also one of the very few players I would have said was legitimately “good”. He is also the most level headed person that has ever joined the roster as he has always tried to keep the peace despite potentially tilting people by insulting them in jiji speak at the same time (“he’s retarded that’s just the way he is!”). Initially, jiji was considered one of the best players in the world. While I am not 100% sure about how different his laning phase was, I knew for a fact that comparatively to other laners jiji was able to do very well. The team still had confidence in his playstyle until IEM Guangzhou when he died 3x to Misaya + Jungler and lost the game through laning phase alone. The backlash from the community was a precedent, but the most detrimental effect was team confidence in jiji. Confidence faltered, and any time jiji would fail in lane in some way the blame was focused until eventually jiji became mostly a reactionary laner by nature. Team fault #1. This is my take on how things evolved, maybe jiji has a different take, but I don’t really see many other reasons. The only other reasons that could have affected jiji’s play was the adoption of smartcast (I believe this really hurt his skillshots) and girlfriend (always a factor). After Guangzhou, jiji was never a dominant mid laner again and worked with Saint to become proactive to control objectives on the map. The mentality of being unable to be a very aggressive mid laner stuck with the team, and is eventually what broke the camel’s back when we replaced jiji with Link. Ultimately, jiji’s CS counts were never consistently high and the team felt that he had commitment issues. The upgrade from Link over jiji was never really a true upgrade when all was said and done. Jiji was obviously much better at team fights and far ahead in terms of understanding the game at the time, but the laning phase became really important to the team as we felt that our mid was always behind for the greater part of a year, so we went with Link. Afterwards, CLG made one of their “CLG” roster moments and put jiji in the jungle while Link was mid lane. Jiji’s jungling wasn’t terrible, but he had no communication with the team. The fault was with both jiji and the laners, it was a team problem, but I do place the blame moreso on the solo laners. Doublelift’s post points this very important problem out: CLG SOLO LANERS DO NOT TALK TO THE JUNGLER. Outside of global ultimates with Nocturne, cooperation with the jungler was minimal from the solo laners. Jiji was not a superstar jungler, but since he was legitimately a good player (rare) he was able to be decent at it. This line up was actually decent and with time could have shined as I believe it was the best mix of players (will comment later), but management decided that because we failed at playoffs (THE LEGACY CONTINUES, WE SET THE PRECEDENT) to shuffle the roster again.
TL;dr: Jiji was a very good player up until the team lost confidence in him (and Jiji adopting smartcast for the wrong reasons), which in turn snowballed him to lose confidence in himself. Jiji became mostly a reactionary laner, and team resentment over time led him to being replaced.
Hotshot – Hotshot is probably the most underrated player in CLG history. He is also a genuinely great guy. He is the first player to abuse teleport. He also loved splitpushing as I can remember countless games where the enemy team sent multiple people to take down Hotshot as CLG took objectives. Hotshot’s top lane style was an extreme of passive farming, one that would fit the current meta due to respect of the enemy jungler. During the time we played however, the respect he had was way too much and because of it Hotshot lost laning presence in some lanes he shouldn’t have. The perfect way to put this is that if Hotshot laned against a top lane god, he would do pretty well. The difference is that if Hotshot laned against a weak top laner, he would also just do “pretty well” versus smashing him or taking complete control of the game outside of Nidalee/Udyr. He began to have a reputation as a push over, even though teams never really took advantage of him. As usual, any time mistakes were made, CLG would handle the improvement aspect by telling the players what they did wrong. Hotshot is the type of person to not be able to handle criticism on the spot and he becomes hyper defensive, which when combined with how I used to be, the environment becomes not as productive as I am trying to make him accept the wrong then and there. These incidents scar a player, and I believe that Hotshot eventually took the path of least resistance and began playing more passive top to minimize potential disasters in and out of game. Team fault #2. As a player, Hotshot was notorious for his Nidalee, Chogath, and Malphite. Once upon a time, he played Jax and Irelia. Somewhere down the line, Hotshot forgot he played Jax and Irelia, and was forever stuck with the same pool of champions outside of the addition of Phoenix Udyr. There really isn’t much more to say about his top lane other than the fact that the team was very limited with team comps based on what we could and couldn’t run, which is a big reason for why we tried Hotshot in the jungle. I don’t think Hotshot’s jungling was very strong. The choice of champions and game impact was lower than most, and the fact that our solo laners were mostly behind definitely sealed the deal on Hotshot becoming successful. Mid was constantly behind and Top lane would constantly be behind even after getting ahead from a gank early game, so Hotshot’s solution was to pass wards around the map and do everything he could as a support jungler. Eventually, Hotshot would return to top lane where most of the team was satisfied with his performance. Hotshot eventually stepped down due to pent up resentment issues conflicting with team interest, resulting in the worst precedent in CLG’s history: the necessity of retaining brand superior brand image.
TL;dr Hotshot was a passive laner who could still play at the same pace versus much better top laners. Hotshot was hard to work with as he conflicted directly with me which did not help the atmosphere.
Saintvicious – Saint is a really funny guy. When I first met Saint, he told me he was going to Med School and that he worked at a fitness club for like $60/hr as a personal trainer. And that certain girls he chatted up etc etc etc (hehe). Eventually I found out that Saint was just a pathological liar. Nothing against the guy, just after the previous examples I could never really trust any of the stories he told us but I don’t hold it against him at all because that was about par for the online community at the time. I believe Saint mostly stopped with the bullshit as he never believed to become a public figure. Saint was a good jungler in his time, but what made his career shine was that he was the perfect jungler that CLG needed, and still needs. Saint was a leader and took charge of his own path. Due to his incredible work ethic, we all trusted in Saint and knew that he was doing what needed to be done. CLG communication from solo lanes has always been terrible (outside of Hotshot), but Saint was the only jungler proactive enough to work on the communication with jiji and also respond to Hotshot’s calls. His biggest weakness as a player was initiating, which is why we largely relied on Hotshot for initiations. The shining examples would be when CLG, known to give up all uncontestable dragons, sat behind dragon as 5. Saint on Amumu, bandaged Dragon and flashes forward to ultimate 5 people. All of us on the other side of Dragon are just dumbfounded because half of us don’t have flash and Saint didn’t say anything except I’m going in as he bandaged in. Outside of that weakness, Saint was also hard to work with as a teammate. Mostly the negative interactions were between Saint and Hotshot as I think Saint did not respect Hotshot as a player during that time period. I felt that this dynamic was very unhealthy as the tension between Saint and Hotshot was very high, and I felt that in a team environment that was not supposed to exist. Some of this negativity spilled over to Double and I, and because of it we decided to replace Saint.
Tl;dr Saint was the best jungler CLG ever had as his personality and playstyle was the right fit towards the communication issues that has historically plagued CLG. With the jungle prowess came an increasingly toxic environment, which eventually collapsed upon itself.
Doublelift – As a player, Doublelift is someone who can click accurately very fast. That is pretty much the most accurate summary of Doublelift that I can give you. When I played with Doublelift, he was basically a tool that you micromanaged, either in lane or in game. I taught him everything you need to know about laning, and then some. Eventually, he became an extension of myself (in lane at least), which was a very good thing. I tried to teach Double how to be more impactful game wise but it is very hard to get through to his head. The best example that I remember is after taking a tower early game, Double (Caitlyn) farmed wraiths and wolves on cooldown because it was “impossible to take mid tower versus an orianna” 3v1 as she had “wave clear”. Despite the fact that every team rotates mid to pressure towers no matter who their mid lane is due to virtue of numbers. Because of me, Double is now a very strong laner, but I think that is where his identity ends. Double’s view on the game and lanes is probably the single most baffling thing about him. His opinions at times are not justified in the slightest, and can change completely based on random whims. There really isn’t much more to say about Double from my perspective because with my time on CLG Double was always under my wing and that never changed in my perspective, but from his it obviously did.
Tl;dr I taught Doublelift how to lane; could not teach him how to play the game
Voyboy – Voyboy was a very nice guy. The team definitely should have treated him nicer to allow him room to grow as a player on CLG, but we were less understanding of the jungle interactions of Hotshot and Voy at the time. The biggest problem with Voyboy was that he always wanted to run crazy top laners that were literally picked just to be hip. Innovation is something I always want to promote, but only if it is actually feasible. Voyboy’s team fighting wasn’t the strongest and at times he would risk everything in his lane for nothing. Those were his weaknesses, but he was always a good player. CLG mentality and environment simply stopped him from growing.
Link – Link is relatively versatile and is one of the few players to actually think outside of the box. I believe that the biggest weakness for Link comes from communication issues which snowball into a much larger issue for CLG. I will go into this when I discuss certain roster strengths/weaknesses in another section. Outside of questionable communication, I felt that Link always felt the need to play more flashy champions that were not his forte at the time. This is a catch 22 in itself as the team did not have confidence in link to play assassins and in turn Link was not confident enough in himself to run the assassins even though the team said if you’re confident we will do it. Link’s worth ethic was also questionable as he never practiced the mid laners he wanted to play in solo queue. Sadly, not many CLG members were playing solo queue at the time. I can’t speak for the amount of responsibilities that Link had when I was off the team, but I have a feeling it is similar to how I felt in my earlier years with CLG. Team fault #3.
Aphro – I believe that Aphro is a good player. He is able to initiate very well and play lane very well, although in the past he did not respect the jungler as much as he should have. As a teammate, Aphro does not voice his concerns on a day-day basis, but only when shit hits the fan. He is guy you listen to when he speaks up because he doesn’t speak much.
Nien – Nien was a player with great work ethic and good attitude. The only problem with Nien was that he did somewhat have the Voyboy effect to where he wanted to play carries in the top lane even when they did not make sense. Outside of that, I can’t really fault Nien for anything because he did everything he could as a first time top laner for CLG. He played very well with no prior experience in a high pressure environment
Myself – In the beginning, I was a god because I played the game non-stop. I could play anything and everything, and beat everyone. I was the best ADC by a wide margin until I had to start duo laning. As the meta changed, my ADC ability decreased as I was too used to playing hypercarries in team compositions with only two threats and also having more farm, so at times I would be too passive in teamfights. Around this time, I switched to support, and made everyone become more of a man in the bottom lane as I taught everyone we played against how to play lane. Sadly, it is around this time that my feelings for the game took a very strange turn. I had become complacent and had become engrossed in my own personal relationships instead. Because of this, I stopped playing the game. Saint and Scarra had expressed sentiments in the past where they have said that they never see Chauster play solo queue, as I never did. I simply stopped! I used Double’s excuse that solo queue wasn’t similar to real games and that it had no carryover, even though I knew better. I just pretended to agree so I could do my own thing. Luckily playing support was not very mechanically intensive and even during my prime as a S2 support I was not playing the game as much as I should have, I was simply riding the wave with my slowly declining skills. One of my favorite memories was doing well at MLG Anaheim with XHazard as our ringer, we managed to get second place with an incredibly inexperienced top laner. Doublelift and I attributed our victory to spamming Diablo 3 the weeks previous to the tournament.
Players do not worsen with age in a game like League of Legends where the mechanical skill cap is so incredibly low. People simply lose motivation/interest to keep up their skills. After S2 worlds, I kept up with my minimal playtime with League of Legends. I only really played during scrims, and my mechanical skills, champion knowledge, as well as game knowledge decreased over time. Game knowledge doesn’t truly decrease, but in the moment decisions (in-game decisions) are a result of practice and my head no longer functioned as a well-practiced League of Legends machine.
Some of you may be surprised by how small the sections were on Link, Aphro, and Double were, but there really isn’t much to say because I was on the team at the time and the dynamic was swayed very heavily by me. Anyways, starting from the beginning, I always approached improving team play by calling out mistakes and having the teammate understand their errors so we could fix the play. I took this upon myself as we had no coaching staff and thought to myself if I didn’t do it, who would? Was I going to let Hotshot continually split push and die when we had no map control and he blamed the team? No, I wasn’t going to let Hotshot influence the team incorrectly in that you can split push when your team is not in position to pressure the map and in position to take an objective. I would fight him, then and there. This gives you an idea of how the CLG environment was when Hotshot and I were together, we would constantly butt heads because he would make a mistake and I would have to check him. Except that Hotshot could not accept criticism right after the fact and I would not accept the fact that he couldn’t accept criticism… so there were many circular arguments. I checked every one and everyone checked me, as far as I knew I treated everyone as an equal. No one really had problems because mostly everyone knew how to accept criticism and knew when they were wrong. The problem is that inherently a team member should never be in a position like me to constantly try to provide criticism to help the team grow. This is an incredibly unhealthy practice that has no sustainability, which is no surprise that resentment can manifest. I believe I became a blanket that smothered the environment in terms of being proactive. Despite the fact that I was good friends with everyone, (I consider Double my best friend from my League years even though we never talk anymore simply because we bonded so much over the course of being together as a team), no one ever approached me to talk about whether or not they wanted to speak up or felt bad. I believe new members were defaulted to having no voice on the team simply because of my presence. By default, Double could never have a say in macro decisions because he had proven in my mind that he was incapable. Link and Aphro also came in respecting me extremely highly. No one was able to stand up to the guy that basically functioned as both the infrastructure and a key team member for multiple years. I knew this was the case as well, which is why I welcomed the opportunity for Montecristo to become our coach. I didn’t care that he wasn’t at the house; I just wanted an external voice that could hopefully break through the players skulls to give them a chance at learning where I failed to teach them. Maybe the burden of teaching proper lane swaps and going back to the basics would help the team. However, it would be incredibly silly and ignorant for any spectator to believe for a second that Montecristo or any other analyst to be more knowledgeable about the game then an actual player who has played competitively for years. With Monte’s help, the team actually had an “official” direction as he was the first support staff we have ever had. Despite different levels of respect towards Monte, nothing mattered as long as we were on a systematic path to improving. All seemed OK until until we lost to TSM in playoffs. Sona ult! In retrospect I should not have played Sona as I did not practice her at all, but I simply picked her to deny Xpecial. Pick/ban was a problem of course. By this time my mechanics had deteriorated further, and with it some of the team’s faith in me, and during the break I was informed that there were tryouts for my spot as support. And if there were no good replacements I would be taking a salary reduction. Granted my mechanics had rusted up over time, I knew I was still the glue that held the team together, and I knew that with some motivation I could easily become great at any role, but I could not stand for any of this shit. Kelby approached me after the tryouts and informed me that I could join the team as tryouts had failed (I believe nrated tried out and one of the terms was that his GF MUST live in the house which was a no go as CLG has learned not to trust GFs in their short life as an organization). I decided to quit League as I felt betrayed and knew that job security was not a thing. They pulled the Link on me but I decided not to rejoin.
Tl;dr I was a god. At the same time, I was the backbone of the infrastructure towards improving. Over time, I lost motivation and lost my skills as I stopped playing while retaining the same status in the infrastructure which made the team view me unfavorably as I was no longer playing well. I held a strange dynamic in the team environment where I held them together yet held them down at the same time.
Kelby – CLG’s beloved everything. Kelby managed everything for CLG, from team mom to finding sponsors to being just overall a great guy. The problem with Kelby was that he was a CLG fan and a good person, to the extent that he never imposed rules or policies to keep the players in check. Kelby definitely knew better as he is a very intelligent person, but never overstepped because he could not bring himself to do so.
Matt – assistant GM, not much to say except he is a nice guy and cheered us on in the background.
Montecristo – CLG’s first coach. I respected Monte because he was very articulate and seemed to be mostly logical about his approach to the game. I liked that he brought it back to the basics and asked very simple questions that sometimes the team would lose sight of in team games simply due to the fact that nerves are real and affect LAN play traumatically. As far as game knowledge is concerned, the limitations of Monte became apparent through increased interaction with him. Players understand that coaches are simply guides who parrot what they see and utilize logic and common sense to dictate what is what, but sometimes lose the bigger picture due to intricacies of the game only professional players can comment about. Through continued feedback with professional players, coaches can paint a better picture. I always respected Monte as a coach because he seemed to want the best for us and tried to give his all over a Skype call. I don’t agree with Link’s version of telling this tale because from what I remember Link was one of the guys messing around during them Skype calls 8D
Rosters (only main relevant ones)
I never fully believed in this roster. Elementz was a pickup simply to hurt TSM and Kobe was limited in his champion pool. This team functioned with jiji and me calling the shots. We would tell Kobe when to initiate and would control the pace of the game. As the game was so early, there isn’t many specific things to comment about because even with this roster we were winning games simply due to outlaning the opponent.
I believe this is the actual golden age of CLG. This is probably the most personality packed team in all of League history, not to mention the best CLG version. Rather than ganking bottom lane like CLG does now, Double and I held out on our own and played 2v2 and 2v3 on an island as we had not yet reached our laning potential yet. We also did not trust Saint to know how to gank bottom lane as he had failed multiple times. We left Saint to do his own thing unless we truly needed help to base. This allowed for Saint to pressure mid as well as aid top lane. Saint always managed to get farmed, and Jiji and Hotshot almost always did their job. Jiji was usually behind on CS, but he rarely ever gave kills away. If enemy mid was roaming, he would notify everyone of what we needed to know so it wasn’t a huge deal. If all three lanes just do their job, you win the game. This was made possible through Saint’s ability to take charge and lead the early-mid game in his own way. Future junglers never had the same personality as Saint, and never flourished in CLG’s environment of no communication.
Voy was used to playing top lane carries through snowballing the lane with heavy jungle interaction. Hotshot tried to do this early, but realized that even with the early lead sometimes Voy would throw it away through reckless deaths. A phrase that became common to the team was “whoops, I’m dead”. The phrase was so common that we would mock Voy because we thought it was funny and Voy told us not to because he didn’t want it to become a thing. 8D Hotshot’s style of jungling always left him starved of gold and he never really carried from the jungle. The difference between him and Saint was that Saint would be decisive and also become farmed. Outside of that, Jiji continued to be behind in lane consistently. By this point, Double and I had reached critical mass and could outlane anyone in the world 2v2 by a large margin. This was also where I believe Double’s mentality was heavily influenced towards the solo laners being unable to carry the game. As top and mid could not consistently perform, Double and I took it upon ourselves to try to just smash lane and snowball. We were not very effective however as we did not have proper jungle synergy. At S2 Worlds, better teams were able to capitalize on 2v3ing us bottom side while our solo lanes would just lose.
I was jungling in this line-up and Aphro was playing support. I really liked this line-up as I was able to do what I wanted as a jungler. I was actually looked up to as a strong jungler, and people respected me. This was short-lived as we soon replaced Jiji, which I will go into detail about below.
We actually went into LCS with this roster. By this time, I had the most difficult job of any CLG jungler to date. I had to jungle for a team that didn’t really want me to come to their lane. The biggest fallout was from working with Link in the middle lane. There was a reason that I was successful as a jungler with Jiji in the mid lane, Jiji respected me and let me do whatever I wanted to do. I would drive by middle lane to do what I felt needed to be done, sometimes to simply burn resources on enemy mid or to steal a bit of CS to get some bonus gold/exp. What changed my jungle play completely was how Link handled my jungling. One day I went to middle lane to do what I always did and Link told me not to take his CS or to come middle lane unless he asks me to. I was going to argue back but then the god himself Doublelift speaks up and says he hates it when someone steals his CS, it is very important sometimes to have that bit of gold/exp! Despite what you may think you know, I respect my teammates as equals. Two people spoke up against me, I have no reason to continue, and because of this I respected Link’s wishes from then on to let him call me if he needed help. The problem is Link never speaks up, and based on his long winded paper he is saying that he expects the jungler to be proactive when he just shot me down as a jungler. That is some heavy miscommunication. Outside of the non-existent mid-jungle synergy, the environment was pretty bad as Hotshot made a lot of bad TP plays and the team lost some faith in him. Because of these problems, we were never really ahead early game and always had to stall out for later game scenarios, which is why we favored certain team comps over others.
Me/Double/Link/Jiji/Nien + Monte
My favorite roster in previous CLG eras, mainly because I realized how much I missed Jiji from the team. Jiji was always the voice of reason and also someone who isn’t afraid to speak up. Due to my messed up part in the CLG infrastructure, everyone suffocated under me (at least that is how I feel). Jiji never felt that way as he never lived under my shadow. With a second voice on the team, and Monte’s guidance, I felt like we had the tools to be on our way to improving as a team. As I stopped playing the game, I came to a slow start at the beginning of the season with Double. Our bottom lane was not very strong as we did not practice together as much as we should have, and our top lane was new. Link still had communication problems with his jungler and Nien also did not communicate as much. Overall, this was just a very new roster that did not have much time to practice before proving themselves. I believe with a second split this iteration of the roster would have performed very well as both Jiji and I could lead the team together and at the end of the split I thought that Double and I had already become the best 2v2 laning pair already. We never got to see a second split as Jiji was seen to have commitment issues and I was not playing the game.
Thoughts on current matters (Link vs Double):
CLG’s team environment has always been a bit messy due to the lack of infrastructure. I don’t think it has been as bad as everyone else thinks. Everyone speaks up and argued because we wanted to improve as a team in the past. We all stayed friendly for the most part, but ultimately resentment is unavoidable without support staff and it affects different players in different ways. I played an enormous role of keeping the peace in CLG. I had to criticize our mistakes to improve play, which meant pointing fingers at everyone. Eventually my own play became having holes in it to the point where I no longer held the same untouchable status on the team. Once I left, I gave Link, Aphro, and Double a chance to lead the team in their own way. The rest is what you know in the words of Link vs Double. Double is right that the top side of the map never communicates, this was the case when I was on CLG. The only top laner to ever communicate effectively was Hotshot, and the only mid laner to communicate was Jiji. Link is also correct in that when you lose respect for your teammate, they are pretty much gone. There are only two players that have ever been replaced because of skill, and one was Elementz. Every other player was removed because of internal conflicts that could not be resolved/mediated. Hopefully my opinions and views over the years can paint a much clearer picture of the organization in current years. With me gone, Double now has a voice that cannot be stopped. Aphro and Link now also had a more senior role on the team, and they have utilized it through shotcalling where I have failed in the past. CLG has never had a real leader, and there still isn’t one today. There are truths to both the words Link and Double have spoken, and no one has really outright lied. If you are able to read closely between all three of these novels, you can definitely come out with the picture of CLG. I don’t disagree with Link’s actions for telling everyone his side of the story. There is nothing to lose for him and he is a TRUE CLG FAN and has nothing to do with the scene anymore. He probably feels vindicated that he is able to show the truth to the people who don’t have it and force CLG’s hand towards making the correct changes. Only time will tell. Double’s response was OK as he felt the need to correct some of Link’s claims, but honestly if someone is making a tell all it should not be on Link to point out his own errors, the community and team have already pointed them out incessantly over the past few years. Why does he have to admit to his own wrongs? You don’t have to be faultless to point out someone else’s faults.
Story mode- for the true CLG and League fans!
The beginning (boring to most):
CLG began because Hotshot wanted to win free money at WCG 2010. Hotshot approached me and bigfatjiji and asked us to form a team with him to compete at WCG 2010. I agreed because at the time me and bigfatjiji were the best players, but there was no way we could field two additional exceptional players. Bigfatjiji’s premade consisted of mainly Korean players such as Manyreason, grandjudge, Nolja, ScarletDoom, Sabertiger, a lilac, and randomly lilballz. None of these players could qualify as playing under USA for WCG. So we recruited randomly from our friend list: Kobe24. Kobe24 was decent and was a pretty funny guy. We were still missing one member, so we decided on recruiting Elementz from ReginaId’s team AoN (now known as TSM). The mentality behind recruiting Elementz was that we would force ReginaId to play with a much weaker substitute player. I’m going to skip a bunch of details but we won with our makeshift roster of 5 at WCG 2010. After a lot of success with the current line-up and various online tournaments, CLG began to decline in terms of how ahead we were in the scene. My memory actually becomes foggy here, but somehow during this time period ReginaId and Dan Dinh were both on the roster of CLG. One of the newegg tournaments showed how weak our lineup was as we almost lost two sets to a Korean premade (jiji’s remnants of former arranged team), but we managed to win by substituting ReginaId in as our mid-lane. This is around the time where I believe ReginaId severed ties with CLG knowing that building his own brand was paramount to anything else. Thus started the rivalry with CLG vs TSM.
Coming into S1 Worlds there were a few scandalous accusations made. Previous to World’s and before the rise of successful teams such as TSM, EG (Dan Dinh’s team), and RS (Voyboy), CLG had made it a note not to scrim any other team. The reason being that scrimming another team would only benefit the other team and CLG would not gain anything from it (this was my mentality and my team agreed). Although unhealthy towards the scene, I did everything I thought to preserve the team’s standing as top of the scene. However, the other teams entered into a secret alliance and began practicing scrims for hours on end with each other. While CLG streamed and played normal 5s, TSM, EG, and RS were constantly scrimming each other. Three teams were able to go to Worlds, so it is pretty easy to see where this is going. I won’t expand on any further details, but Riot caught wind of some funky action going on with the tournament brackets due to an accidental leak on stream and the brackets were changed. CLG ultimately lost to EG in the upper bracket (plagued by DDOS attacks, ugh the horror before pause function) but managed to scrape by RS in the lower bracket, securing the spot at Worlds.
I am writing about the qualifier to Worlds because this is where our current main line-up of me, bigfatjiji, HotshotGG, Elementz, and Kobe24 played. I witnessed some terrible plays from Kobe24 as he had not been playing the game much around this time. I will note some key instances of him on Alistar dying to Salce’s Swain while trying to just hold creeps mid lane and missing a kill secure bottom lane because he failed to head butt someone into a wall before pulverizing. I wrote this in unnecessary detail because I remember it fondly and I hope that Kobe reads this, it is hilarious to me (that I remember). Due to the subpar play from Kobe, we eventually came around to playing with Saintvicious (who we poached from TSM), who helped us finish the rest of the qualifiers. Due to the success with Saint, we decided to go with Saint for S1 Worlds. We helped buy Kobe’s ticket to follow along because he was still part of the team and we loved the guy.
The months before S1 Worlds, I was considered the best ADC in the world by a large margin. I was playing the game countless hours a day and have always exceled at laning. My performance began faltering when EU introduced their “meta” of play. ADC + support duo lane at all times. I never believed in this meta, and I still do not believe in the meta even through Riot has been enforcing it with items and balance changes. Anyways, after losing to second rate European teams in scrims we began to copy the Europeans. I ended up laning with Elementz, who had minimal lane presence, making it incredibly hard to CS. People talked about how my CS levels were so low when months before I set the precedent of at least 100 CS/10 min as an indicator for having decent CS. We never really practice together as a team, and ended up just yoloing at Worlds and getting the place we deserved.
Sometime after S1, IEM Guangzhou happened. This is a historical event in CLG play as it is the moment I believe that bigfatjiji lost confidence in himself. Everything was going fine until the finals when we played against WE. Annie mid coupled with GP jungle killed jiji around 2-3x in the first 10 minutes of the game. This was the first game I had ever played competitively where I felt like there was no chance of winning before the 15 minute mark. After the series, someone on the team commented that “a 1500 player would have done your job by just not dying”. From that point on, the seed of doubt was planted, and jiji began playing much more passive overall.
Hotshot began noting that Elementz made very questionable plays. Once he was on that train of thought, he never let go, and eventually we decided that Elementz was not fit to be on the team. I agreed as well as jiji, so we made Saint look completely innocent while we had to boot Elementz off the team. Tl;dr, we told Elementz he was getting kicked off the team and one minute later everyone ended the call and then everyone went to play solo queue. Elementz was just left in a Skype chat by himself, so I did him a favor and explained what I thought. At the time I duo’d with a girl and I made the comment that she was better than Elementz was in lane. Whether or not I thought it to be true, I know I was out of line and should not have said that. Elementz took a screenshot and went to the community and played the upset victim while I became known as scumbag Chauster. People began boycotting my streams and trash talking me, very fun times.
With Elementz gone, we had to recruit someone new to the team. There were no supports that I wanted to recruit that would be better than someone else on the team. Hotshot had become fond of Doublelift stating that he had good mechanics and was a great player. I was very reluctant as Doublelift tried to scrim with us before and randomly facechecked Baron as Taric as if he had 0 game sense. I didn’t really know anyone else to recruit, so Hotshot went ahead and recruited Doublelift. Saint was obviously going to stay in the jungle, and Doublelift was going to play ADC. The question was who was going to go top, mid, and support. After having laned with Elementz for so long, I knew exactly how to play a support the right way. I also felt selfish taking top or mid lane from Hotshot and jiji, because I knew that even if I was better at them in the lane that their skills on support would pale in comparison to mine. This is why I ultimately decided to play support. And thus began the joyous days of laning with Doublelift.
Teaching Doublelift how to play the game was something else. I had to push reset on the game system and start from the ground up. Level 2 power spikes, NOT CSing when the enemy has kill pressure, playing to WIN lane were all foreign concepts. A good example would be in Korea when Doublelift and I were laning against Locodoco and Madlife. Alistar Corki vs Sona Vayne (Double) and Loco’s bot lane hit level 2 first and Double on Vayne walks up to CS at level 1. Alistar combo into Corki burst, flash is down and bluepills for health as he is too chunked. Double walks back into lane and then goes for a CS at first sight and dies. Another example would be when we were behind a kill against an enemy Caitlyn as Ezreal. Ezreal can easily outduel Caitlyn with an outplay, but the mentality was that we are behind and we can’t win so we should just farm. I’m not hating on Doublelift, but I’m showing you how far he has grown as a player. Because of how far gone he was as a competitive player and the respect he had for me, he listened to me for the most part without any hesitation and eventually basically became me in lane, aka very good in lane.
OGN is where CLG ended up losing to MiG Frost. This was a milestone in CLG’s development as the team atmosphere became very toxic. Hotshot and Saint would constantly bicker and argue about the dumbest things and become far too emotional to be productive. I would also get sucked into long drawn arguments where the arguments just became circular and long winded. There were a lot of personality conflicts at play. Hotshot, one of the most genuine nice guys around, had an incredibly hard time receiving criticism in any shape or form. Generally, everyone else would receive their criticism happily and work on improving their play. Hotshot would take the criticism and deflect, prompting me to try to brute force logic down his throat to make him accept that he was wrong. At the time, I couldn’t “drop” it and be the better man. In retrospect, I learned that there are different people who learn differently than others, and it was true that the harder I tried to make Hotshot accept his faults, the farther I was pushing him away. This was one of my biggest faults as a teammate, and one I learned too late. Outside of that, Saint was becoming far too problematic to the team atmosphere. Saint was a great friend (hell I just want to play games with him now) but he was really hard to deal with in a team environment. This was seen at IEM New York when post game we had a meeting to discuss what went wrong and how to fix things. Saint excused himself to go chase tail, during one of our only important meetings as a team. The biggest problem was that Saint literally gave 0 fucks about Hotshot and his feelings, and both of them would just go at it. Also, when giving Saint criticism it always seemed like he was not receptive at all and completely deflect as well. This instilled bitterness in most of us for how Saint dealt with conflict. The difference between Saint and Hotshot was that you could actually see the change in Saint’s play concerning the criticism that was given to him. He would learn his mistakes, but in a sense not publicly admit them as if it was shameful. Jiji and Double were relatively silent around these times, where Jiji played the mom role when things got out of hand and Double was just a little baby follower hearing the parents argue. All of our differences could have been avoided had we developed good supporting staff, but the scene was too young. I became a regulator in most team discussions and became a giant part of the infrastructure, as a TEAM member, which lead to a very non-productive environment. The funniest take away from Korea invitationals was that we had 0 picks and bans drafted for one of the most important tournaments we would ever play. The day before the tournament day, jiji joked around and said “look tomorrow we’re just going to randomly play Chogath h4h4h4” and lo and behold it actually happened…
Sometime after Korea round 1, Hotshot, Double, and I decided that Saint was really toxic to the team and should go. I still remember the awkward Ventrilo conversation we had and when Saint said “you guys are still my friends”. Both me and Double choked up and had to stop talking and let Hotshot do everything. Saint was a really good player, and the last good and fitting jungler that CLG has ever had. His mentality and personality was a key factor for why CLG was always strong. Hotshot had the same feelings I did when playing ADC. He felt bitter as a top laner who had an uncooperating jungle at times, and felt like he could be a great jungler. Hotshot ended up going to the jungle and we recruited Voyboy who was supposedly the best top laner at the time. After MLG Anaheim, we went off to Korea for round 2.
The biggest take away from this Korea trip was that we were just mindlessly scrimming without trying to improve at anything specific. We all played a ton of League and felt burned out. The only person putting in incredible work ethic was Voyboy, who still streamed after scrimming for hours on end. What made things bad was that Voyboy was not performing as well as we would have hoped, and the criticism we gave him only caused him to question himself. This is a reoccurring theme that has occurred in CLG. This was also due to the fact that Voyboy was used to the jungler working with him, whereas Hotshot would constantly roam around providing vision to the map instead of specifically getting Voy ahead. Due to the lack of success at Korea (round 2), the seed of doubt (again) was planted.
After Korea, our streaming contract was on the ropes and we had to desperately make amends. We decided to forsake hardcore practice for S2 Worlds in order to honor the contract. We basically admitted defeat as our counterparts CLG.EU played a far better macro styled game than us and we would probably not be able to beat them or other international teams in standard play. Somehow with the weeks leading up to the tournament, we became very good at playing standard, being able to take games off of CLG.EU at around 50/50 or maybe 40/60 to their favor. Despite this fact, we entered the tournament resorting to level 1 gimmicks. Our “cheese” was not very practiced as CLG.EU was our exclusive scrimming partners and would always make sure that we were not successful. The strategy we employed was also only practiced on blue side as it was optimal due to more creeps being able to be utilized in the red jungle. Despite this, we managed to roll three purple side starts in the group stage. We ended up going 1-2 due to level 1 fails and terrible misplays that cost us the tournament. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if CLG.NA and CLG.EU joined forces with Double and I replacing their bottom lane? World champions for sure 8D
Around this time I stopped playing the game and my skill deteriorated. Over the next few months, I became a much weaker League player as my priorities seemed to have shifted. Despite this, my role as regulator/infrastructure remained the same, but now people probably began to fault me behind my back. I say this because no one ever approached me and told me that I needed to practice more or I needed to do this or that. Everyone was too afraid to say anything. Even management. Perhaps I was just too oppressive in nature. In hindsight, I can tell you that I was not practiced and I let my mechanics go down the drain. My work ethic dwindled and I latched onto excuses to get my way. I was told out of the blue that there were tryouts for my position, and that is when I decided to retire from League. Not only was my motivation lost in recent months, but my team has also lost their trust in me. Without the team’s trust, I could care less. I would never do what Link did and rejoin a team that was willing to put me aside for tryouts, my nature and pride would never let that slide.
I tried summarizing everything at the end because writing this was actually pretty tiring and I gave up giving details. If I went in depth, this would truly be a novel. Anyways, CLG has always been plagued by infrastructure. The problems never had to be the players because if there had been an established infrastructure, 95% of the player problems would not even exist. With the right coaching staff, people will listen and they will learn. Scarra was a step in the right direction, but he was far too passive to be a coaching figure. CLG needs someone with authority that takes no shit from their players, much like me when I was a team member. It is a world of difference for the drill sergeant to actually not be an active part of the roster. Stubborn player attitudes and mentality won’t matter as much once the proper coaching staff is selected. I hope that CLG gets their shit together.