My year at CLG
I was very excited to join this roster originally. I had a chance to show what i was capable of as an in game leader again and i had felt i forgot what that felt like after my year on TSM. That was a disaster to say the least. Anyways, the chance to mold players like Subroza and Ethan was very exciting, along with having a coach i really believed in and reuniting with an old friend in Cutler. I had heard good things about Koosta, so i was happy to take this challenge head on. Coming in, things looked up immediately as far as the attitude on the team was concerned. No one questioned my calls or my abillity to get the job done. I worked hand in hand with the coach (imapet) and him and i had the type of synergy that had a massive impact in our progression. We worked very well together in and out of the server, which really helped me personally, because him and I were consistently on the same page. He also worked very hard which definitely made me and everyone else work hard. The routine that Mike (Our player development coach) set was very helpful in terms of players having to go to the gym, eating on time, doing the little things for us like getting us food, having one on one talks with us, making us meditate, warm up, etc. The structure was there for us to succeed, and we were on a good path and i was very optimistic.
The removal of Subroza was difficult but neccesary. He just wasn't developing fast enough and needed more time, so we added Rick. The Aussie had immediate impact on our roster and meshed perfectly with the way the i liked to call and he was able to assist with calling, which was very helpful for me. He wasn't afraid. Probably the most confident player i had ever played with. Koosta was on point with the AWP, Cutler was becoming the Cutler of old, Ethan was showing signs of life, and for the first time in a while, i really felt like we could do damage on an international level.
Starladder: We didn't have very high expectations of ourselves going into this event because we were a fairly new roster (about one month old) but we had the underdog confidence and had relatively nothing to lose. That's a dangerous combination of emotions and we felt we were the dark horse. We came out swinging and made it out of groups in convincing fashion. After that, we played a very competitive game vs Astralis on stage and we felt we should have won at least a map there. We exceeded our expectations to say the least. We now knew what we were capable of with this roster. I was happy, but unsatisfied.
Failure to qualify for the major: We knew going into the qualfier that it was going to be difficult to beat out Immortals, who were in form, as well as Cloud9 who we historically had a hard time beating, especially on LAN. We failed there and i think that's when imApet decided he wanted to either make changes to the roster or leave if he got a better offer. It was fair on his part. He deserved better for how much time he was putting in. I told him that when we spoke 1 on 1 and i advised him to take the Optic offer when it came.
Dreamhack Summer: This event, we again made it out of groups by beating Gambit & fnatic. 2 teams who no one expected us to beat. AGAIN, we exceeded expectations, but for whatever reason, we just couldn't replicate these results online. Mistakes from the same people kept costing us games. It was the same thing over and over again.
The useless talks: As harsh as that sounds, we'd consistently talk over what went wrong and how to fix it, but it led no where as players would consistently make little mistakes over and over again and we'd lose rounds the same way. Even rounds we had advantages in. Everyone took cristisism well for the most part, but very few players would actively fix every mistake when the pressure was on. We choked....a lot. There was literally an incident that shocked me where Chet told a player, who shall remain nameless, to watch a demo and his reaction was, "no i need a break dude" DURING OUR DEMO WATCHING TIME. He even went as far as to tell the coach to "shut up" when asked to do his job. This type of behaviour had me confused because i figured the goal was to win. Unfortunately, people didn't want to put in the neccesary effort to reach that goal.
Imapet's departure to Optic: Once Chet left, i knew i had to pick up where he left off and take on his responsibilities. I was sort of excited again, in a sense that i felt good about being responsible. It motivated me to put way more time in and work even harder. The organization decided to bring in Ryu and i had clearly stated multiple times that i wasn't a fan of that. I wanted to work alone, but i was happy to give it a shot.
Dreamhack Valencia: XD. Big oof. Can't be losing to bomb explosions. Ya have ta.
Addition of Ryu: The first week went well with him, at least in my eyes. He had a 1 on 1 with me where he asked me what he needed from me and i outlined all the issues that he had to fix or at least try to fix. I felt him and I were on the same page for a week. After that, we were worlds apart, or at least that's how it felt. It's safe to say we got off on the wrong foot. He added a few setups here and there, but it was nothing compared to how much Chet did. I was just used to how much work Chet and I put into OUR game and i didn't feel like Ryu did that. He focused much more on Anti stratting the other team. On top of that, Chet would always watch demos with me and we'd consistently have the same thought process on what we needed to add and what needed to be removed. Like i stated earlier, we had a good synergy. I just didn't feel that same with Ryu on board. Now this is just my side. I'm sure other players felt like he was helpful, based on the fact that he's still employed. I just felt that he wasn't what we needed. He was NOT an analytical coach and added very few setups after week 2, didn't really give many ideas during timeouts, didn't neccesarily call people out on ALL their mistakes. I just felt like we stopped growing under his coaching, if that makes sense. Now that being said, i'm sure there are things he can say about ME and how i could be better. No one is perfect. The truth is, i just don't think him and I ever saw eye to eye. I just didn't agree with a lot of what he brought to the table as a coach, that's all.
Dreamhack Montreal: We managed to get out of groups but lost to Immortals. After that, it was just a shit show with the whole KNG fiasco, but outside of that, it was evident that we were staying the same. I didn't feel like we were improving. My plan was to go back home and ask the organization if i could work alone, without Ryu and run the team by myself. I just felt i could do a better job, it's that simple. I didn't do it only because it didn't want to come off as selfish or cocky towards my teammates and i didn't feel like it was all Ryu's fault. I felt he was doing what he felt was right for the team and i decided to just go with the flow at that point.
Dreamhack Denver: This time, we didn't even make it out of groups. We lost to Renegades in a weird fashion and this was the first tournament since i joined this team where i felt like i had lost all faith in our team's ability to win an event, let alone make it out of groups again. We just kept getting progressively worse and nothing was being done about it. The coach and I were on seperate pages, we kept having talks that led to no real improvement in mistakes, and i was slowly losing motivation to even play. I genuinely felt like leaving the team around this time. The only reason i didn't step down right after this event was because i didn't want to leave my team high and dry without an in game leader, especially because i knew they wouldn't be able to replace me instantly. There were no in game leaders on the market.
Another minor failiure and my decision to step down: We were up 12-4 vs misfits on CT side of mirage and managed to throw away that lead and lost the game that could have sent us right to the major qualifier. Then, we eventually lost to a much stronger team Liquid. We threw ANOTHER chance at making it to the major qualifier because of the same mistakes we had been talking about since mid-year. Everything seemed hopeless at that point for this roster, in my eyes. After that, we went to IBP masters, and i felt like everyone knew at that point that changes were coming regardless of the result. Motivation was at an all time low, we failed to make EPL finals which we had a 98% chance of making. That just tells you how dead the team really was. We failed to defeat Splyce and coL. in 4 maps and i basically knew i wanted to leave at that point.
The truth is, i wanted to replace 2 players from the roster for over 2 months and the only reason i didn't say anything was because i knew there were no direct replacements. It was just that simple. I also wanted to replace the coach, but after a while, i just stopped pursuing that. It felt like my leadership slowly got taken away from me and the players lost faith in me and my calling/my abilities as a player. To shed a positive light to all this, i think at the end of the day, everybody got what they wanted and i wish nothing but good things for all my ex-teammates, the coaching staff & the organization that employed me for the year. I'm appreciative of all the things they provided for me, and giving me a chance in the first place. It wasn't the perfect year by any means, but it was a big learning experience for me. I'm happy to say that i have a good relationship with all the CLG players and the organization and i hope nothing said in this post will be taken personally by any of them. All of this is just one side of the story.
If it's not already clear, i definitely plan on competing if an opportunity presents itself. I love the game and still have the passion to win, which was a big driver in me not wanting to be a part of CLG anymore. As great as the organization is, i never felt that they were convinced in CSGO enough to dish out money to get the players needed to succeed. My entire goal in 2017 was to win or at least make a grand final and when we were coming close and making deep runs at tournaments, it seemed like a good idea to stay, but looking back, i should have just departed when Imapet did. Regardless of that, i'm glad i was able to fulfill my contract with CLG and stick out the entire year with them. Again, i wish the players and organization nothing but the best of luck. Thanks for taking the time to read this and i appreciate all the support i've gotten throughout the year. The fans mean more to us players than i can put into words. CLG fans, specifically, were always with us through thick and thin and i couldn't me more grateful to those who stuck by us. Sorry I let you guys down. It's time to move on.
I only found out last night that CLG dropped the CSGO team. Big oof. Everyone had to go. Hope everyone on the squad can find a new home. They all deserve it. GL HF.