Great Wall of Text
For the first time since Season 4, I won't be playing on an LCS team this split.
I went through a lot of rough emotions recently,
first it was shock (is this for real?),
disbelief (I can't believe these teams would pick up these players so much worse than me),
frustration (I don't think I can bear to watch LCS from the sidelines. This is BS)
sadness (nobody wants me)
And I was very angry as well, both at myself for not playing better last year, and also at the teams who in my humble opinion are just making baffling decisions and signed random imports, washed up players, players who don't work hard and are just playing for a paycheck in NA. It's kind of disappointing as well that I had calls with a couple teams who seemed very interested in acquiring me as a player and then were very unresponsive the next day, told me to just wait as they sorted things out, then just ended up sort of ghosting me. I was even willing to accept a pay cut, try out, bootcamp, do ANYTHING to get my foot in the door. I thought I could expect a little bit more given my history of success within NA at least, but there was nothing.
To be honest..... I still think it's really crazy I couldn't find a team, but I need to accept that reality.
I still think I'm one of the best players. It bums me out to read that the mainstream opinion is that I'm "good enough for NA, can't perform on the international stage". And there's a lot of people who are just being revisionist and claiming I never even played well domestically, when I actually played so fucking good all of Summer 2017, and all of 2018 (I invite you to rewatch all those playoff series I played during that timeframe and tell me I was a role player or got carried).
By the way, I don't think I've hit my ceiling yet. I think you only start to fall off permanently when your motivation / drive drops, and I'm still just as motivated as the first day I played on the LCS stage and willing to put in 12+ hours a day practicing.
I think there's a misconception that "veterans" are a known quantity, and "rookies" have boundless potential. As long as you are willing to put the time in and work hard, as well as stay open minded, there is no limit to growth in this game. I was really inspired by a documentary I watched recently on youtube about the dota2 team OG's run through TI8/9 (Their version of worlds). They had a player called Ceb who actually was considering just retiring after not having much success for a long long time, didn't play competitive for a while, then suddenly he can just join and have excellent performances in back to back worlds and win? And if you think about league, there are players like Khan who was actually playing for 3, 4 years playing on LSPL teams without much fanfare. Now, he's one of the best top laners in the world, right?
I always thought there were 2 really big differences between me and most other mid laners in NA.
1. I am always willing to sacrifice for my teammates. For example, on TL, I felt like I would always find really good gank timings to just blow up top or bot lane even if I had to sacrifice a little bit. Yet, the feeling I get is a lot of other mid laners in NA are so worried about falling behind 1v1, losing in cs, or losing lane or really just taking any sort of risk. And I was always confident in being able to at least hold my own in lane no matter what I picked, instead giving our counterpick to another lane to make the game easier for them.
I seriously believe in this no matter what team I play for, strong or weak. Even in the very last game of our failed gauntlet run, I let Viper play mid Riven vs Irelia because he was just so confident he would smash the game and I yolo played Karma vs Huni's Gnar because the whole team was on board with it (I played maybe 1 game of Karma during the whole month of scrims leading up to gauntlet, and I literally never played the matchup before).
2. When you're getting smashed and the game seems almost impossible to win, you can do 2 things - afk on your turret and play for KDA as your nexus explodes as so to avoid being flamed by everyone, or go for really crazy low percentage plays and maybe you look like a complete idiot and feed hard, but at least you tried instead of just passively bleeding out to death. I am definitely a player that is in the latter category, and I strongly believe most players belong to the first.
Maybe this all just sounds like some sort of excuse - I don't know what it is - but I just wanted to get my thoughts out. It feels good to write out things that I've been holding in for a while. Hopefully it's not just kind of word vomit. I'm not proofreading any of it. I think deep down I've always been afraid of getting even more and more negative criticism if I posted something like this. And in a way, I've always been afraid to defend myself because it feels like I'm deflecting blame. I've seen a lot of players over the years really have a tough time when they are made to be the scapegoat or weak link of a team's failure, and I never wanted to say anything that made it seem like I was deflecting blame onto any of my teammates who were really just trying their best too.
Anyway, I'm always willing to own up when I play poorly. I think I played great in all of 2018 LCS. I think I played like shit at MSI. Especially there was this one game vs EVOS where if I really just played like a human, we at least would have gotten out of groups. But we did not, and I am sorry for that. In my defense, our team atmosphere was so bad that we had to sub in Joey for a game because Olleh was so mentally broken. I was also just super tilted the whole event as well because the team environment was so negative and stressful. Still, I should have played better. I learned a lot from that tournament - that I needed to be so much mentally stronger. I think I played "ok" at Rift Rivals, but honestly I don't remember too well.
2019 worlds I actually somewhat remember every game. Honestly our team environment was not the best again, I remember we had one particularly bad scrim day where we were trying to openly talk about our problems but it felt like we were just flaming each other til like 3 or 4 in the AM, lol.
KT ryze game - I made a "sacrifice TP play" tping bot. We should have killed Kindred, but there was some misexecution. In the heat of the moment, it felt like if everything went perfectly with that TP play our bot could smash open the game. Maybe looking back on it, it wasn't a great play. It ended up setting me really far behind, wasted my flash, luckily somehow survived a gank that I should've died to, ended up getting solo killed like a noob later and was just down 2 levels the whole game. Overall, I played bad.
KT leblanc game - I remember using W and dying like a noob over wraith pit, then there was a situation around dragon where I think I should have gotten 1 or 2 more kills. I can't remember the rest of the game. Overall, I played bad.
Looking back on this set, I think my knowledge of mid matchups was just lacking at the time. I had Ryze vs Syndra which is pretty tough matchup (could've banned Syndra on 4/5 but I didn't think about it) and opted into LB vs Lissandra the 2nd game (another counter matchup, kind of winnable but still hard). Overall, KT was a really strong team. I think I really got outperformed individually, but we were also honestly just worse as a team. They almost beat IG this tournament who won worlds. We got spanked individually and as a team.
EDG galio game - I think I did all I could do as a galio in this game, we kept trying to make plays but just misexecuting. I was galio vs azir so of course we got giga outscaled and eventually just lost because we couldn't snowball the early game.
EDG syndra game - this was after we were already eliminated from groups, but I remember I got caught a lot for no reason. Never at a "critical time" to me, but it was really bad to get caught that much. I still did my job and pressed R at really good times and played teamfights properly though.
we played the LMS team (GREX?) the other 2 games, I only remember one of them. I was playing Syndra vs Cass and I'm pretty sure I was just up 40 cs ramming it into his turret the whole game and getting kind of annoyed we couldn't snowball the game harder with that much mid prio
I think I played pretty well 2019 Spring. A lot of our wins was from me hard carrying on Lissandra or Zoe. In playoffs, we eked out vs GGS and then just got hard smashed as a team by TL. I think I played like shit for the first half of summer split, then I started to play "just fine", then I was back to smashing everyone towards the end of our gauntlet bootcamp. I was really confident we were going to win gauntlet easily and that I was going to carry hard, but it just didn't pan out that way on game day.
Anyway, I guess my conclusion on all this is that, it's not the end because I played badly for one split. It's not the end because I didn't play well at a tournament. It's not even the end if I have a bad year, or a bad couple of years. Seriously, maybe you read this whole post and still think I'm a shit player. But to me, it will only be the end if I give up because of those failures. But from every failure, there is sincerely a chance to self-reflect, learn, and to grow. I never once got the feeling when playing on stage or in scrims, "this player or this team is just on another level that I can never attain." Until I feel that way, I refuse to give up. Right now, I'm working on my future plans. I think I'll be closely involved with the competitive scene, and will be open to trying out for any team that might want me for summer split (or before then too, I guess).
If you read this all the way to the end, I appreciate it. There's still a lot more I want to say, but I've been writing this for a couple hours now and I think I've covered most of what I wanted to say anyways. Thanks for reading