Excel esports, an unexpected end.
As I’m writing this, I’m not sure how to feel. On Sunday I’ve been told by the management of Excel that I was to be replaced by Mikyx, after just 2 weeks of play in the Spring Split, for the upcoming week of the LEC and the rest of the LEC onwards. This decision was taken by the management only, without any open dialogue with my (now ex) teammates or any heads up to me prior to the decision already being made. This decision, as I’m told, is NOT made based on performance issues, motivation issues, issues with regards to my personality or anything in/out of game related. It is purely a business decision.
So far, my professional career in Esports has been relatively short, especially for someone of my age (24). I played one split in the German league, with BIG and I played one split in XL Academy including our EU Masters run before I was thrown on the big LEC stage. In some cases, having your career go this fast can lead to illusions of grandeur. In my case, however, it led to a strong case of impostor syndrome, something I struggled with a lot when I first came into the LEC roster with Mark. I did not want to ruin this opportunity to play in the LEC even if I felt like I maybe wasn’t ready. Feeling like this was very stressful because it felt like I was only one game away from showing my ‘real’ self as a non-LEC player and I just kept ‘lucking out’ having decent games. I am happy, though, how I handled the situation and through experience I gained more confidence; I saw that I WAS able to play LEC and perform well and that, even though I might not be the flashiest player, I can add a lot of value to a team both ingame as well as out of game.
In the 2021 summer split I got promoted after a 2-5 start of the LEC team and we managed to go 2-0 vs G2 and VIT in my first week of LEC. We had some ups (2-0 first week) and some downs (not making playoffs by one game), I made some mistakes, but all in all I would say that I am okay with how I performed that split especially given the circumstances. During the offseason Excel made clear that the roster for 2022 was going to be rebuilt around Mark and I. This gave me a lot of confidence and trust from the org because it felt like I finally ‘earned’ my spot in the LEC and that I had an opportunity to really show what I am capable of with my newfound confidence and the actual time to scrim before the LEC is already running. It deeply saddens me that I won’t have that opportunity this year to prove and develop myself during a full split in the LEC.
When you are being replaced it is easy to feel like you weren’t enough, that you aren’t good enough and perhaps should have done more. Should I have played more aggressive and flashier? Should I have been more demanding? Perhaps I should have gotten a higher SoloQueue rank? These are the thoughts that cross my mind. On the other hand, for the sake of sanity, I have to be realistic about what I should be expecting of myself. Could I have been playing well enough for this not to happen, or was it inevitable? Either way, getting replaced is part of professional sports and I have always accepted it as something that could happen.
This split, I don’t think I played poorly. Yes, I made mistakes and some games I could have done more than I did but overall, I had solid games. I am not a big fan of blindly staring at statistics, but I think I had some good scores when it comes to vision control / vision score, kill participation and first blood participation. Together with my jungle proximity stat this shows my playstyle very well: Early game centric / roaming player with a good sense for vision control. On a personal note, I also value having a good relationship with my teammates, I am open to do activities and proactively use my energy to create a great team atmosphere since it will bring better performance and trust within the team and it makes my time in the environment more enjoyable.
When adversity strikes, I am not the kind of person to sit there in sadness, I want to make the best out of my life and career and so I will do the best I can given any circumstances. I am still very hungry to prove that you don’t have to be a 17-year-old rookie to one day become one of the best and that age in esports does not matter as long as you still have the right attitude and passion. I will be looking to prove myself once again in SoloQ and hone my skills so I will be ready for when the next opportunity presents itself.
I don’t have any negative feelings towards Mikyx and I wish him and the rest of the XL players the best of luck in this, and the upcoming splits. I believe that Patrik, Finn, Erlend and Mark deserve a world-class support at their side, sadly that will not be me as I have been given time nor opportunity to reach that level.
I would like to end by saying that I will miss the XL boys a lot.
I think I’ve become good friends with all of them and it brings a tear to my eye that I will miss the journey that we could have had together. To Patrik: You are an amazing talent, and you are just a slight stroke of luck away from achieving greatness. To Erlend: You are an amazingly intelligent and creative player, and you absolutely don’t deserve all the flak you’ve been getting. To Finn: From the moment we tried you out I knew you’d be an amazing teammate; plug-and-play personality and very fun to be around (also rank 1 super talent). And lastly, to Mark: You are the player I have played the longest with throughout my entire career. I will never forget the times I had to carry you through the airport, the times you upped my confidence when I was doubting myself, our time in London and of course the time we made the jump to LEC together, you’ve become a true friend.
I want to thank everyone that supported me or my teammates, I hope you will continue to do so in the future.
While I am still under contract with XL until November 2022, I got permission to talk to teams. For contact, please reach out to @achieveminds on Twitter or email@example.com through email.
Onto new beginnings!