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Millions of people worldwide play and compete in computer games. However, only a marginal percentage of them makes it to the very top. The path to becoming a pro is incredibly rough, paved with frustration and failure.
Before you can even consider joining a professional team, you need to have spent thousands of hours, practice diligently and know the game inside out. One of the most successful and professional teams that excels at scouting and developing fresh talent is G2 Esports.
G2’s flagship is certainly their League of Legends roster, surrounding the Polish player Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski. With three LEC Split championships (League of Legends European Championship), their victory at the Mid-Season Invitational 2019, and a second place at the last world championship, G2 is one of the greatest esports teams of all time.
However, G2’s start into the 2020 Summer Split was the worst Jankos and his mates have ever had. “We still messed up some stuff and that’s why we got caught individually,” the 24-year-old told in an interview with Korizon Sports.
Only one week later, after their troublesome kick-off into the season, they were back in shape, dominating their opponents in LEC. You see, staying at the very top is almost as difficult as getting there in the first place. But what motivates players to keep on practicing and competing?
AOC talked with professionals from G2 Esports who share the experiences they made on their journey.
To be a world champion
Apart from their success in League of Legends, G2 boasts a number of world-class line-ups in other games as well – for example in Rainbow Six Siege. Juhani "Kantoraketti" Toivonen won the Six Invitational, the world championship in this game, in 2019, earning $800,000 with his team.
However, thousands of hours went into practice before finally lifting the trophy. Like many other gamers, everything began with his dream of becoming a pro. “I have always wanted to be a player in esports but I have never counted on it,” Kanto remembers in our interview. But the Finn warns that one should never count on getting a job as a professional player.
One of the reasons: Being a professional comes at a high cost, as they constantly need to work on themselves. Therefore, it helps if you love what you do. “There have been very brief moments I got annoyed by something that happened in the game or decisions that have been made,” admits Kanto, “but 99% of the time I play because I enjoy it.”
“Worst moment of my career”
Every victory is the result of a process that also involves failure and frustration. To become stronger, players need to learn from their defeats and overcome their worst enemy: themselves. Kanto’s team-mate Aleksi "UUNO" Työppönen remembers the most bitter moment of his career clearly.
In May 2019, he joined G2, “the best team ever in Rainbow Six Siege history”, shortly before the Raleigh Major. While this moment marks the most memorable in UUNO’s life as a pro, the worst one followed shortly. G2 lost in the Grand Finals of the major to Team Empire, many fans hated on the newcomer and blamed him for their loss. How UUNO dealt with this situation? “That only made me work harder to make sure it never happens again and to prove myself as an individual player,” explains the 25-year-old.
G2 Esports hasn’t been able to repeat their success from 2019 yet, but they just finished the most recent Pro League in third place. Although this result isn’t quite satisfying for UUNO as he concludes: “First place is the only place that should make you happy and that should be your only goal.” Still, G2 is certainly back on track and has now all the more reason to improve. Never give up. Always work on yourself. This is the code, G2’s players live by.