Views: 875 Who is H4xDefender Really? (Part three)
The start of my League career was...interesting, to say the least.
When I started playing League, the competitive side of me immediately knew that I wanted to go pro one day, but due to the fact that I started a bit late comparatively to the pro players of the time, as well as the fact that I was a complete newbie when it came to MOBAs, I knew that it was going to be a long while before I could seriously attempt to go pro. (lol bbg)
In Season 2 I peaked around 1850 ELO, in Season 3 I peaked at Diamond 1 100 LP, peaked at 500 LP Challenger in Season 4, and peaked at 450 LP Challenger in Season 5. I also hit Challenger in Ranked 5s many times across multiple teams throughout S4-S5 (We love shakira, Generic names are best, FFG practice, Ashes cant find scrims, ashes still can't find scrims, MXLIX, and Team Smokes. I might even be forgetting a few).
While I got pretty high up on the ladder in Season 3, I didn't really have connections at that point, so I was essentially a solo queue star (the exact type of player I hate now) who was kinda a Jarvan 1 trick. (My stats were sick at least).
I didn't really understand how to get noticed in the pro scene even though I started wanting to look into it in Season 4. My breakthrough into the scene actually came on a whimsical decison to play Ranked 5s with some friends who were looking to secure the diamond border for ranked 5s. On April 2, 2014, I created the ranked team "generic names are best," and my journey began.
Our whole team was brought together by our AD Carry player, Shockwave/shk. He'd known the solo laners from a team he'd played on in S3, but they had taken a hiatus since the start of S4, so they weren't even ranked yet when we started playing together IIRC. (They were D1 in S3 though). Our support was someone he'd pulled straight from solo queue...but he was an ACTUAL Diamond V player. As for how I met him myself, we had run into eachother in Season 2 back when we were 1400 ELO and complaining about ELO hell, and he'd climbed all the way to 2200 ELO eventually, and later 1k LP Challenger. We had kept in touch throughout the years, so he hit me up to jungle.
Our very first game was actually a loss, funnily enough. We somehow got matched against Team Green Forest, which was a longstanding NA challenger team. We played them close for a good 40 minutes before getting outscaled and losing in a lategame teamfight. I remember the game pretty vividly because I was so surprised that we even came so close, considering the fact that they were all High D1/Challenger. (Master didn't exist yet).
We ended up finishing placements 4-1 and placing in Diamond V. We were originally just going to just play until 10 wins so we were eligible for rewards, but after we reached that goal we thought it would be a waste to just stop there, so we didn't.
We ran into some high challenger teams while climbing and lost some games, but ended up getting to Challenger without much trouble, and just kept going. I don't exactly remember how high we ended, but I think it was around 10th.
Our team dynamic was very interesting. In a way, I feel like we were ahead of our time as far as teamplay goes, because our comms and teamplay were ****ing AMAZING for our time due to how comfortable everyone felt in the environment, but we just couldn't hang with the better teams mechanically, and in laneswap situations, due to the fact that I was the main shotcaller, but I was very inexperienced in laneswaps, and also due to the fact that our support was very weak outside of conventional laning, so I often got shutdown by the roaming support/jungle duo in laneswap games, which spelled disaster for us.
I was the secondary carry for the team out of the jungle, which probably sounds very odd, and it was, especially for a Challenger team. Like I stated earlier though, our team dynamic was very interesting. Our solo laners knew that myself and Shockwave were the hard carries, and didn't try to mess with the dynamic because they knew it was working. Our top primarily played tanks, (he had a hilariously bad Jayce game that we memed him about, even to this day) and just tried to farm without getting solo killed or ganked, and our mid was very Keane-esque in the sense that he played oddball picks and rarely lost lane, even though he allowed me to take a lot of blue buffs and mid waves whenever I felt I needed it.
Our support was a very interesting guy. He was super upbeat and positive knowing he was the newbie on the team, and we grilled him a bit too much at times considering his performance as a true Diamond V support was actually really ****ing good when taking into account the players he had to face once we got high on the ladder.
Despite everything we had going for us, I think we all knew that our individual deficiencies were starting to catch up to us once we started playing better and better opposition. In the end, I made the executive decision to replace our top and support player a few weeks before the NACS because I was the captain and I felt that we wouldn't go far with our current lineup. The change in team atmosphere ended up being too much for Shockwave despite both players being individual upgrades, and he ended up stepping down as well.
In the end, we defeated False Facade Gaming, (only player of note on the team was Hard, who is on Echo Fox now) and lost to Team LoLPro, (Hauntzer/Heaventime/LOD/Hoodstomp/Lohpally) who was the number one seed. Despite not going as far as we wanted, my performances on GNAB got a lot of attention around the scene, because I was a complete nobody who had captained a Top 10 NA Challenger Team in my very first taste of competitive league, and I was only 15.
The final roster of GNAB (rebranded to EverFrag for NACS) was Akaadian/H4xDefender/SmallSushi/GG Jessica Jung/Hakuho.
Despite the fact that things ended up turning out alright, blowing up our initial roster (Alliar/H4xDefender/SmallSushi/Shockwave/Mildlife, with Lord Canti being our mid lane sub who we stuck on Soraka mid every game since she was super broken at the time) remains one of my bigger "what ifs" of my career even to this day. I've enjoyed playing on quite a few of the teams I've been on, but that team remains my favorite even to this day. I'm sure there is a huge nostalgia factor that is clouding my judgment, but even after taking that into account, it's hard for me to say that I preferred any other team in terms of sheer enjoyment. (Although my collegiate team this past year comes close). I remain friends with everyone on that roster, but I can't help but think of what could have been, as almost all of them have moved on from League of Legends. I'll never forget the super troll way we actually won our series to get into Challenger.
This was originally supposed to cover my whole career up to the present, but I enjoyed talking about GNAB too much, so I'll have to cover the rest some other time xP
If you have any questions, or actually read all of my atrocious writing, I'd greatly appreciate a comment.
To the original members of GNAB, if you actually read this, I just want to apologize for how I handled things. I was overly ambitious, and I ****ed up something that could have been so much more. I have no excuses. I miss the time we spent playing 5s together and calling shock a rager, alliar a feeder, sushi a troll, and mild a diamond v scrub.
-Albert "H4xDefender" Ong