So literally the day after NSL Season 1 ended, we had the opening match for KDL Season 1. We were all sort of nervous because Birdgang had won S1 of NSL and we had never played them, but heard good things about them, actually we did play them in some fomos league but it was a reverse 3-2 in favor of us so we didn't feel confident at all. (fun fact Eosin was picking for us but drafted us no stuns in 3 matches, so Bamboe took over and we wrecked them) But we had practiced really hard for NSL, and so we were in great shape and took the match 2-0 no sweat. On a side note, SHIT ton of young people there, it was really exciting, the production value was unlike we had ever seen.
Everything sorta started rolling in the right direction for us, and we ended up dropping like one match total, and won KDL undefeated. I remember how sort of unhappy we all looked on that stage, Kevin felt he had played bad throughout the match and couldn't really enjoy the victory even though we won 3-0, and the rest of us sort of just shrugged? I'm not quite sure about the emotion, its hard to describe. It wasn't happy but it wasn't sad.
It was around that time that TI invites started going out, and although we weren't doing too well in the SEA scene, we thought their was a small chance we'd receive a qualifier spot along with MVP.Phoenix who was doing well. I remember we all made a pact that day we found out that we got into the qualifiers, I remember how happy and excited we all were. We promised each other that we'd all try really hard, and somehow pray that we could do it. I think a lot of people assumed that we dicked around the entire time we were here, but we normally played about 6 days a week, as many matches as we could at night. The SEA scene is kinda hurt by the fact that scrims don't begin until 9PM~.
Anyways, I remember the huge talk, Eosin had just got back from his mini vacation to Hong Kong and had to walk back to our house after having not enough cab fare to get all the way here. Random story, we thought he got abducted or some shit because he didn't get home till like 3am. I told everyone how we were perceived and how the Korean scene was perceived and blah blah blah hard work dedication, commitment and we can do some miracle shit. TI came, and I remember I was so nervous I didn't sleep for 2 days straight. I think in the Orange game I actually fell asleep and you can see me misclick stats on nightstalker. That was a bad idea. Not really an excuse though. We won our first game against FD handily, and we felt great, then loss after loss started rolling in and we just felt so lost. I remember how helpless everyone looked, and how upset I was. My entire family stayed up just to watch me look like a god damn loser. That part sucked the most. The day after that though Bamboe said yolo lets just do whatever and in our game against Scythe picked himself offlane Rubick and me Bloodseeker. He played amazing, and managed to carry us and I'll always have that highlight in my head. I remember he asked me what I wanted to play. I briefly looked over and said bloodseeker jokingly, remembering how I accidentally selected it for him in our first NSL match and he insta locked it despite me never playing it. We had such a fucking blast, and we sort of forgot all about how badly we had done. After that though, everything sorta started going downhill for us, I think due to a lack of goals and shit that happened in general.
Around the time of Season 2 of KDL, we started thinking it was an issue with our lineup, and felt Purge just didn't have enough experience, and was too busy with other matters. He was handling our finances, while dealing with sponsors, and having to commit to his youtube / other engagements. We never kicked him, he willingly stepped down because he thought he was holding us back. I want to tell Kevin sorry, because honestly we weren't the best teammates. I was really short with him, and probably made him feel really bad, I've apologized to him for it profusely, but I don't want people saying Kevin got kicked because he sucked, bad teammate etc. Kevin was a great teammate. He would stay up analyzing replays, playing solo queue games well into the night, and was always listening. I think in any sort of team enviroment if you aren't doing well you look for a scapegoat and he was ours. I was a really shitty friend to him during this time and I wish I could take that back. I was overly critical, and that probably hurt him a lot especially coming from me, one of his best friends. Our team was grounded on the fact that he literally helped me pick my life back up and here I was constantly needling him with criticism. I remember he told my sister or someone that once I left he realized how boring it was without me and so he came over. That killed me to hear especially after I had just told him off for warding improperly. It really kind of put things into perspective for me. It was honestly so hard to just lose game after game and I lost sight of what really mattered. I write this because most people probably aren't aware of how shitty I was, but I want to put it out there so I can change myself and hopefully be as good of a friend to Kevin as he always was to me. I hope people don't judge me too harshly for this, but if you do I deserve it all. I desperately hope his experience this time around in our team will be more fun, and we can just do what was our original intention, friends just sitting around playing games and maybe winning some money on the side.
Continuing on, for Season 2 we started kinda choking. We'd lose games over and over again without really knowing what was going wrong. We even hired jaH a player on the MVP team to briefly coach us but that didn't really work out. We even tried using him as a player briefly, but after we lost to Rave he didn't really want to keep playing. I remember how sad I felt that night, we went to our favorite chicken joint and he said to us, "I'm just not feeling Dota anymore" and I felt super responsible. I hope his time with us was enjoyable though. We just had this weird hump where we couldn't win games against even Tier 3 SEA teams, we'd beat Phoenix who would stomp some of the best SEA teams, then lose to some random indonesians that would disband a day later. It was baffling and frustrating.
After Season 2, I actually found out both of us would be working at TI! That was such an incredible experience, I remember I was told not to tell anyone (I totally told my mom! I had to tell her like 60 times don't tell anyone because shes the biggest gossip ever and I doubt she knows anyone that could get me in trouble but I was still worried). Me and Kevin ended up in LA shortly after Season 2, and had such a fun time. I remember going to MLG Anaheim and remembering how much it sucked walking around convention halls in converse though. Note to anyone reading this, don't wear converse to TI's. They really suck at protecting your soles. We got home and my mom was so happy to see me (my sister has a video) because we lied about when we were arriving and surprised her at work. I think Kevin got a slightly firmer hug but my family all finds him handsome so fuck that guy. (My aunt is like in fucking love with Kevin. she always hugs him or asks him for photos even though it's become creepy. I typed like there because thats how I'd tell the story and I want you to read it in my voice) My mom was shouting at random people in the street how her son was home it was great. We flew to Seattle after a couple of days in California, (I shed a single tear after my first Wingstop meal) and had a blast. It was great seeing the BTS studio, Godz LD, the entire house are fantastic people and I consider the David's among my best friends in the scene.
At TI I had such a blast. I got to see my best friend who I only see once a year, and unfortunately we were able to hang out more then we did at TI3 Good thing we had Bulba to cheer for! I remember going to Mcdonalds in Seattle by the way at like 11pm, and thought i was going to be mugged or some shit. Was like 4 hookers and some bums, and they gave me an extra drink and I said to EGM, 'what am I going to do with this' and some chick snatched it out of my hand and said I'll have it. EGM then proceeded to hide behind me. (EGM: could you edit the part where i hide behind you
to EGM protected me against the hookers, we almost died)
I had such a blast being at TI, and although it was difficult at first, I thought me Pyrion and Shane did a pretty decent job. We weren't entirely sure what we were supposed to do and had a hard time finding a rhythm with 3 people, but I'm so glad I was able to work with those fucks. And on top of that MVP.Phoenix did so well! I wasn't surprised in the least, (although I heard some casters said they'd get stomped by VP!) Everyone on Phoenix is so fucking nice to us, and they were gracious in defeat in Season 1, and are even better winners. After every loss March comes over and tells me how got lucky etc and how. The scene has been so great to us and I'm glad we were here for the rise
We were having trouble finding people to play with since Purge left, and were worried about what would happen. I was panicking when my sister suggested that Ben (Merlini) join us. She had told us he'd be interested if it was a short term affair, but I wanted to see if any longer term options were available. Their wasn't really anyone, and so Ben on the last day of TI decided he'd come on over. I felt so bad about this, because it would crush my sister, but we actually asked like everyone. So we were still pretty excited about Ben coming over! Once season 3 started though we ran into a host of issues. We didn't have anyone who could play support, and me and Ben were having trouble adapting to the offlane. We kept changing our roles every single game, and it was never really stable. I'm so glad Ben came though, having a 5th who was really calm with us and had that much experience really helped. I'm sorry to Ben because it felt like he wasted his time coming here, I'm not really a natural support player and I was just playing so badly this season. After Season 3, is around now! Bamboe told us he no longer wanted to play, and felt Tier 2 was a waste of time so he decided to leave. With Ben leaving and Bamboe gone, we felt Kevin should play with us once again and were currently working on finding a 5th. Nobody really wants to play T2, but due to us winning NSL, a part of the contract stipulates that we play out the end of the year and so that's what were going to do. Everyone keeps telling us on reddit or some shit that we should go home, but I don't think they understand that we cant! =P
Alright so there it is. Everything up until this point. I'd like to give some randoming closing words and shoutouts NADota style.
Thank you to our fans who constantly support us. I kept telling people I saw at TI with Zephyr shirts to find another team jokingly, but I want to tell you thank you so much for your continued support. Y'all are like Cubs fans. Had success early on, and now a constant source of disappointment. I hope it was a fun ride for you guys at least. Thank you to those who sent me really encouraging words on reddit or twitter. I'm actually learning to read the positive comments and not those that tell me I have downs and that I should kill myself.
Thanks to Bamboe for playing with us and joining me in this. Although it didn't go as well as we planned, I'll always consider you a great friend. I'm sorry at the times I got frustrated at you, I was overly sensitive and I didn't know how to just relax sometimes. We butt heads a lot, and created a lot of awkward moments, but you were one of the best teammates I've ever had and I learned so much from you. I was a dick to you more times then I can count, thanks for dealing with it for this long. I hope you're able to find another team, you're such a talented player. Go get em.
Thanks to Ben for playing with us and enduring the #ZephyrStruggle. I hope nobody questions your leadership or your ability, you're a fantastic player and truly a legend. You also taught me something really valuable, that you should value your teammates just as much after a game as you do before. A bad game doesn't change who a person is, and they should always know that.
Thanks to EGM, Bulba, Kat, LD, Pyrion, Shane, and Hotbid for continually being a source of encouragement, wisdom, and entertainment in my otherwise boring life.
Thanks to my girlfriend who graciously stood by me despite my constant rants about how much life sucked and all the other stupid shit you had to deal with. I miss Kayko too.
Thanks to my sister and my mom. I actually used to be really sad about mean reddit threads but then my mom said, [9/8/2014 9:31:36 AM] grace lee: Thank you for money!!
[9/8/2014 9:32:06 AM] grace lee: Win win game.
It made me realize I don't really care if I lose games for some random people to hate on me. I care because my family watches, and that if I win I'm able to afford some nice stuff for my family. I'm sorry I didn't win as much money as I could have mom. I'm sorry if people are upset that I bring up money so much, but I feel that people can enjoy the game while earning money. Korea for me was just as much about the money as it was my love of the game. I used most of it on food, savings, and sending money home to my family so it was for a good cause, I promise!
Thanks to everyone who read this! I sent a copy to a few people who were involved in my life during the time to make sure nothing was wrong / overly dramatized. If you have any questions or comments leave them below.