The more sophisticated version of lol
Looking at Lerl's TF2 career would make anyone laugh out loud; in the short span of a year, Lerl has managed to clock in one of the most successful resumes in Asiafortress and has had arguably the most meteoric rise to the top.
Despite being part of the new influx of latent talent that started in AFC 10, one that represents a new generation of Asian TF2, Lerl distinguishes himself through his rapid improvement, having become a top demoman within 3 seasons.
Lerl's rise to the top symbolises the never-ending quest to win, personified in his journey from 3rd in Div 3 to one of the best teams in Asia, yet not quite the best. Every time he reached one level of success, he was forced to take on another challenge that no one else could finish. So far he has passed every test presented before him, but how does he proceed from here?
The original impetus that propelled Lerl into Asian TF2 was with BRG. Already in Week 1, he was granted a taste of the high of competitive TF2 when Rednexxala casted his match against rivals TMG. Steadily, BRG established themselves as a top Div 3 team. Alas, despite being granted a free FFW by TechE, they were unable to win a single match in playoffs, being eliminated by eventual champions TMG in the lower bracket.
Here, Lerl's Achilles heel has already started to rear it's head: His indecisiveness and weak mental game. In the first map vs TMG in playoffs, Lerl was playing pocket for his team. Yet upon losing that map, the team decided to switch Lerl back onto medic. While it's impossible to know how much of the decision was on Lerl, this is the first example where he displayed a distinct lack of confidence in himself and his abilities.
And yet, this seemed not to matter by the advent of AFC 11. Together with longtime teammate Ifun, Lerl created the new super team for Div 2, with him showing rapid improvement in terms of deathmatching and decision making. He wasn’t a prodigy in the mold Aishou, or possessed huge amounts of natural talent but whatever innate skill he possessed when he began playing TF2, it was soon eclipsed by his work ethic.
Especially during AFC 11, every night one would find Lerl scrimming with his team or playing with some sort of mix without fail; the pinoy simply loved playing TF2.
As a result, TCF quickly found themselves as the undefeated champions of Division 2, only dropping 2 maps over the entire season. One to TMG in Week 2 before they had their final roster, and another to their closest rivals TechE on their best map in the UBF. The very fact that it was considered amazing that TechE managed to win a map at all, speaks volumes to the dominance that TCF displayed over its run.
By this point, while Lerl was not hard carrying his team ( players like vetia, Ifun and Itache were all playing very well ), he had shown complete mastery over the rest of his peers, and his all around play was strong enough to cover his weaknesses; he was ready to face the upper echelon.
Thus, the core of TCF was brought into Div 1 and forming Supa Strikas, picking up superstar scout Fwishy along the way. With their strong base play of Lerl and Fwishy, coupled with Ifun's maincalling, the team cruised to playoffs. Despite finding some trouble with AMC, the team quickly found themselves in the grand final, where xiao was waiting. Sadly, it was a swift 3-0 win to xiao , who barely broke a sweat while doing so.
Behind the scenes, things were far from pleasant. Ifun's lack of motivation, coupled with an ever changing roster and almost never playing scrims, simply resulted in them being unable to properly challenge xiao despite the amount of talent on paper.
Lerl's biggest strength has always been his raw deathmatching ability and gamesense. He tends to play passive roles in his teams, yet he is able to playing it to nigh perfection; knowing how to survive without heals while being a high impact player. When he has been feeling confident, he can outright carry the game for you.
Furthermore, playing within Ifun's system of maincalling has definitely contributed towards his success, showing his ability to play well under clear and firm direction.
Finally, it cannot be understated Lerl's drive to win and improve himself Although his motivation had a tendency to dip, he was one of the few players on Supa Strikas who was constantly playing and improving his game.
By this point, it is a game of diminishing returns. His mechanical skill and ingame play is rated very highly , and rightfully so, but the one hurdle he has yet to overcome is his weak mental game.
Lerl has never shown the resilience to meet every challenge boldly, instead oftimes opting to give up and accept defeat. He has never been the one who shows initiative by leading by example and persistently trying new ways to solve the proble. He simply prefers to let others make a decision without him or resort to passive aggressiveness. Without a commanding presence, Lerl's game quickly detoriates, as he enters a cycle of self deprecation.
Despite all this, Lerl is still the one you should pin your hopes on dethroning the firmly established top scene. The problem is that Lerl has never been in this situation before; he's always been in a comfortable state where he's clearly the best, and if not he's always had Ifun and his confident maincalling with him. Now, the duo have finally separated , with Ifun electing to play other classes, and Lerl has to learn to stand on his own two feet.
If his goal is to become a good TF2 player, he has already long since accomplished this. His goal is to become the best TF2 player he can be, and so far he hasn't fully displayed the dedication and grit to overcome the perpetual roadblocks that confront those who aim to become the best.
With xiao potentially becoming even more dominant with the addition of Fwishy into their roster, Lerl has to change. If he ever hopes to beat them, he has to grow as a player and as a person, and become a superstar.
When I say superstar, I'm not just thinking of good players, I'm thinking of one man armies who could legitimately win any game through their incredible talent and indomitable will; they are practically able to push, drag and force their teams through elite opponents, especially when things aren't going right.
The nuance of superstars is that you know they will perform in every match and against any level of opponent. This is the difference between superstars, and good players like Lerl; he's great in terms of his stable performances and ability to rack up damage and kills, but at times not having as much impact in the kind of games from which superstars are expected to elevate their teams to greater heights.
In essence, when his team won Lerl looked dominant, when they lost he seemed to go missing. While never letting his team down and continuing to be a stable source of damage, when their backs were against the wall in the he never looked like the player to kick-start the comeback for his team.
Mechanically Lerl is a beast, with consistent performances across every map. He never seems to struggle but on the flip side, he never seems to be the difference maker. In other words, he always seems to be a background character when his skills warrant him to be leading the charge.
In fact, Lerl at times has a tendency to underperforming or tilt under pressure; He lacks
the inner strength to say "I don’t think I’m the best, but I don’t think there is anyone better" (olofm). He's great when things are going well, but when shit hits the fan, as it inevitably will against teams like xiao, what can he bring to the table?
Lerl's conundrum is one that should be studied as it deals with the most fundamental problem of competition. I don't know if he will ever reach his ultimate goals, but if Lerl is to once again elevate his play to another level, and become the superstar he is destined to be, he has to first conquer himself.
PS I have a blog https://k1lledblog.wordpress.com