Not many pro League of Legends players have experienced the highs and lows that ORDER top laner Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander has had throughout his career.
In his first year as a professional League of Legends player for Oceania’s Dire Wolves, BioPanther experienced major success. He won a split and made a trip to the League of Legends World Championship in 2018. It was just about as ideal a start as any Oceanic rookie could have, and BioPanther seemed poised to represent the Oceanic region internationally for many years to come.
Then it all fell apart.
This is the story of how Biopanther learned from the tough times in his career to become one of Oceania’s top stars.
Rock bottom after an explosive rookie start
Photo credit: Riot Games
After Worlds 2018, the Dire Wolves lineup broke up and BioPanther was the only remaining player on the team. With a multitude of different routes to take, the Dire Wolves looked to build around BioPanther and handed him the responsibility to lead a team of rookies to more success in 2019.
“It was a different experience going from a team of veterans to a whole new rookie roster,” BioPanther said. “I had trust in the DIre Wolves coaching staff that we could scale up to become a great team as 2019 went on.”
Hopeful that he and his teammates would still find success, BioPanther took on the mantle as the veteran of the Dire Wolves in 2019.
Instead, BioPanther experienced one of the worst team performances in Oceanic Pro League history. The new-look Dire Wolves went 1-20 in the first split of the year, a far cry from the dominance he experienced in 2018.
“It just didn’t work out for us like we thought it would,” BioPanther bluntly said. “It was very hard and a weird experience going from first to worst.”
Yet, even through this troublesome period, BioPanther never lost faith in his own abilities as a player, something that he feels was the major key to his eventual bounce back.
“You always have to be confident in your own abilities, no matter where you are at in your career,” BioPanther said. “Even if you are in last place with only one win to your name, you need to know that you are always able to bounce back and have that belief in yourself. You can always push yourself further.”
For BioPanther, it was all about perspective. He remembers watching his former teammate Shern “Shernfire” Cherng Tai and his nonstop winning mentality -- how he battled through adversity to find success.
BioPanther realized that despite the hard times, he was still among a small percentage of League of Legends players competing at a high level. During these tough moments in his career, he remembers the feeling of his first split successes. These memories helped him remain confident in his own abilities and kept him hopeful for better days in his career.
Back at the top with ORDER as a leader
Photo credit: Riot Games
Now, he is back at the top of the Oceanic scene and a leader that the young players on his team look to for guidance.
“I definitely do need to take more of a leadership role in this team because I am the only one who has experience playing internationally,” BioPanther said. “I’ve experienced a lot of perspectives from different players that I was able to soak up a lot of information on how to play the game, so I do my best to just pass on the knowledge, and they have been really receptive to it.”
Last year, BioPanther made it all the way to the rumble stage at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational as the top laner for Pentanet.gg. The highlight was pulling off a win against North America’s Cloud9.
This year, BioPanther and ORDER were placed in a three-team group alongside Europe’s G2 Esports and North America’s Evil Geniuses where ORDER ultimately went 0-8.
Although some saw it as a tall task for ORDER, Biopanther knows that he has the talent to make an underdog run.
“My individual goal was to do better than last year,” BioPanther said. “I wanted to go further than when I got top six at MSI last year. That was my own personal goal, just to be better.”
Photo credit: Riot Games
Still, even after a disappointing performance, he remains optimistic about the future of this team. Through his experiences, he knows that he and his teammates are not defined by their failures and can only grow from them.
For BioPanther, his next steps are centered around making sure that he continues to strike the balance between control and trust.
“My main impact on the team is to provide information and make players feel as comfortable as possible. I don’t want anybody on a team I play on to feel useless and I want everyone to feel important,” BioPanther said when talking about his role on the team. “I want to continue making sure that I am not controlling of them. I want to always give them the opportunity to make decisions on their own and pass on their ideas because, at the end of the day, it is a team.”
ORDER has been eliminated from the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational and will now use the offseason to prepare for the upcoming League of Legends Circuit Oceania Split 2. Although it was not the MSI run he had hoped for, BioPanther holds his head high knowing that no matter what adversity comes his way, he will always push through it.
“I’ve experienced both the highs and lows of being a pro player in League that it gave me such a wide perspective of how to empathize with teammates,” BioPanther said. “All my experiences taught me what works and what doesn’t work. This is something that I now bring to my teams now, and it is why I am back to No. 1 after all these years.”
League fans can continue to watch MSI where the remaining six teams will compete in the rumble stage starting May 20.
Lead photo credit: Riot Games