The every-day routine of spending nights glued to the front of a computer after a long day of work is a common trope that many aspiring pro players go through in order to one day achieve their goals of making gaming their career.
Rarely does it ever work out as it did for 24-year-old Cloud9 support Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw whose early years in esports were spent balancing his job at McDonald's with League of Legends in Australia. The unfortunate reality for most aspiring pros is that the result of all that hard work will not pan out. For Destiny, each failure has been an opportunity to become an even better version of himself.
Early years in Oceania
Destiny’s first memories playing professional League of Legends were of it being just a fun passion project when he first joined the Oceanic Pro League in 2015 with Rich Gang.
“It was a bit of a roller coaster because this was my first real team,” Destiny said. “I was an underaged support looking for a team, but people were hesitant to pick me up because I didn’t have a designated role. Rich Gang offered me the support role so I just ran with it, and while it wasn’t the most ideal start, it was an opportunity to get my name out there.”
Rich Gang finished last in the OPL 2015 spring split with a 3-11 record. Shortly after, the organization was banned from competing in the OPL, leaving Destiny to look for a new team. Yet, for Destiny, it was all a blessing in disguise.
“I realized I was the only person who actually wanted to progress or be competitive,” Destiny said. “I wasn’t satisfied with just being serviceable because in my heart I am a competitor. I always wanted to be the best, so that entire situation really opened my eyes to who I was.”
Destiny spent the next year and a half dedicating even more time to League of Legends all while maintaining his job as a McDonald’s employee to make money.
Photo credit: Riot Games
It wasn’t until 2017 when he joined Dire Wolves that Destiny took a huge risk.
“I remember joining Dire Wolves and seeing how badly everyone on the team wanted to win,” Destiny said. “So in the offseason we possibly sketched out a plan to go to Korea, but in order to do that, I would need to quit my job.”
In hindsight, that decision looks like a no-brainer, but the decision to quit his job involved a lot of risk, even if the wages were barely enough to live on.
“McDonald’s definitely paid more back then,” Destiny said while laughing at what he was about to say next. “But I quit that job to attend that Korean bootcamp because I saw a real opportunity with this team to do something special.”
Destiny’s hard work was rewarded. Since that risky decision to drop everything for League of Legends, the Australian support has gone to the League of Legends World Championship twice in 2017 and 2019 for the Dire Wolves and Mammoth, respectively.
Photo credit: Riot Games
Driven by his failures to practice even harder
Now, he faces a new set of challenges with Cloud9 in the LCS.
Following his tenure with Immortals in the LCS 2022 spring split, Destiny joined Cloud9 Academy as their starting support. However, visa issues with LCS support Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen left Cloud9 in a precarious position where the team needed to make some changes heading into the summer split.
For Destiny, it was both a blessing and a curse that he had another chance to showcase what he could bring to an LCS team.
“When I first heard that I was going to be scrimming for the team in Korea, I was pretty excited,” Destiny shared. “In a way, I felt blessed. I had the opportunity to play against really good teams in scrims and improve a lot. The circumstances were really bad and unlucky for Zven, but I think I definitely improved a lot from the bootcamp.”
One of the people Destiny credited the most for his time during the Korean bootcamp was Cloud9 botlaner Kim "Berserker" Min-cheol.
“Berserker taught me a lot of concepts that I didn’t know about,” Destiny said. “He really gave me a lot of confidence, and I felt like I improved a lot during the Korean bootcamp.”
Each day was spent grinding out over 20 solo queue games a day on top of a long set of scrims. For most, that amount of League of Legends on a daily basis could result in burnout. Destiny felt like he caught a second wind of motivation though.
“That Korean bootcamp really made me realize how much everything means to me,” Destiny said. “I was motivated before, but lately, it’s been at its highest ever.”
Rough start with Cloud9
So far, Destiny’s debut on Cloud9 has been far from ideal. The team is currently at the bottom of the LCS 2022 summer standings with an 0-3 record.
“It’s a bit of a shame that we are currently 0-3 in the LCS. I feel really awful. I feel terrible, actually, and it sucks that we haven’t been able to win,” Destiny said. “There were winnable games too this week, but we just couldn’t execute, and a lot of that is on me.”
On short notice, Destiny is a temporary fill-in for Zven, who is expected to return, alongside Berserker by Week 3 of summer split. Yet, even on this temporary timeline, Destiny knows that this team is capable of winning games.
“Right now, we're just playing comps that are hard to execute and I need to step it up,” Destiny said. “Hopefully, we will get a win and I'll feel better about my performance so far. I think our team is really good, but we just need to get on the same page.”
Destiny and Cloud9 will look to make the most of a tricky situation in Week 2 when they take on Dignitas and 100 Thieves.
Lead photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games via ESPAT