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Even in fans’ wildest dreams, they didn’t have Counter Logic Gaming, with their current roster against the current field in the League of Legends Championship Series going up 2-0 in a best of five playoff series against the super team Team Liquid Honda. But here we are. Although that same team lost the series, there is no doubt that CLG’s 2022 was a massive success; one featuring a roster filled with forgotten talent making a name for themselves. The FTX Most Improved Player of the split, Juan Arturo “Contractz” Garcia, won’t take that for granted.

“I think I proved to myself — and to a lot of people — that I’m capable of playing in the LCS, and that I’m a very good jungler that teams can rely on,” Contractz said.

Contractz proved he deserved that award in the first two games of the series; he went 7/3/19 on Wukong and Poppy as CLG executed their patented early aggressive gameplay, which allowed the team to pick up advantages and set up Rift Herald objectives — something Contractz thinks wins or loses games. Contractz pointed out that whichever team got Herald first won their game. CLG, of course, picked up first Herald in the first two games.

However, with CLG up 2-0, the team finally felt the pressure; they were just one game away from sweeping the preseason favorites out of playoffs and Worlds 2022 contention. Contractz said that the team started to play a little too loosely.

“After those first two games, I’d say we kind of lost a little bit of our spark; we weren’t really on our toes,” Contractz said. “I think we were a little bit tenser, and under pressure for sure; I definitely think it’s hard to not feel stress and pressure.

It’s not easy trying to process the next steps after losing a series; especially not when the plan was to get ready for a Worlds 2022 qualifier just hours before. However, Contractz does have goals for how he’ll be spending his time during the offseason.

“I want to go back to Korea and play Korean solo queue — I thought that was a big reason why I improved so much,” Contractz said. “I want to keep going on with my fitness training, I think I’m making good progress at the gym, and also learning how to drive since I have like my permit and stuff.”

CLG went from an organization that was struggling to escape the bottom of the LCS to being legitimate Worlds contenders after pushing two of the league’s best teams to the brink in high-pressure best-of-five series. No one knows what the organization has planned for next year but Contractz would like to keep the team together.

“I think we weren’t able to show our team peak too much; I really wish we had gotten another chance,” Contractz said. “But I’m definitely open to running it back with these guys, I think we understand each other very well.”

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