Selfie: A career that never took off

Former H2K starter Selfie was once in position to become one of the best mid laners in Europe. We look back at his League of Legends career.

(Image Credit: Riot Games)

Marcin “Selfie” Wolski is far from a success story. If you look at his esports earnings page, he has won a total of $7,095.38 in prize money—mere pocket change for someone who’s been honing his craft for nearly 5 years. Tournament winnings are only a part of the picture.Every time things are looking up for Selfie, it seems a sudden twist of fate pushes him down and crushes even the faintest possibility of him having a good year. 

Yet, he’s still here. No matter how far he falls, Selfie always seems to pick himself up, dusts off his mid lane skills, and get back to the grind. And this resilience makes one thing adamantly clear: for Selfie, League of Legends has never been about the money.

Trial by fire

To say Selfie’s career had an abrupt start would be an understatement. One day he is a substitute mid laner on MeetYourMakers with only a handful of professional games under his belt, the next he’s replacing Moopz on SUPA HOT CREW during the final weeks of the 2014 EU LCS Spring Split. At the time, the mid lane belonged to big names like Froggen, xPeke, and Alex Ich, so Selfie was like a pup thrown to the wolves. But this pup already knew how to bare fangs.  

His first game was against Millenium. SUPA HOT CREW blind-picked LeBlanc, making it loud and clear that their new mid laner was going to be the focal point of the team, and their opponents answered with Nidalee. The first minutes were relatively uneventful, but a gank from SHC’s jungler Impaler put the enemy Nidalee in the kill range. Selfie wasn’t the one to let such an opportunity pass. Twenty seconds later, he went in for an aggressive trade, and his jungler swung by to secure the First Blood on the fleeing Nidalee. SUPA HOT CREW proceeded to choke out enemy solo laners, and the Impaler/Selfie duo became the driving force behind their victory.

Selfie runs down Millenium from the mid lane to Inhibitor turrets.

Unfortunately, this success didn’t last. As the regular season went on, Selfie only managed to win one more game against Gambit Gaming, producing an underwhelming 2-6 record in his first competitive split. And considering SUPA HOT CREW were already at the bottom of the EU LCS standings, that meant fighting in relegations. The promotion series against Cloud9 Eclipse put Selfie to the test, as he had to face a rising star—Febiven—in the mid lane. 

Selfie stood up to the challenge.

His Lulu bolstered his teammates with massive shields, his Fizz broke the game open with flashy solo kills, and his Twisted Fate sealed the deal with a game-changing pickoff onto the enemy AD carry. With that, SUPA HOT CREW re-qualified for the EU LCS. Selfie would have another chance to prove himself on the big stage—and this time, he wasn’t about to let it slip.

Highs and lows

If you were to go back in time and ask League of Legends fans what they thought of Selfie in the 2014 EU LCS Summer Split, most would probably call him a legend in the making. This was his peak. And he improved at such a rapid pace that even the best mid laners in the region struggled to keep up.

Selfie goes in for a game-winning teamfight against Fnatic.

With his help, SUPA HOT CREW went on a 16-12 run and finished the regular season in third place—a a stark contrast to facing relegation in spring. When SHC were matched against the sixth-place Team ROCCAT in the quarterfinals, it seemed they were destined to make a deep playoffs run. Until they suddenly weren’t.

ROCCAT, who went 3-9 over the first half of the regular season, saw massive improvements towards the end of the split, and they entered quarterfinals with full intent to give SUPA HOT CREW a run for their money. From the first minutes of game 1, they started pressuring the mid lane with jungle ganks and top lane roams, leaving Selfie’s Kassadin exposed to the poke from Overpow’s Orianna. With Impaler not finding any early game openings either, ROCCAT suffocated their opponents, and Selfie could do nothing but watch as they knocked down his Nexus. 

In game 2, Selfie decided to ramp up the aggression with a Zed pick. This approach seemed to pay off at first, and Selfie even came up with a flashy trade kill in a 1v2 against the enemy mid/jungle duo. But once ROCCAT got through the early game, they turned the tables on SHC and took the win with a single decisive teamfight. Game 3 saw both teams going blow for blow. By the end of the game, Selfie was outfarming Overpow by nearly 200 CS as Orianna vs Ryze, and it was his shockwave onto the enemy bot lane that opened up a path to the enemy Nexus. Unfortunately, SHC couldn’t keep the momentum going, and ROCCAT outmuscled them in game 4 to score a 3-1 quarterfinals victory.

Just like that, Selfie’s Worlds ambitions were shattered, and a subsequent victory in the fifth-place match against Millenium was little more than a consolation prize. Of course, low points are a part of the process. A progamer’s career is filled with peaks and troughs, and a promising split can turn into a trainwreck over the span of a single Bo5. Most players just move on and keep grinding for another standout moment. But for Selfie, that moment would never come. 

Downward spiral

When MeetYourMakers acquired SUPA HOT CREW for the 2015 season, it was like a match made in heaven. What better place could there be for an up-and-coming Polish mid laner than an org with a long history of raising talent from his country? It seemed like the stars aligned for Selfie to become the main carry of his new team and make a triumphant return to the EU LCS. 

And then he just… disappeared. 

Days before the beginning of the 2015 EU LCS Spring Split, Selfie took off with no explanation, and MYM had to play their first games with an emergency substitute. Two weeks later, Selfie came back and issued an apology for his “emotional” decision. However, it was easy to see that something happened behind the scenes. His positioning was off, his mechanics were shaky, and he simply didn’t look like the same player that once challenged the likes of Froggen and xPeke. 

It didn’t take long for fans to learn the reason behind this slump. As it turned out, Selfie had a massive conflict with his organization that involved several months of unpaid wages from his SHC days and threats from the MYM management. He tried to strike back by leaving MYM for the North American Challenger team Roar. Unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed to play in any official tournaments due to an existing contract with MeetYourMakers, so he had no choice but to return to Europe. 

In less than a month, Selfie went from a rising star to a cautionary tale on the dangers of shady contracts, and even Riot’s competitive ruling on this topic did little to help the Polish mid laner. Still, MeetYourMakers didn’t get away scot-free. Their 2015 Spring Split was nothing short of disastrous, and their 5-13 record put them into a last-place tiebreaker with Giants Gaming. The following loss cemented MYM as the worst team in the league, which, at the time, meant they were automatically eliminated from the EU LCS.

Pyrrhic victory

At first glance, MYM’s relegation should’ve been a good thing for Selfie. With his old org no longer being a part of the EU LCS, he could finally break out of the contract prison and look for a new home. Unfortunately for him, few teams were willing to risk changing their rosters in the middle of the season. The Polish mid laner spent the entire summer as a free agent, and it wasn’t until H2K Gaming approached him to become a temporary substitute for Ryu "Ryu" Sang-wook that Selfie got another chance to step onto the EU LCS stage.

Selfie played a total of six games for H2K, and 5 of them ended with a win. It would be disingenuous to attribute these victories to him, as Selfie suffered from a clear lack of synergy with his teammates. That said, he’s shown enough to prove that he could still compete at a high level, and while major teams still hesitated to approach him, this earned him a spot on Misfits Gaming.

Together with his new teammates, Selfie seamlessly qualified for the Challenger Series. In fact, Misfits were so far ahead of the curve that they breezed through the 2016 EU CS Summer Split, and it wasn’t until the Promotion Tournament that they lost their first series at the hand of Origen. Still, Misfits bounced back and took down FC Schalke 04 to break into the EU LCS.

Once again, it looked like Selfie was about to climb to the top of the EU LCS ladder. And—once again—he was brought down by things outside of the game. The official version was that Selfie and Misfits parted ways because they had a different vision for the team, however, there were plenty of rumors suggesting that the Polish mid laner was kicked after an argument with his manager. Whatever the case, Selfie found himself without a team. But as fate would have it, he would soon get another shot on the same org he defeated in the Promotion Tournament—FC Schalke 04.

Losing ground

If there’s one thing to note about Schalke in the 2017 EU CS Spring Split, it’s their overwhelming dominance. Much like Misfits, they were head and shoulders above other Challenger teams, and even casters started talking about them as if they were destined to make it into the EU LCS. To top it all off, Schalke got matched against Misfits Academy in the playoffs, which gave Selfie a chance to exact his revenge on the organization that dropped him last split. 

Yet, inexplicably, everything fell apart. 

The quarterfinals series against Misfits Academy was one of the biggest mental breakdowns in the EU CS history as none of Schalke’s players performed even remotely close to their usual standard. It felt like they were constantly a step or two behind their opponents, which was practically unheard of in the regular season. A 3-1 loss put an end to their run, and Selfie once again found himself on the job market.

Luckily, an opportunity presented itself when Tempo Storm approached him with an offer to play in the 2017 NA CS Summer Split. The roster was put together by Nick "LS" De Cesare—a coach that built up a great work relationship with Selfie during his SUPA HOT CREW days. Thus, signing with Tempo Storm was a no-brainer, even if it came at the cost of playing in the EU LCS.

By all means, this should’ve been Selfie’s breakthrough moment. However, the way the 2017 NA CS Summer Split unfolded was eerily similar to his time on Schalke. Tempo Storm established themselves as one of the best Challenger teams in the regular season, although they did meet some pushback from eUnited and Gold Coin United. And when the time came for the playoffs, they fell in their first Bo5. The fact that the series came down to the wire was a cold comfort for the Polish mid laner, and at that point, it truly looked like Selfie was destined for failure.

Dire straits

Selfie spent the off-season searching for a new team. At first, it seemed like he hit the jackpot by landing a job on Cloud9 Academy. Not only would this move give him a chance to fight for a spot on the starting lineup, but he’d also be able to learn from one of the best NA LCS mid laners, Jensen. Unfortunately, this blessing quickly turned into a curse. The negotiations fell through, and Selfie found himself without a team days before the start of the 2018 season. With that, most teams already signed other mid laners, so Selfie had to settle for playing in the Polish scene on Szata Maga.

However, he soon found an opportunity in another player’s misfortune. 

H2K Gaming had a hard time holding their own in the 2018 Spring Split, so they offered Selfie to come in as an emergency replacement for their underperforming mid laner. At the time, H2K’s 1-5 record put them at the very bottom of the EU LCS standings, and few players would consider boarding their sinking ship. But Selfie had nothing to lose. 

At first, his presence didn’t seem to change much for the struggling lineup, but once H2K paired him up with a veteran jungler in Ilyas "Shook" Hartsema, things took a turn for the better. With their help, H2K went 8-10 in the regular season and even outran Misfits Gaming in a race for the final playoffs spot—a feat that seemed close to impossible at the beginning of the season. And while H2K suffered a narrow 3-2 loss in their quarterfinals series against Team Vitality, Selfie and his teammates still built up enough momentum to have high hopes for the 2018 Summer Split.

And then patch 8.11 hit.

H2K’s strengths revolved around late-game teamfighting, and scaling carries were a key part of this equation. Patch 8.11 threw this strategy out of the window. Suddenly, League of Legends put a strong emphasis on early skirmishing, the bot lane was overrun by off-meta picks like Vladimir, Swain, and Heimerdinger, and H2K… well, H2K crumbled. 

What followed was a catastrophic 2-16 run that completely overshadowed their previous achievements. To make matters worse, Selfie subbed out in the middle of the regular season due to medical issues, so his team had to play two matches with a substitute mid laner. Of course, there was a chance H2K could bounce back in 2019, but a denied franchising application put an end to these ambitions. Selfie was officially back at square one.

Pressing on

It feels like Selfie’s stuck in a limbo. For his entire career, he was an emergency substitute, a faceless mercenary that came in to patch up holes in someone else’s sinking ship only to be cast away the moment a better alternative presented itself. Even on rare occasions when a team finally put its faith in him, there was always a sudden turn of events that tore everything apart.

Yet, Selfie's still willing to fight this fate. He’s still looking to prove his worth on FlyQuest Academy, determined to claw his way back to the LCS stage. And it’s this absolute refusal to give up in face of extraordinary adversities that certainly makes Selfie a player worth cheering for.

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Daniil Volkov

I craft League of Legends narratives and cover LCK, NA & EU LCS.