Although his career in Europe has just started, Mitchell "Destiny" Shaw will already go down in the history books: he's the first Australian player to ever play on the largest League of Legends stage Europe has to offer. After conquering the Oceanic Pro League, the Support player has set his eyes on the LEC trophy. Destiny joined Inven Global's Tom Matthiesen to talk about being picked up by Origen, moving to the other side of the world, and what it means to represent a minor region on a large stage.
You've been in Europe for almost a full Split now, but let's dial it back a bit. What went through your head when you heard that Origen was interested in you?
When I was first told about it by my manager at MAMMOTH I thought he was trolling. We were in the hotel lobby here in Germany, boot camping for Worlds. They were somehow watching our scrims, and I thought: "Oh sh*t, there's an actual chance I might be picked up!" I've wanted to be picked up since 2017. I really wanted to go overseas after Worlds. It's hard, being Oceanic. There's not much you can do besides going to Korean boot camps or knowing someone in an organization. It's hard to build connections or to even get scrims. So yeah, I was pretty excited about it.
So you heard about Origen's interest during Worlds, when you were still playing with MAMMOTH? That must've been a strange experience.
Dude, I was super nervous! *laughs* I remember the night before my Worlds games, I thought: "Sh*t, if I play really badly, I might not get picked up." But I think I played ok at Worlds.
You also mentioned that you had wanted to go overseas since 2017. Did you have a preference for any major region?
To be honest, not really. As long as it was a major region. I'm kind of grateful that it ended up being EU because I think the solo queue here is a lot better than NA's. It's also really competitive here. With my values—I'm a very competitive person—I feel like this is a lot better for my development than NA would have been. I feel like the growth in their solo queue isn't as good as it is here. But I would probably have taken any foot in the door.
"Once you go overseas you realize just how much better the players are."
That last sentiment, about taking any foot in the door, must be something that lives among many Oceanic players.
For sure! Once you go overseas you realize just how much better the players are. Seeing how much effort you've put in despite being so far away from them... I sometimes wonder how much better I could've been if I started in a major region. It took players like Mikyx and Hylissang a couple of Splits to get good. I sometimes think: If I didn't start in OCE, and I started in NA or EU, my career could've been very different.
It sounds like you're saying that you've missed the chance to ever reach their height.
I genuinely feel sorry for wildcard players, or Play-In region players. They simply don't have the resources that other regions do. It's not their fault—it's nobody's fault. It's not our fault if Australians don't want to watch OPL. I just wish for those players, who truly want to do well and put in the effort, time, and money, that I'm a person who can show that it is possible to get there.
I don't want to be the next generation to be like: "I'm stuck in a Play-In region, I won't do anything that's good." That's just negative. I want to bring some positivity to my region, bring some flair to the LEC. *laughs* People probably don't expect an Australian to be here, but I would really like for the LEC to be my home now.
You moved to literally the other side of the world. How was that for you?
Pretty crazy. The weather's obviously different, there are different languages... When I got to Germany everyone spoke German, when I went to Copenhagen it was all Danish... Half of the time I'm just like: "... what?" But it's good! People have been nice. The team has been taking care of me. All the staff, all the players have been very welcoming to me. I was surprised by the players' response, to be honest. If I were Alphari or Upset, and I'd hear that we'd be getting an Oceanic Support player, I'd be like: "Why?" You know? "Why don't we get player X who I'm friends with?" But it feels good to know that my teammates have my back. They trust that can I can outdo what people expect, and they think that I am the best option.
Origen helped me with my apartment here. André [Guilhoto], the coach, picked me up from the airport and made sure I was comfortable. Deficio was helping me out a lot in the beginning. He was like: "You need this? I'll get you this." Things like a bank account, visa... He tells me things like: "If I need a bike, go to this place." They were really helpful.
Moving doesn't just involve meeting new things, but also means that you're leaving a lot behind. How was that?
Well, it sucks. But I know that, if you go into League of Legends professionally, you have to make sacrifices. I know I won't see my mom. I won't see my friends. I love Australia. I think it's a great country. People are nice, the food is great, the culture is good. It can be really hot. recently we had floods, fires, now they're running out of toilet paper... *laughs* It's a crazy country.
I just want to do this. It's something that I've been very passionate about. I'm glad I've committed myself to it. I know that I will keep playing League until I have hit a cap, or when I'm just bored by it. I still love the game, and I want to set an example and show that, regardless of where you're from, you can do something great if you really care.
Do you stay in touch with the people back home often?
Yeah. I always message my mom. She's really supportive, always watches the games et cetera. My friends ask me "Hey, how are you doing?" and my old teammates ask me things like "Are your new teammates like us?" *laughs* The culture is very different, so it's good to have a bit of both. I have a good balance at the moment.
"I want to set an example and show that, regardless of where you're from, you can do something great if you really care."
You've been here a few weeks now. Talk to me about the experiences you've had living and playing in the LEC so far.
It's been a rollercoaster. I think that's the best way to explain it. When we win, I feel there are so many things that I could be doing better. I don't celebrate a victory as much. I feel like it's a European thing. You win, but you know that there's someone better than you. I always know that Mikyx, for instance, is better than I. I know how much I have to improve to get to where he's at. It hurts the ego: knowing that I was the best in my region, and then coming here and seeing this player. He's good. I just have to work for it.
When I first came here, I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to perform. That might've hindered my performance. When we lose, it does hurt. There's a lot of team talk, a lot of criticism. People aren't afraid to speak their minds here, but I like the rollercoaster. It makes life interesting. If we just had a perfect Split, I'd be over the moon but it wouldn't be as fun. The same goes for the opposite of course: if we'd only lost, I'd have thought: "Hm, maybe I shouldn't have come," you know? *laughs*
Have you brought anything new to Origen with your OPL experience?
I would say my aggressiveness. I feel like I'm not afraid to do things. Like you could see against G2 especially: I do die quite some times. *laughs* I view myself as a player in-between Hylissang and Mikyx. I try to play calculated, but at the same time I'm not afraid to just go in. I'll hook if I think it is good, or if my teammates tell me to go. I tell my team what I think is good, and they respect that decision. I feel that it's similar to OCE, where everyone would just speak their opinions.
Other than the skill difference between the OPL and the LEC, what have you had to adjust to when playing here in Europe?
To be honest, not much. I feel that, in terms of macro play, Oceania isn't that far behind. I felt that at least my team, MAMMOTH, was on par with the mid-tier LEC teams. This might be a bold statement, but we were doing well at Worlds. Obviously Oceania has taken a hit. I think the skill level of the region has drastically gone down now.
But not much is different between OPL and LEC. Besides the crowd. The crowd is awesome. Playing on the stage and hearing the chants is amazing.
Seeing your old region go down in quality, as you say, must be disappointing to see.
It sucks to see. They don't have a player salary minimum anymore, so the bottom teams can literally interchange players and not pay them much. That hurts the whole region's performance, obviously. I'm not sure if that's going on—I'm not aware of what players are getting, but it's not much. I know that the top teams like Chiefs Esports Club, Legacy, and Order, they all really care and are a great bunch of guys. The OPL broadcast is really entertaining, great to watch.
Do you think the OPL will recover?
I think eventually it will. I think it just takes time for the new players to kick in. I think as long as people like myself, Ryoma, and FBI keep setting examples for the next generation, the region will bounce back. Hopefully, we can get the next generation to say: "They're able to do it, so why wouldn't I be able to do it?" That's a big goal for us.
You've had almost a Split's worth of experience now. What can we expect from you for the rest of this LEC season?
This is my first Split. Overall, I think I've played better than I thought I would. I'd say against G2 in particular my performances were average. But against teams like Rogue or other mid-tier teams, I feel like I've played well. I think a lot of people are underrating me and Upset so far.
For me, if I perform at my best, I'm happy. Again, this is my first Split here. If I place, like, top three or something like that, I can be happy with the result. Obviously, I can't tell you that we're gonna do bad and give up! *laughs* We want to win the LEC. We want to go to Worlds.
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.