"I could not ask for more than the title of Rookie of the Split. This is the perfect split for me.”
When Iván "Razork" Martín Díaz was asked to describe himself, he mentioned being a player who is willing to sacrifice the spotlight to see his teammates shine. This split, however, despite the selfless acts, the Misfit’s Jungler was awarded the title of “Rookie of the Split” on Friday afternoon.
Iván recalls growing up in a modest family, where his mother helped children with less resources get access to free meals in a public organization, while his father sold Citroen cars. His older brother, who will soon graduate to be a biologist, nurtured his passion for LoL Esports, watching tournaments together.
“Ever since League of Legends was in beta, I was playing it. I didn’t have a mouse and the internet was really bad, so I played with a lot of lag and on my laptop’s touchpad. Even with the terrible conditions, the game really grew on me, so I kept playing it. Eventually, I made it to Silver in Season 3, so I kept on playing as a hobby until I hit Master at 15 years old. Back then, I remember asking myself if I could actually make it to pro.”
The advantage kids from the 2000s have over the first wave of esports fans is a solid career path to look up to. The jungler remembers watching professional players in big tournaments, specifically Rekkles and Caps, wanting to follow their footsteps. “At some point, I was giving up school because I wanted to go home and play League of Legends and keep climbing the solo queue ladder. I really wanted to hit Challenger," said Iván.
Giants Gaming had signed Iván in 2018, where he got to experience his highest level of professional play yet. “At some point in the league I felt like I was choking a little. I was not at my best form and felt stuck. Before winning the Spanish League, I had no confidence in myself as a player, but going into EU Masters changed me," recalls the player.
After going 3-2 in the Spanish League finals, he had lost a bet against his former team manager, where he would shave his head if they won. “I regret that decision a bit, but I did get to basically do a Lee Sin cosplay, since I played him in EU Masters. I am not sure that helped with the confidence, but at that time I started playing like a maniac," said Iván with a laugh.
At his time in the Spanish League, he had crossed paths with Petr "denyk" Haramach. It was no surprise that after their performance in EU Masters, spotlights would be turned to Vodafone Giants’ players. Both Petr and Iván had received offers to join the LEC with Misfits Gaming. Iván recalls, "denyk helped me a lot to adapt to Berlin. I was 18 when I got here. It was hard to be here on my own, but with him, it was easier. I already knew and played with him, so he is basically my dad now.”
Settling into Misfits Gaming, Iván went in with little expectations, knowing the team was decent, but needed time to improve and reach its peak, hopefully by the Summer Split. Making it to the playoffs came as a surprise. He explains that playing in a higher-tier league also means that you have to adapt to a more sophisticated routine, which can be very overwhelming at times. When times are tough, Razork has found that teammate Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten, who acts as a role model on the team, has been there to help boost team morale and put things in perspective.
“After our first weeks on stage, I realized that if we don’t work hard we won’t accomplish anything. We were playing scared, but we needed to find our style and try our best and keep improving. When we started winning the team quickly became confident and we started to make really good plays. If you can feel you can beat anyone, you can beat anyone,” shares the Jungler.
Crowned Rookie of the Split by the LEC voting committee, he asserts: "I could not ask for more than the title of Rookie of the Split. This is the perfect split for me.”