It's been 218 days since Mike "MikeYeung" Yeung played his first LCS game on Phoenix 1. In that time, less than a year, he's competed internationally, coached a Scouting Grounds team, and become starting jungler for TSM.
Tomorrow, he'll play for the first time in a SoloMid jersey. Today, we're looking back on his 218 days, with insight and stories from the people who've worked closest with him.
But first, a bit of cheesy advice from Mike himself:
I think the main thing that I think about when someone asks me if I can give some insight on how I've progressed in my career -- and even though this might sound cheesy, it's something I've held dear to myself when I heard it:
In 6th grade, I was told the line the first by one of my teachers. "Just be grateful. Just be grateful for what you can experience in life, and learn from that."
And then also something from a famous Marvel film that I love, Spiderman, which is, "With great power comes great responsibility." And even though that's really cheesy, it's something that I think is really easy to latch onto.
June 17, DAY 1: MIKEYEUNG debuts as PHOENIX 1's starting jungler
It was easy to tell when we picked Mike up that he genuinely wanted to be great at the game.
You could arguably say that about most players at the professional level, but with Mike, he devoured any information that was given to him, whether it be from coaches, his fellow teammates, or analysts. He'd go the extra mile, practicing for extra hours or asking as many questions as people would answer.
He's got a great attitude for pro play, but he isn't remotely close to where he needs to be yet skill and experience wise. Playing on TSM is going to be a tall order, and if he keeps pushing himself in the manner mentioned above, he could be a top player by the end of 2018. The important part is that he keeps that passion, and he stays grounded involving any hype around him.
July 5, Day 19: COMPETES INTERNATIONALLY AT RIFT RIVALS, LEAVES 4-2
What I noticed about Mike at Rift Rivals was that he never really felt like a rookie. It was technically only his 3rd or 4th stage appearance, but he acted as he'd been there a million times before. Mike had been waiting for the moment to prove himself on the big stage for a long, long time.
Even crazier, he handled his press and media obligations better than the veterans on the team. While I was pulling teeth trying to get all the other players ready for their interviews, I remember specifically not being able to find Mike anywhere.
I eventually took the rest of the guys to makeup, and there Mike was. He'd already gone by himself, and was ready for his on-camera appearances.
Mike has a deep understanding of media and the role it plays in esports careers. He uses it well: bringing a new, hand-crafted presentation to every interview. While it may seem like the community picked Mike out and made him a rookie star, most people don't know just how much work he was doing himself to facilitate that fame.
august 23, day 68: awarded ROOKIE OF THE SPLIT
Ever since day 0, Mike was fully invested in his own growth and personal development as a player. You could tell the only thing on his mind was his play and his team and winning. He was always the last player to go to bed after soloq block. Mike is still very young so it's fun to see the vast difference between his serious work - mode attitude and the way he conducts himself outside of practice or when he is goofing off and "trolling" his teamates or myself and coach Fly.
I will always feel regret for not providing Michael with a winning team for his debut season. But I will always be proud of his accomplishments and future experiences as a pro gamer. I know he will do great things. Michael has a bright future ahead of him and his time at P1 was only a small glimpse on the potential that this young man has to offer us as an industry.
nov 23, day 160: joins tsm as starting jungler
Mike has a few things that set him apart from a lot of LCS players, his competitiveness, and his willingness to be coached hard. He'll compete with anyone he can (especially those he respects), he wants to be worked and shaped into being great, and he's not afraid of the learning moments. He's going to be a problem for the league if Ssong and their leaders work him hard.
nov 27, DAY 164: COACHES TSM'S SCOUTING GROUNDS TEAM
When I first interviewed Mike Yeung after one of his first matches this summer, he struck me as a diligent person who was more self-assured than most would be in his position. Usually newer players to the LCS are a bit nervous or fidgety in interviews — this is hardly a slight, it's more expected since they have less media training — but Mike seemed already trained.
I then had the opportunity to shadow Mike, and Team SoloMid general manager Parth Naidu, while they trained a group of five players at this year's Scouting Grounds. Mike had a lot of confidence in himself and his players. He repeated things as much as possible to ensure that what he said stuck with them, and he always made it clear that he believed in their abilities. Because he was always direct, they knew they could take Mike at his word. I think it really showed the depth of his ability to be a strong teammate as well.
jan 20, DAY 218: MIKE WILL PLAY HIS FIRST GAME AS TSM MIKEYEUNG
Mike Yeung will be a star. The Mike that we saw last year was one that had a bright start but faded quickly, something that has been common among NA rookie junglers.
Most players will be comfortable in the playstyle that got them to the pro level and focus on improving only that. The best players are those who are willing to adjust and fail in order to improve. Time and time again whether it's in solo queue or at All-Stars, Mike is willing to make mistakes in playstyles he hasn't fully mastered yet.
The Mike Yeung of last year was good. The Mike Yeung of next year will be great and it'll only get better.