Veteran talent Fabian ‘Febiven’ Diepstraten had a break from the limelight, but the Dutch mid laner is back and eager to show he belongs in a top area once again.
Only in esports is it possible for a professional player to play for several teams across multiple locations over the course of seven years, retire, and then come out of retirement before the age of 26.
But this is esports, and that player is Fabian ‘Febiven’ Diepstraten. After competing in the EU LCS, the NA LCS, and the NLC, he retired at the age of 25. He was a member of the historic Fnatic team that went undefeated during a split. This team is the only European team to have achieved this feat.
Though he was on the elder end of the professional scene, he was by no means beyond his prime, therefore his retirement was a surprise to the League of Legends community. He criticized professional League of Legends players’ work ethic in his retirement statement, adding, “very few players who are ready to provide 110%.”
The news of his comeback to professional play was even more unexpected than his retirement. After just three wins over the course of the Summer split, the LFL roster Mirage Elyandra brought him in as a last-ditch effort to save them from relegation. His time with Mirage is over, and he’s eager to return to top-tier League competition.
A break from the limelight
If you worked in any other field, the idea of retiring at 25 would seem completely out of place. However, Febiven reached the age of 25 and decided that she had had enough of the peculiarities of the esports industry.
He said to Dexerto, “I simply felt that it was the correct thing to do.” Everything about playing remotely seemed different, and I could tell I needed a break. I simply didn’t feel like playing anymore, and I’m not sure why. Maybe I just needed a break to regroup my thoughts and get my mojo back.
At first, he intended to dedicate himself entirely to streaming. He assigned himself a year to fully commit to streaming and test out the lifestyle; but, after broadcasting just solo queue games for a time, he found he still had “so much left in the tank” as far as competitive play was concerned.
Thought about getting into teaching, “but when I play League, I just feel like I should be playing competitively,” he added. When I’m competing, I feel like my time is far from done. Every time I watched a tournament, I had this nagging sensation that I “should be playing” since my skill level was still very good.
The grind of the solo queue so began. A short time after he had this insight, Mirage Elyandra contacted out to see if he would be willing to assist them in avoiding relegation. He accepted the position, and during his tenure the squad went undefeated in two best-of-five series, allowing them to escape relegation to LFL Division 2 by a single game.
An intense return
Febiven has thrived under pressure throughout his career, and now he must do it again in order to save Mirage Elyandra from being relegated.
It’s no easy task to come back after an extended absence and rescue a floundering squad. But Febiven stated he felt no more pressure coming back with Mirage than he would have on any other squad, regardless of the circumstances, since he has always held himself to a high level of performance, and that adds its own pressure.
To put pressure on oneself comes naturally to me, he added; it’s constantly there. Still, I entered Mirage with a high sense of self-assurance about my abilities as a player and a leader, and that feeling hasn’t wavered. I like to think of myself as a calm person, but I went to Mirage because I was certain it would bring the team the victories they desperately needed.
And sure enough, he was right in thinking so. The influence he’s had on Mirage Elyandra has been extraordinary, and it’s uncertain if he’ll be returning for the 2023 season or not. His arrival coincided with an almost immediate improvement in the team’s regular season performance, even though their competition was undoubtedly inferior.
One of his strengths is leadership, as he himself acknowledges. That’s to be expected, given his lengthy career in professional sports. That quality helped him immensely on Mirage, but he also attributes much of his success there to his own talent.
He said, “In the ERLs, I think the players are a little bit poorer than in tier one, therefore I normally feel I have an advantage.” As a result, I am able to play a wide variety of champions without compromising my consistency or adaptability. I’d like to think my work ethic is very excellent, and I have a lot of information to draw on as team leader.
He is correct in his mechanics. Pick a measurable metric to assess player performance, and he was likely among the top five during the LFL relegations. The tournament participant with the greatest average kills per game (4.3), the second-best KDA (6.7), and the third-highest damage sharing (29.3% of his team’s damage). The list continues.
And despite the fact that he was competing against inferior opponents than in the past, his statistics demonstrate he has not lost a stride.
I do not live in regret
No athlete with a lengthy career is devoid of regrets. Nevertheless, Febiven is convinced that, if given the chance, he would do it all over again, although admitting that there were times when his career stalled or he wasn’t really progressing.
He emphasized, “I don’t actually live in regret.” “There is nothing I would alter if I could go back in time, since that’s impossible, right? I don’t spend much time lingering on these kind of ideas since they don’t make me happy; I’d much rather concentrate on the present and accept that what has occurred, has happened.
“However, I do offer some suggestions for other individuals, notably newer gamers. If you are at the pinnacle of your job, distractions will inevitably arise. I believe that athletes must minimize their ability to get sidetracked. Obviously, it’s crucial to have a healthy balance in your life, but I believe that your connections with others are quite influential, and you should be very selective about who you spend time with.
Although he sees his current work ethic as excellent, he acknowledges that it wasn’t always that way, mentioning his stint on H2k in the EU LCS in 2014 as an example of a time when he was “sort of casual” in terms of his professional approach.
“My relationship with my girlfriend at the time was not going well,” he claimed. “I would say that it had a significant impact on me; I became pretty anxious, and I’m certain that this stunted my development. I feel as like I misplaced my energy, which I believe I brought with me to NA after leaving H2K. But I suppose that’s life, right? You desire to experience things, thus you will go through many stages. You experience both highs and lows.”
Although he has no regrets about his time on the squad, his laid-back attitude and a stressful era in his personal life had a negative impact on his development, which is still having effects.
“In the esports community, if you see a performance decline, it will be seriously considered,” emphasized Febiven. “If you win one year and then lose the next year, you will be looked down upon.
“However, I believe it is a normal aspect of competition – I learnt so much throughout those years. I had to move on and work my way up, focusing only on my art and the thing I’ve been working on for so long.”
What will the future bring?
The contract between Mirage and Febiven ends on November 21. He does not yet know what his future contains, but he is convinced that he wants to continue competing.
His first objective is to return to the LEC or LCS. “Obviously, I want to compete at the best level possible,” he stated.
“When you play in LEC or LCS, everything is of a higher caliber, from the competition to Riot’s management of the situation. And obviously, you get to play in the studio every weekend, which I believe makes everything more complete. Moreover, the incomes are definitely greater.”
However, despite the benefits of playing in a premier league, he is open to playing in an ERL if it is the only alternative available.
“I have no issue with going to an ERL if I am not selected for LCS or LEC,” he stated. “There are some highly professional organizations in the ERLs, and I’d suggest that some of them might produce more than certain LEC clubs. But in the end, everything rests on the team.”
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