Maplestreet - 'I could’ve been the TSM sub AD when Chaox was there.'
Ainslie “Maplestreet” Wyllie, or “TheOddBro” as many people know him — referencing the connection he has with his brother, former Team SoloMid jungler, Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie - was a former League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) pro whose career finished earlier than expected.
A unique career, one that had him play on the LCS stage twice representing two different teams, Velocity eSports in 2013 and Team 8 the following year, abruptly ended after he helped Renegades qualify for the LCS’ 2016 Spring Split — once qualified, he stepped down.
This was the last of TheOddBro as the LCS knew it, a career of multiple seasons, but one that self-admittedly wasn’t the most luxurious. In his own mind, at the time, his life was the LCS, an experience that would help shape him into the person he is today.
“Well for me […] I guess, everything in my life eventually became that LCS experience, and it was just a learning experience at the end of it all. Because I played a crap-ton of video games and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and video games were like escapism for me. But, I was kinda good at it, and I’m just really happy I got the opportunity,” Maplestreet said. “Of course, I made mistakes in my career or done things I’m not super happy about. But the overall gist of it is that […] now that [I’m] far in the future I can look back on it and just better understand that no one's perfect, and while it wasn’t the most successful career, I’m just happy that I managed to do the things I did and get a little bit closer to understanding myself better.”
I could’ve been the TSM sub AD when Chaox was there but I just didn’t have much confidence in myself at the time.
Lack of confidence
After a career that many would not deem the most successful, he knew that he didn’t quite reach the top - something that many retired pros have a hard time dealing with. Pros strive to be the best and to not have that leaves one with an indescribable feeling.
“Some people think our family is talented, that me and Brian [are] the super genetic family. But the truth is like [...] I would grind so much in early League of Legends, and it took so much of my time and I still feel like I couldn’t quite reach the highest level I wanted. And I think that me and Brian have similar feelings. That — I don’t know — I couldn’t win the traditional way, so I always had to do something more creative, and I think that Brian did similar things in his career.”
This lack of self-confidence reached a place where not many know of. At the beginning of League of Legends esports, both he and his brother were pros in the scene. And at the time, there had never been two siblings playing on the same team in the LCS. That is still the case today.
“I could’ve been the TSM sub AD when Chaox was there, but I just didn’t have much confidence in myself at the time. And later on, WildTurtle would become the sub, and certainly, I think Turtle performed better than I would’ve ever. Because Turtle quite quickly rose up to become a semi prodigy in a way,” Maplestreet said. “So I potentially could’ve been there, but I did turn them down because I felt like I just didn’t have that much confidence in myself at that time in my life and I still admired TSM and said ‘Wow, these guys are just too good for me’.”
This decision could’ve very well changed the outcome in not just Team SoloMid’s performances in 2013 to 2014, but in the career path for Jason “WildTurtle” Tran who is still currently a pro. Maplestreet’s self-confidence, or lack thereof, set things in motion.
“I don’t think I would’ve ever been the ‘WildTurtle’ and just based on how it turned out; it was totally fine. As for other things, I don’t think I could’ve joined a team with him unless it was TSM because [...] I don’t know,” said Maplestreet while laughing. “For him, TSM was the team he was with for many many years. And I don’t see him moving to a smaller organisation when all of his deep-seated friendships were with Reginald and the team overall. I don’t think I would’ve been the great saviour of the team. And I’m still totally fine with how it turned out in the end and absolutely no hard feelings about that.”
I didn’t think I was the most dominant player mechanically and I don’t think I ever could be.
A change of pace - coaching in Japan
With 'TSM Maplestreet' never coming to fruition, out came another opportunity, one that he did not expect to happen, but was a natural fit for him.
Like many pros in the early days of League of Legends, Maplestreet found himself in a position where his organisation lacked the resources, this, in turn, put him on teams that were left as the sides that weren’t expected to win. “When I was playing League, I was always in the situation that was like the underdogs. The orgs I was on were not the richest — we didn’t have the most resources — but there was some nice comradery and [...] I just really enjoyed the feeling of surpassing our expectations,” Maplestreet said.
But that very same situation that opened the door to comradery was what led him to find another form of luxury post LCS career. One that would help him intertwine his LCS roots with his want to help others.
“I think I was always analytical in the game; I remember that I think I put more hours into studying the game when I was a pro than most of my peers, and I was always trying to do fast calculations in my head and always tried to get more information,” Maplestreet said. “Because I didn’t think I was the most dominant player mechanically and I don’t think I ever could be, but I almost always tried to jump on the new trends or the new champions and work things in a more creative fashion […] I guess it was like a natural transition.”
Nearly two years after his decision to step down from Renegades, Maplestreet found a new role — one that allowed him to utilise all that he learned from his LCS career. Maplestreet joined the League of Legends Japan League’s V3 Esports as a coach ending most recently with a year-long stint on Sengoku Gaming.
“I really enjoyed going to Japan and helping V3 qualify for LJL, and then, later on, I was on Sengoku where we started off with one of the worst records ever, but then we bounced all the way to one game away from the playoffs,” Maplestreet said. “So I was really happy that I got to see the players grow — the team grow. And it’s just nice to, I guess, to meet new people and see their passion and just be a little bit part of their life and make a positive impact on it […] that’s what I like doing a lot.”
Although a career that left much to be desired, Maplestreet was still able to find a place where he felt he could contribute, a place where he could take all he had learned and use it to teach the next generation of pros.
A career left with wanting more, but finished with no regrets. A career that — like many — started due to the love of the game, pouring hours upon hours into it, culminated in Maplestreet learning about himself and being able to help plant the seeds for future generations of League of Legends players.
“I played [League of Legends] because I spent 20 years playing video games at the time and it was just something I happened to be good at.”
Images via Riot Games