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qxc Speaks: IEM Cologne in Retrospect

Post written by Kevin “qxc” Riley of compLexity Gaming.


It’s been about a week since I returned from IEM Cologne. While I did not achieve victory, I feel like I achieved success. I overcame some significant personal weaknesses and put on a better performance than I have in a while because of specific planning and consideration. In the past, jet lag has been one of my most significant issues. I can remember being woken up to play a match at MLG (when I was traveling from Europe) years ago. Unfortunately, due to the infrequency of international travel, it isn’t easy to figure out the optimal approach for dealing with jet lag.

This time around, I stayed up for a long time and stayed at the venue until late so that other players and staff could help me stay awake until it was time to sleep. I slept a lot and at the right hours, got some exercise in and even napped before my actual match. All in all, I was in about the best mental state I could be in, all considered.

Then two things happened. The first is that I may have let myself get too hyped up. I tend to be a very high strung person. My stress levels generally remain consistently high and I have to make a real concerted effort to relax and bring my mental state down. My natural state of being is to want to fight and compete. I’ve always had an addiction to competition and I hate losing. I knew going into this tournament many viewed me as the ‘walk-over’ in the group, and one of my main goals was to show a level of play that surpassed expectations. After taking the first game vs Patience easily, I expected to advance. Perhaps the expectation of advancing affected me. I got too eager or something. I’m not entirely sure, but I felt like some of my decision making was not quite up to par with what I expect in subsequent games.

I was so excited that I was playing well. This is my way of yelling at the nay-sayers.

I was so excited that I was playing well. This is my way of yelling at the nay-sayers.

In game 3 vs Patience, I had a strong position with upgrade advantage, superior unit composition and the potential for a stronger economy when I committed to a poor fight and failed to defend some zealots in my natural at the same time. In just a few moments my position crumbled and I gave up the series narrowly. Despite it all, I was still feeling good. My condition was strong and after a brief analysis courtesy of Kaelaris, I felt like I had a good handle on not just specifically why I lost, but how I could have won. That analysis is below in the Youtube link.


Losses always hurt, but I had shown good games and felt confident that I could continue doing so. My greatest frustration is always with myself. When I play poorly for one reason or another I am saddened greatly. No matter what happened in the rest of my games, I felt that the entire tournament would be a success after how I had played vs Patience. Nothing could prevent me from showing my skill in the next series vs Dear. I was ready to play and I had planned everything out. That’s what I thought at the time, and it is with incredible sadness that I look back and remember reality.


My mouse that I had been using for months failed me. The mouse that I had played hundreds if not thousands of hours on had suddenly failed when I needed it most. I cannot remember the last time my equipment failed me (without probable cause). I tried a few different mice that other players and staff had on hand, but nothing was quite the same. I adjusted my sensitivity and tried to make the best of the situation, but it was no use. I had been taken too completely out of my comfort zone and couldn’t focus on the game. I was spending so much focus just trying to make my clicks accurate and quick that I was missing little things and becoming sloppy in game.

My position is solid here. I have a 3rd base, better upgrades and higher supply.


In a moment of inattention my army is caught out of position. Dear has only two storms, but they do the job.



And the game ended just like that. The second game was one sided as I lost focus and began to shift into dangerously negative mental territory. While the scoreboard may not look much different from my previous IEM’s, the level of play I exhibited was on an entirely new level until I had to switch mice.


After my loss, I took a short walk and tried to calm down. I thought on my games and considered what I could do differently. Somehow it still felt like it was my fault even though at the same time it seemed like a freak accident. Progamers use their equipment in practice for 1000 times longer than they do in competition. Sheer probability says that if something is to fail, it will likely do so in practice rather than competition and that I was just unlucky. Despite logic, I was disappointed. I felt like I had squandered an incredible opportunity. Advancing from my group or even taking a series from one of my opponents would have been great personal progress.

That mouse has since been shelved and I ordered two replacement ones. I won’t take this chance again. I’ve already looked back and learned what I can. Now I look forward to future competitions where I can prove that I am an international contender. I do have what it takes to fight the best and I will show everyone my strength.

4 thoughts on “qxc Speaks: IEM Cologne in Retrospect”

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone saw the incredible plays you made and we know whow close the games were. You showed beautiful games and we have no doubt that you’ll be even better next time. Know that the entire chat was rooting for you and will continue to root for you whenever you play.

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