Koyful is ready to take the ALGS Championship by storm.
The rise of 17-year-old Israel "Koyful" Lawrence has been nothing short of meteoric. In June, he was playing in the Challenger Circuit. Now, just 3 months later, he is competing in the biggest Apex Legends LAN event there is.
Koyful's rise has been so fast that he is making his LAN debut before he has even played in the ALGS Pro League. He has been a substitute, but never a starting player.
Now, with his Mom watching on from the crowd Koyful is ready to announce himself to the ALGS alongside Sentinels at the ALGS Championship.
esports.gg spoke to Koyful on media day, ahead of competition getting under way.
Koyful feeling more excited than nervous
Koyful would be forgiven for feeling incredible nerves ahead of his LAN debut. However, he says he feels more excited than nervous and can't wait to get going.
"I'd say I'm feeling more excited than nervous. I could definitely be one of the top fraggers at least I feel like I could definitely. Of course, it's like my first LAN. I'm nervous, but I feel once l get to like playing in front of my monitor, I'll get over that feeling."
Koyful will feel confidence from the extensive preparation that Sentinels have put in before the event gets underway. Scrims and TDM matches against other pro teams have helped Koyful adjust to the pace of the professional circuit.
"Well, personally I think it's a huge jump from CC (Challenger Circuit) to Pro League level to like where I hear you and like now and like champs level, it's actually like a huge jump.
"In CC's, it was pretty easy for me. But when I got to Pro League level and Champs and now I'm playing all these big names, I would say it's a lot harder. It takes, like a lot more skill and thinking to be at this level."
Koyful went on to say that he feels he has stepped up since joining Sentinels, and his evolution will only continue as the ALGS Championship goes on.
Asking Verhulst to swap shirts
One of the by products of Koyful's fast pass to the top level of ALGS is that he is now competing against his idols. Verhulst is the player he was most excited to meet.
"Definitely Verhulst is my favourite player of all time. I've met him and I asked if we could jersey swap. He said yeah, so I am really excited."
Koyful is also being careful not to be overwhelmed by the prospect of facing players like Verhulst.
"Well, usually when I think about it too much, I do get overwhelmed. But once I'm actually in game, I just kind of walk in and I get really focused and everything that I'm thinking about it just goes away. So I just get really focused on the game."
Teammates experience will be key
While much is being made of Koyfuls debut, and his lack of experience, he has some of the best possible teammates for his LAN debut. RKN and Xenial are experienced veteran players with lots of LAN experience. EA even invited RKN to share his experiences at the Split 2 Playoffs as a member of the broadcast team.
"Obviously this is my first LAN and they have a tonne of experience. They're not rookies like me and they help me a lot in game and out of game. They usually give me lot of tips.
"But I definitely do think that I want to learn in my own way to try to understand the game and get better in my own ways. Taking tips and advice from them is good. But, I think that if I just take the time to learn about my own game it would make me like the best of all time."
The ambition of the debutant is clear to see. Can Koyful be the best of all time?
"Definitely, for sure."
Koyful's friends now take his LAN dream seriously
Before his professional Apex career accelerated, Koyful was like any other teenager. Focused on School, playing Apex ranked with his Brother. He made the swap from Console to PC to try his hand at competitive.
Unsurprisingly, his friends were sceptical at first about his career in esports.
"When I first started competing and I was trying to take it serious, obviously they were doubtful. When you see someone who's trying to make a career in a video game, it's obviously hard.
"But once you like start to play in tournaments, actually start to win money, then you. gain over their trust. Now at my level, they talk to me about it a lot and they find it like super cool. They usually just try to bond over with me and they usually talk about it.
"Now that I'm playing at Champs and it's going to be streamed and everything they're going to be watching it and supporting me."
Koyful's Mom and Sister are in the crowd
Another challenge for aspiring gamers is winning over your parents. Naturally, Koyfuls Mom wanted him to focus on School, not video games. However, like with his friends, once he started to win money she realised the talent and potential that he has.
Koyful's Mom and sister have made the journey to Birmingham to watch him compete. The rest of his family will be watching from home.
"It feels amazing [to have family here]. It gives me a confidence boost. You know, my mom's watching so I have to play good!"
Koyful and Sentinels will begin their Pro League campaign today as the group stage gets underway. Are we about to witness the birth of another ALGS star?