One of League of Legends most fiery players is stepping down after a long and illustrious career—albeit one that many say has dragged on a bit too long.
In the early days of League of Legends, Santiago was the star mid laner of SK Gaming, one of the game’s most beloved characters, famed for the fiery passion he showed on the big stage.
But his career was also controversial thanks to his brash attitude and the middling results after SK Gaming crumbled at the end of 2013 in the League Championship Series. He’s since struggled to return to the LCS with a team of his own making, Gamers 2, which has been a staple of the challenger scene but that’s never been able to reach the next level.
That has not stopped Santiago from reportedly making a pretty penny off League of Legends. He’s parlayed his fame as one of the game’s early stars and one of its entertaining personalities into a lucrative career. In 2013, he claimed to make nearly $1 million a year thanks to merchandising, salary, streaming, and sponsorships. Granted, that’s likely an exaggerations, but it isn’t a stretch to say that Santiago’s likely a better businessman than he is gamer at this point in his career. This move was a long time coming.
He revealed his decision in a short video titled “THANK YOU,” noting that a more in-depth look into his thought process and career in a two hour interview with journalist Duncan “Thoriin” Shields.
One reason Santiago is quitting? The LCS format has sapped his passion. He tells Shields that attending events like the Intel Extreme Masters fuelled his competitive drive, but in the LCS format, living in Cologne, playing in front of a small audience, Santiago just “wasn’t happy.”
Last week, Santiago released a Spanish book, with an English release pending, roughly titled:
the most followed gamer
Here begin your dreams
achieve the success you want”
Whether Santiago is “the most followed gamer” is certainly up for debate, though his social media presence is certainly impressive. More importantly, he really did achieve his pro gaming dreams. Few players accomplished what he has, in terms of financial success as well as success as a player. Few players features his passion, both in the positive way it came out in huge moments on stage, feeding off the frenzy of the crowd to pull off a clutch performance, and the way it sometimes got him into trouble.
It’s been a long ride for Santiago, from his days as a World of Warcraft pro in the previous decade to his League of Legends career starting in 2010. But few will disagree it’s time to start a new chapter.