Lucas “Mendokusaii” Håkansson is living out his life’s dream at the age of 19 years old. Every week he gets to take to the stage of Blizzard’s newly converted Burbank Studio in California to compete in the Overwatch League as part of OpTic Gaming’s Houston Outlaws. Once home to The Tonight Show, the freshly crowned Blizzard Arena stands as testament to both the spectacle that esports has become and the sum of $696 million the industry was projected to make in 2017.
During the first week of stage two of the Overwatch league in February this year, Spectators watched the action unfold on the arena’s three giant screens, which wrap around the players on stage like an LED-heated embrace. As the Houston Outlaws began their match against the London Spitfire, the monitors bathe the assembled crowd in the calming, summery tones of Ilios - a map inspired by Greece and the Aegean Sea. Ten minutes later the same screens burst into a vibrant shade of lime green, causing the crowd to roar as the Outlaws take the game against the stage one champions. Another feather for Håkansson’s cap.
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Despite his young age, the pro player has already been on a hell of a journey. While growing up in Sweden, he quickly decided that his would be a life of competitive gaming, or bust. He picked up Counter-Strike at the age of four before getting his own Steam account for his sixth birthday - which let him expand his repertoire. As he moved into his teens he began trying his hand at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Natural Selection 2.