Jake “Boaster” Howlett is one of the most recognizable names in VALORANT esports today and is widely considered the most beloved name in Europe. People know him as the glue that keeps Fnatic together and is an irreplaceable IGL to the team that no one can replace. However, did you know that FNC Boaster didn’t start out as a VALORANT player and transitioned to the scene from a failed career in League of Legends esports?
FNC Boaster: The CS:GO Player
Boaster began his career as a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, being part of a minor league team that competed in B-Tier and lower tournaments. In the scene, he managed to win a handful of relevant tournaments and even placed high in a lot of others earning approximately 10,000 USD in prize money during his time in the game. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it into the major leagues due to being overlooked for other rising names.
Jake Howlett spent three years playing in different teams. This is the time when he used his IGN, which he kept until he successfully transitioned to VALORANT. There are many CS:GO players who managed to successfully transition from the game to VALORANT but Boaster’s case is unique because he spent a long time away from professional FPS since the next chapter of his life took a very unexpected turn that would lead him where he is today.
FNC Boaster: The League of Legends Pro?!
In a surprising turn of events, Boaster announced that he would retire from professional CS:GO to attempt to make it into League of Legends esports. The FPS genre and MOBA genre were completely different games that did not make it easy for him to transition. Unfortunately, this might be one of the reasons why Boaster failed to make a name for himself in the esports despite dedicating himself to playing the game professionally and hopefully making it into the LEC.
Boaster’s failure to make it into the major League of Legends tournament scene did not dishearten him from following his dream. He took a break from playing and instead took the path of being an interviewer to learn more about the game through the perspective of the players. He joined Excel under the name Minicras as a substitute player but eventually transitioned to being a vlogger for the organization.
It was during his time as an interviewer for Excel that he gained some level of prominence from League of Legends fans. His bright personality and unique questioning style made it extremely fun to watch him on stream. He understood the game that he worked so hard to make a career out of and gave the viewers something more relatable to watch while giving himself more insight on how he can work towards being a League of Legends pro in the future.
Boaster still hoped to make a career out of League of Legends but the lack of opportunity and the notoriety of LoL esport’s extremely low age bracket requirement meant that it was close to impossible for him to make it despite how hard he works. Luckily, Riot Games recently announced a promising new title in VALORANT in 2020 where he might take another leap of faith in taking his career in esports to the next level.
FNC Boaster: The VALORANT Legend
Boaster played and streamed VALORANT where he managed to take his experience playing professional CS:GO and translate it into this very similar title. He found success during the beta phase of VALORANT and attracted the attention of the fans thanks to his showmatches. He also competed in a lot of minor tournaments in various teams where he found mixed success. Eventually, Fnatic scouted his team SUMN FC into the new FNC VALORANT roster.
Once the official VCT Series kicked off in 2021, Fnatic was one of the teams that competed in the tournament. The roster proved to be a powerhouse in the league, finding success here and there and winning some leagues. They would eventually compete in the first international tournament of the VALORANT series where they showcased their position as the top team of EMEA but came short against eventual champions – Sentinels.
FNC Boaster became an icon once he entered the international stage because of his antics and fun personality that he brought from his time as an interviewer. He already had a large following since most of the people who knew him during his time in the LEC also started watching VALORANT. It also helped that Fnatic is one of the most prominent and respected organizations in European esports, which helped give him a new fanbase despite being in a fairly new esports community.
FNC’s VALORANT roster would eventually shuffle its rosters but Boaster remained alongside their newfound star player in Derke. They remained consistent as a top 3 team in Europe throughout the past years and even though they didn’t win a lot of the major tournaments following the 2021 season, Fnatic would remain to be the team that everyone watched because every new player that joined the roster felt like a step closer towards them becoming an unstoppable force.
The Successful 2023 Season
In 2023, FNC Boaster would cement his legacy alongside the rest of Fnatic as the “perfect roster” that comprised of the correct 5 people that would play in the team. In the 2023 Lock//In: São Paulo tournament, Fnatic would win their first international tournament after beating the defending World Champions – LOUD – and secure themselves as the frontrunner coming into the next tournament, which is the VALORANT Masters Series: Tokyo.
As you probably already know, Fnatic would also win the VALORANT Masters: Tokyo tournament after beating the North American favorites – Evil Geniuses. They were extremely dominant throughout the tournament and proved themselves as the undoubted best team in the world after running the same 5 players from the previous tournament. FNC Boaster would give a heartfelt speech in Japanese to the Japanese crowd which proved to the world that he has the same compassion and connection he had with the fans as he had when he wasn’t a major name in esports.