Knowing Your Identity

Origen and G2 Esports were successful because those teams had a clear identity. It’s very important that we find ours on TSM if we ever want to grow.

When I first joined Origen, I was not a very smart player. I was a good mechanical player, sure, but that’s to be expected from a solo queue player coming to LCS as a rookie.

You have mechanics, but you don’t know how to play the game in a team setting at all. You understand the laning phase… and that’s about it.

Fortunately, I was around four veterans of the game. They were very different people with clashing personalities but their contrasting presences allowed me to learn many different things about being a professional player.

Mithy and Amazing would always be talking about something specific from the draft phase or some minute detail of our macro execution – it never quite escalated to a full on argument or a fight, but it was close. By listening to their ‘discussions’, I learned a ton about the fundamentals of the game at the macro level.

xPeke was a very nice guy; he was always calm, avoided conflict and never wanted to be on the bad side of people. He’d approach discussions in a calm manner, so if someone was more sensitive or defensive about their mistakes, I was taught by Xpeke that you have to approach teammates differently depending on their personalities.

sOAZ showed me that everyone has their own work ethic that works for them. sOAZ never played solo queue after practice – he didn’t need to –  since he always gave 100% in scrims and games and it worked out for us.

At that time, I was essentially listening to whatever calls my teammates were making and following orders.

If someone wanted me to do something, I would do it. I would execute the mechanical part of my job, but I wouldn’t have much to do with the macro or the shot-calling. I would just play the game; do whatever I had to do for the comp we had drafted, win my lane and play off of that.

As it turned out, Origen chose to play around bot lane in all of our games, especially towards the end of summer. It wasn’t something I chose or asked for though.

sOAZ wasn’t a huge fan of playing carries, and I don’t think he and Amazing had the best synergy on the top side of the map, so they wanted to play around bot lane instead

Before Worlds, we were scrimming a lot against CJ Entus – BDD was in the mid lane. We played a lot of Azir vs. LeBlanc and Xpeke was losing the matchup both ways. He told us: “I’m not sure if he’s too good, or I’m too bad, but I can’t beat him.”

He changed his playstyle and focused on making sure he didn’t lose his lane. He too thought it was best that we just play around bot lane, and so it became our identity.

xPeke, though not necessarily winning lane, was a very strong voice in the team. He didn’t shotcall, but he made communications in the team very fluent – he always asked the right questions at the right time.

xPeke smoothed over the cracks in our communications and was a very calm presence to be around, both in and out of game.

He was very selfless. He never cared what champion he played and he had no problem with taking a more supportive role. xPeke prioritized his role in the team over his individual play.

Origen worked because no one had to ask for anything. Everyone was on the same page and wanted to play the same style. It just worked.

When I joined G2 Esports, I became more of a main voice. I wasn’t a shotcaller exactly, but I was much more vocal than I has been with Origen.

We had two Korean teammates in my first summer with G2, so the players who could speak English comfortably would talk more to keep communications flowing.

Expect spoke very little – if at all – and lane swaps were a very big part of the game back then, so it fell to me, Trick, and Mithy to co-ordinate our lane swaps.

Trying to organize that level of macro with a language barrier is very difficult. More often than not, Expect knew the right place to go, but if he wasn’t sure, I would say something simple like “Go bot” or “push”.

Once Expect became more established, he improved a ton and started talking alot more. We had a democratic shotcalling system: Expect would often feed information to us in English or to Trick about the Top Lane matchup in Korean, while the rest of us formed the game plan and called the plays.

Perkz and Expect were extremely talented laners and polar opposites to my former teammates on Origen.

Expect was a carry top laner, whilst Perkz was very vocal about wanting to win mid and play through his lane to victory. In Origen, we chose to put all of the resources through bot lane as the main carry, but in G2, literally, everyone could carry. We had best-in-class mechanics in every role at the time and we could play every champion.

It was hard for people to beat us in draft because regardless of what we drafted, we could play around any of our players; everyone could carry, That’s why we won four finals in a row convincingly in the EU LCS. We could play multiple styles, and other teams could not, and that was the difference maker that established the G2 Era.

For me to do my part in G2, I had to adjust and play more defensively in certain games and be willing to let my teammates carry.

My solo laners were adamant about playing a lot of carries. Perkz didn’t like Malzahar or Lulu (he called them “dog champs”) and Expect hated playing tanks into carries. He always wanted to be on the winning side of a matchup and push his advantage.

I learned in G2 that you have to be able to adapt to your teammates too. I had no issue with responding to Expect, “Ok, you carry” and Mithy and I would just play very defensively and focus on surviving our laning phase. If the “carry” didn’t do their part to win the game, it was on them.

G2 was an EU super team because we could play every champion in every role in every meta. We took turns carrying based on what was the optimal form of play. That was our identity.

In Origen, I was molded by my teammates; they played around me and that was our identity.

In G2, I learned how to exist on the other side of that dynamic and molded to my teammates.

In TSM, although everyone is willing to be a team player, no one is willing to step up and be the carry just yet.

To solve this, we’ve been trying to become more decisive in our shotcalling. If someone makes a call, we only leave ourselves about a second to decide whether to commit to it or not.

Beforehand, there were too many ideas and suggestions floating around and by the time we figured out what we wanted to do, the moment had passed. We have to be more decisive and make the plan happen.

There are too many ideas and not enough execution. We need to fix it soon and find our identity or it will not be good for us.

Image Credit: Riot Games

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