An Introduction to rmN

February 08 2019

It is our pleasure to officially announce rmN- as the coach for our Dota 2 team. Many noticed his presence at MegaFon where we swept the tournament without losing a game. He brings a fresh perspective to the coaching role and his experience dates back to WC3 DotA where he played on GosuGamers with KuroKy. We look forward to seeing him help us reach new heights as we aim to become the first team to win the Aegis of Champions for the second time.

A Coach's Perspective

How did you come to be Team Liquid’s Coach?

It started when Matu couldn’t play at the Minor. Kuro reached out to me, a long time friend of mine, and he asked me to stand in for him. From there, after we finished the Minor qualifier which was played online, I reached out to Kuro because I noticed their coach was missing and that’s basically it. I could see the amount of fun they all had when they were playing in the qualifiers and I knew I wanted to work with this team.

What has the transition from player to coach been like for you?

It’s still a learning process for me, it’s a very new role that I’m trying myself in. I had been thinking about it for 3 or 4 months before I became Liquid's coach, of trying myself out as a coach for some team, and I guess the right opportunity came right now.

As you mentioned, you’ve been friends with Kuro for a very long time, how do you feel to finally be working with him again?

The last time I worked with him was probably 7 or 8 years ago but I’ve always looked up to him, so I’m glad I can be working with him again. I have no doubts that I’ll learn a lot of things as well.

Photos courtesy of StarLadder

What has surprised you the most about the job so far?

It’s basically a different perspective because my whole life I’ve had the perspective of a player. I’ve slowly started to get used to it but at first it was very… I wasn’t very used to it. For example watching a game from the coaching slot. Usually when I watch games I have full control, you can turn off team vision, check out items, but I wasn’t used to watching games from the position of the team. On top of that, listening to their communication while watching the team play live is something I had to get used to.

Is the communication different from other teams you’ve been on?

There are a lot of things that differ such as I can see that the guys on Liquid are very professional in-game. That’s the first thing I noticed. I also noticed, as I said at the start, that they had a lot of fun playing Dota. That was something that was very evident when I stood in for them, I knew that they had a lot of fun playing Dota together and I saw the passion they had for the game. That’s the most outstanding to me and the other thing is that I noticed, at least compared to my previous teams, there was no negativity in-game for example from what I’ve heard. I haven’t had much coaching experience yet, only like a few month, but in this months I haven’t heard any really negative remarks. It’s to be expected from a top tier team but if you ask me what’s different from my previous teams that would be it. Needless to say, everyone is also top tier in their roles as well.

Do you find it more nerve-wracking to be a coach and having to watch the games unfold after the draft has finished?

If I am watching the games from the perspective of the coach, for example at the MegaFon tournament in Moscow, once the draft is done all I can do is sit back and watch the team play Dota. In a way it is more nerve-wracking because once the game starts you can’t have any more impact. A lot of coaching has to do with preparation and what happens before the game starts. Attending the draft is only one aspect of the coaching role.

Photos courtesy of StarLadder

Your debut as TL’s coach was at MegaFon Winter Clash, did you feel a lot of pressure to perform well for that tournament?

There is always going to be a certain amount of pressure. Once again this is a very new perspective for me so I was a bit nervous. I started being slightly less nervous once the first few games were played.

You guys went on to not lose a single game and we even saw a Miracle Meepo in the grand finals, how do you approach the draft when you know you have players who can play pretty much any hero in the game?

In Dota there are always some heroes that stand out for each team differently. To put it this way, we had a three week bootcamp and we figured out our heroes during that bootcamp and came with some things prepared. You learn some things while the tournament is going on as well, there are always some meta heroes, or some strategies, some interesting things you can learn from other teams. A lot of it comes down to preparation and what people actually feel like playing. Some suggestions come from the players themselves and if you see a player who wants to play a hero, believes in that hero, you will very likely pick that hero.

Liquid has always felt like a team very willing to experiment with heroes that aren’t part of the current meta. How does TL decide to play those heroes?

If I recall correctly, GH’s Tidehunter pick against Forward Gaming for example was just a feeling pick in that moment. To go back to what I was saying earlier when a player feels like playing a hero and he has a vision of how to pull that hero off… basically Maroun asked for the Tidehunter and Kuro believed in it, or more like the team believed in it.

So there’s a lot of trust in each other then.

I think that’s kind of the basics of what a team has to be. Without trust I don’t think a team will get very far.

With the changes made to the DPC the Major’s have become even more important, what do you think about the new season compared to the last one?

I talked to the team and from what I’ve heard if I compare it to last year, it was very exhausting for the team. I don’t remember the exact number of tournaments but there was like 20 or 24 Major’s and Minor’s, it was an insane amount of tournaments and everyone was basically exhausted and burnt out. They had no time to bootcamp or take any time to rest, it was basically just non-stop travelling so when I compare it to this season it should be a bit less stressful for the players. The importance of Major’s is probably even more important this year though now that there are only 5 more overall.

Photos courtesy of StarLadder

You’ve joined the team right around the time when a rather large patch has hit the game, how have you approached the new patch as a Coach? Is it different from when you were the captain for Penta?

The process has pretty much been the same except one or two things. You get the new patch, and you read it. I’ve actually been reading the new patch daily multiple times just to memorize some things. Besides reading the patch you just play Dota. Everyone has been playing a lot of pubs, myself included. Everyone has played a lot of pubs and talked to each other about first impressions from what you read about the patch, from what you’ve seen from playing the patch and we basically just exchange ideas because it’s important that everyone has the same type of vision for the patch.

When you want to become a better player you can always look up replays, what do you have to do in order to try to improve as a coach?

Coaching in Dota is a very wide and not really defined term I'd say. For me there is no real definition, but whatever I can do that helps the team to win. To put it short it is mainly talking to people, be it inside the team or outside and trying to use that to help everyone to play the best they can.

When we think of coaching in a traditional sense it’s usually trying to help someone learn how to play better, in this case it would be learning to play heroes better or something along those lines but everyone on Liquid is already extremely skilled so how does that affect your job as the coach?

For me there are two main aspects of coaching. One of them is the actual playing - stuff that happens in-game. The other aspect would be everything that happens outside of the game. Instead of some heavy individual ‘coaching’ that some people may associate with the word, my responsibility is to help everyone in the team have the same vision of how the game is meant to be played. Like you said the team is very individually skilled, so what is more important is that they’re playing together as a team because it is a team game after all.