Welcome 7Teen, our new PUBG Coach!

March 06 2019

Our PUBG team is already one of the best in the world, and our players are some of the greatest in the scene. But our new PUBG coach, Tanner Curtis, has one goal going into the inaugural PUBG Europe League: Become the best team in the world. Undisputed. Undebatable.

“We want it to be known,” he said. “And I will do whatever I can to make sure the team has what it needs to accomplish what we know we can.”

Curtis joined as a coach and analyst in January, and now he will be moving to Berlin with the rest of the roster to work with them in and out of the game. This includes watching VODs together in the same room for the first time, and sitting down for meals together — anything that bonds the team and builds up their communication and support. When it comes to PUBG, said Curtis, it’s not only about having the skills to win, but the mental strength to handle defeat.

In fact, Curtis decided he wanted to become a coach when he saw that most PUBG coaches lacked the experience to handle this unique phenomenon. Being a PUBG coach is about more than analytical data and practicing communication. It’s about having a personal experience playing the game professionally, knowing what it’s like to taste that bitter, unavoidable defeat. And knowing there was nothing you could have done to change the outcome. And then going back in for more.

“You need a good mental state outside the game, PUBG even more than other esports,” explained Curtis. “It’s not like a fighting game where you did the wrong combo, or a MOBA where you weren’t at the right objective. In PUBG, you can play the whole game correctly and do the best you can do, and you can still just have poor placement. Watching the VODs, you can’t point out a specific wrong choice. This can be mentally draining to players who want to win and expect to win. You have to be able to bounce back and have that resilience.”

I spoke with the passionate PUBG pro about how he became such a strong player, and what made him decide to use this knowledge to coach others in the scene.

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How did you end up as a PUBG coach?

I started off as a player for Optic Gaming right when I came back from the Air Force. When I got removed from that team I didn’t have the desire to continue playing. I really enjoyed playing with that group of people. After I was no longer with them it just felt different. I tried a couple different teams, playing online tournaments with Cloud9, but nothing really fit.

Do you know why you were let go?

The three other guys wanted a different player. But it was a really good learning experience. I learned so much with that team.

What made you decide to play PUBG after coming back from the Air Force?

I started esports playing competitive Halo, around 2007-2008. I did that all throughout high school. Once Halo wasn’t the same, I started looking for different games that interest me. In 2010 I found League of Legends. I was coaching and managing for a challenger level team.

I thought I was getting too old to be a player, because I was 24 when PUBG came out. At the time there was a lot of stigma over age. But I saw so many streamers playing PUBG and I figured I’d give it a try myself. I fell in love with it. I was really good with it. I felt I brought a lot of strategies to the early meta. That’s what I became known for: Being a shot-caller, an in-game leader. It felt good to have something nobody else did. Everyone can shoot. But not everyone can develop strategies.

That’s what has made the transition to coaching so much easier for you. What brought you to TL?

There was a bit of time where I didn’t know what I was going to do, which organization I would pursue. But when TL was looking for an analyst I recalled the players I met at events. We had a mutual respect for one another. I had played against them in the past and knew what they were capable of. So I said I was willing to try it out. I wanted to see how I could help keep them at the top. I feel like I can help them keep the ball rolling and continuing to progress.

You’ve been a part of the team for a little over a month now. How has it been?

We have a new player, Jembty, which can always be a bit rough at the beginning. There was a bit of a jelling period. We’ve also been playing against teams from Russia and Turkey that we’ve never played against before, as we prepare for the European Pro League. But we work so hard to make it to the top. We are willing to do anything needed. Now, we’re focusing on the move to Berlin. That’s something very stressful, to move away from families and things like that. From being in the military, I understand what it’s like. But I’m excited. Any time you’re together as a team it’s easier to go over VOD reviews and get on the same page.

How do you plan on keeping TL on top?

The four players on the roster are four of the best shooters in all of Europe. They each bring something different to the team. Now it’s about being able to work on the fine details of things, communication and strategy. It’s about knowing what your teammates are going to do before they do it. How they’re thinking before they say it. Those are things that just come with time.

The PUBG community is something I’ve been a part of since the beginning. I just want to help it grow. I knew it was something I could do for a long time. I’m going to do my best to help Team Liquid win.

Writer // Olivia Richman