Many of you dota2 enthusiasts have probably noticed that NiP have signed up with 6 players for the upcoming season of majors, the five players Era, Sealkid, Handsken, Jonassomfan and Limmp as their primary roster and Chessie as a substitute. There have been a lot of questions and discussions regarding Chessie on various forums like reddit, and my ambition with this article is to try to sort out the misunderstandings about him and give people a somewhat detailed view of what his role as a coach in the team is. We had a short conversation where he told me about what's been going on in his life recently and how being a coach really worked.
We started out with talking a bit about his substitute-position. It's safe to say that NiP are very lucky in having such a good substitute as Chessie since all the good pro-players really want to play for themselves, and for those of you who doesn't know Chessie all too well he's known for being an extremly skilled and versatile player, if you don't want to take my word for it you can just look at europes mmr ladder where he is currently ranked 4th. But why would a player of Chessies caliber not choose to play for himself? Roughly 8 months ago when he was currently a part of Alliance's roster he started to experience difficulties with his back and neck which prevented him from being able to sit in front of the computer and play for several hours straight. He realized that playing full-time wasn't an option anymore but still wanted to find a way to stay relevant in the scene, so he compromised by starting to stream occasionally and play a few games now and then with the goal of reaching 7k mmr to prove that he was still a force to be reckoned with. Later on around the time where people started to bootcamp for TI5 he got the offer to coach NiP where his brother and friends back from HoN was playing, he gladly accepted since he knew all the guys well and had started to miss going to LAN's and hang out with all the people and players he liked, and it was another way for him to stay relevant in the scene until his injuries hopefully started to recover.
As a coach Chessie helps out the team in two different aspects, camaraderie within the team and in-game knowledge and strategics. When you sit down and immerse yourself in a video-game with your friends, it's usually very hard to reflect on how you communicate with each other or think about what you could have done differently in a particular situation, so as a coach you can take notice to those small subconscious details and bring them up for discussion later on, and help your players improve their habits and mindsets that way. You can also help out with more basic preparations as helping out with analysing the opposing team and give your input on certain strategical decisions. It's crucial that your team has faith in you as a coach, you will need to have in-game knowledge of the highest caliber for pro-players to have trust in you and in certain cases manage their ego's, so finding a competent coach is definetly a rarity.
Chessie explained that team spirit excercises could often be seen as silly at first, but they could have a huge impact in the long run, for example if the team members let their negative thoughts or complaints about each other brew inside of them instead of letting them out early on, can result in serious outrages and teams suddenly disbanding, Team Secret's underperformance at TI5 was according to Chessie most likely a result of internal conflicts handled incorrectly.
Coaching within e-sports has grown rapidly within these last couple of years in conjunction with teams getting more resources the work with as the scene keeps expanding as well as players are getting more aware of the traits that define a good teammate, Aui_2000 recently explained in an interview that even though he was for sure playing a better position 4 than his former teammate Fear, Fear was more valuable to keep for EG because of his ability to lift his players up and make them play better whereas Aui had a tendency to stress them out and have a negative effect.We also discussed the potential future of coaching in case you were allowed to coach a team in the way you're able to in regular matchmaking where you can control your own camera, talk to your teammates through teamspeak and be able to give your input on rotations etc. Then coaches would definitely become a more vital part of a teams performance and the need for coaches would grow.
We ended the discussion with talking a bit about how it was to coach his own brother Limmp in comparison to the other teammates, since they have played video games togheter pretty much their whole life it was natural that discussions could get very heated between the two and Limmp didn't hesitate to fight back the way that the other teammates tended to do, so there was moments were he had to adapt the way he gave them critique in case it was in the middle of a game or something like that, where Limmp could get more upset than the others. But in the end they know each other in and out and there were never any hard feelings against each other. Chessie thinks that experiences like that also helps himself to improve as a coach and use his position in the best way possible.
Although Chessie enjoys his current position as a coach, he's very ambitious about trying to enter the pro-scene again as soon as possible, how well his injuries will recover is not yet clear but he hopes to be back within a year.