Interview with Weldon Green, former assistant coach for G2 Esports and TSM
To enjoy your summer holiday, we propose you an exclusivity : the interview of Weldon Green, former assistant coach of the League of Legends team of G2 Esports. He was kind enough to accept this interview, and answered very honnestly to all of our questions. The role of the assistant coach is sometimes an underestimated role, but its impact is as important as a strategic coach. We won't make you wait any longer, discover the interview down below !
Interview with Weldon Green
Thank you very much Weldon for accepting this interview with us today. To start, could you tell us what you are doing at the moment ?
W : I'm a Project Manager at Dojo Madness in Berlin. (ed : you may know LOL Sumo ? It's a product made by Dojo Madness !)
What do you think about the journey of G2 this year, with this new roster ?
W : They had a big challenge, in terms of ability to grow consistantly. But they pulled it off very well, and in terms of a stable growing I have a lot of faith in Wunder and Perkz as leaders. They know how to push the other members, as well as Wadid has everything to be like a superstar. He is maybe shown as the weakest, but he has a lot of capacities because on the individual side he has a high skill cap. And they play a meta that fits the team the best.
Weldon about himself, his journey as a coach.
Before being a coach in esports, what did you do ?
W : I was a coach in traditional sports, like swimming and football.
Following your experience, what differences do you see between coaching sports and coaching esports ?
W : Sport and esport are quite similar, because both consist in changing a behaviour and an approach. In both cases, we have an objective. Then, we have to know how to push players to do better, to focus on trainings, and this is the difference. But in general, the way that we will try to change a behaviour is based on the same skill.
How did you become a coach in esports, and especially at G2 Esports ?
W : In 2012, I watched a Starcraft 2 tournament and I saw the finalists. One of them started to cry on stage, and I thought that this kid doesn't have a coach. Above all, there are less and less people who swim or who play football, and more in esports. I saw that with my own club, less people came and I thought there would be a greater future in esports. I wanted to understand how to deal with making esports something productive for youth. Kids should develop skills instead of wasting their time spamming a game. This is the reason why I wanted to be a coach, and to have the possibility to influence amateur coaches as well.
About your time at G2, did you live with them in the Gaming House ?
W : Yes I did, but only two weeks a month. I was looking for a place to live in Berlin, as I was working full-time at Dojo. About working times, I did 20 hours per month with G2 exclusively. So when I got back in the house after a working day at Dojo, I started to work with the players at 6 p.m., to finish around midnight.
Would you say that an assistant coach has to know the meta as well as the strategy coach does ?
W : The best situation ever is when the coach is an expert player. In my case, I tried to understand the game and the meta as best as I could, because I cannot coach well enough if I don't do that much at least.
Will we have a chance to meet you on the pro stage again ?
W : Yes, when any team would like to hire me right now ! (DMs open guys !)
His opinion about G2 Esports
In the past, you worked for NALCS teams, such as TSM, what differences do you see between their own organization and G2's in EU ?
W : Players in Europe have more power in esports than in NA. They take a lot more personal responsabilities, and they don't rely on their staff that much. Regarding solo queue, in EU, it's easier to use it for training, because each player can learn a lot from every game, at a high level each. Whereas in NA, outside of skirmishes, there is not much to learn from. It's a depressing reality, but the level in Europe is higher.
About that, what do you think about offices, instead of keeping the classical model of a gaming house ?
W : Offices will always have a major impact, because to have an office costs a lot of money and it changes the life of the whole team. However the effect remains minor, because about performances, there will be less than 30% of improvement, which is not enough regarding the cost of that improvement. On the other hand, if the impact on players performances get even better, teams will necessarily change to offices.
How would you describe the playstyle of G2 when you were working with them ?
W : Perfect ! They always make the good play at the right time, whereas before their four victories in a row, the team was a lot different. The playstyle depends on the personnality, and the outcome of a match depends on the level of trust in each other.
Is the behaviour of the players on stage different from who they are in private ?
W : Some play the same while some play at the opposite. Expect for example remains the same in private as in public, whereas Trick will take a lot more risks in game. Luka (Perkz) "ints" in private, but on stage he is more careful. Jesper (Zven) is the definition of consistancy, he always tries to play perfectly, he pushes himself and he does his best to win. He is an exemplary player in his mindset. Finally Mithy is the one who pushed himself the most to risks on stage, as he is a lot more free in scrims. He often made big plays.
How do they behave as a team ? I guess they have different personalities, does the fact of playing in team unites characters ?
W : G2 performed the way they did because they acted like a family. They played, they lost and won like a family, cheering each other. They made themselves be so successful. Still today, they get in touch weekly because they lived so many things together.
What did they do in their free time ?
W : Pretty much only League of Legends, or eating. Or they watch TV shows, like Vikings or Game of Thrones. They have always been very motivated to play, and they remained focused during eight months.
Could we say that the game helps them to know each other ?
W : The game doesn't help, doesn't care because you don't get to learn your teammates through the game. In other Gaming Houses, the players don't know each others, as the G2 players all know each other but not just to pass the time. They go out together, they eat together, they talk naked without barriers, express their fears, their hopes and their true feelings.
You accompanied G2 at the MSI and at Worlds in 2017, did you believe in their victory ?
W : We had probably the best possibility to win MSI, because we were closer to the SKT level. For Worlds, we were very close to the RNG level, but Samsung Galaxy was a mountain. Every match was winnable, but the MSI was much more accessible and winnable.
Do they have rituals before going on stage ?
W : Almost every player has a ritual, pre-match strategy based. For the EU LCS, we would have an activity : we had to tell the things we were grateful for.
G2 Esports players individually.
If you could pick 3 words to describe each player of the 2017 roster, what would they be ?
- Ki "Expect" Dae-han (Toplane) : Funny, mechanical, easygoing.
- Kim "Trick" Kang-yun (Jungle) : Passionate, perfection, ambitious.
- Luka "Perkz" Perković (Midlane) : GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), baby Faker, Croatian.
- Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen (ADC) : Stoic, hard-working, tall.
- Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodríguez (Support) : Spanish, wise, calculating.
- Carlos "Ocelote" Rodríguez Santiago (CEO) : Decisive, inspirational, mercyless.
- Weldon Green lui-même : Love, excitement, dreams.
Did Expect and Trick, both from South Korea, had difficulties to fit in Europe ?
W : They had, like every foreigner, a few troubles at the beginning, but now they're both fully integrated in EU. (Trick returned this year to LCK with the bbq Olivers. Expect has no team at the moment, although he played momentarely with Origen during the last EU Masters).
We all heard a lot about Perkz, how is he in private?
W : Luka says what he thinks, he sounds much older than his age and he is dedicated to greatness.
What is your opinion about the departure of the duo Zven/Mithy to NA ?
W : They took the best decision for them at the time, sometimes the players should all take deslfish decisions. The carrier of a player in esport is short, players are very young, so they have to take advantage the best they could.
The last word
To finish this interview, what would you tell to somebody who, like you, wants to become a coach in psychology in esport ?
W : Learn to coach people by volunteering to be a coach wherever you can, as many hours per week as possible. Do research, so take a course in coach reading. Talk to teachers and ask them how to do and how to read research, because we have so much information in the world today, and some are sometimes bad. If you are able to understand the limitations of research, will help you to know what is well structured and what is not. And the last thing : Improve to be a coach through the scientific methods about this subject.
Thank you a lot Weldon for all your honest answers and above all to have dedicated us so much time !
If you want to find Weldon on socials, this is where it's happening :
- His website