Step 1: Remove Kkoma. T1 has never looked as strong as the time SKT was led by Kkoma. Sure we have 2020 spring where T1 were spring champions, but they looked absolutely lost by summer split. Perhaps Kim and Daeny are both world champion coaches, but Kkoma has achieved that three times. DAMWON continuing to look strong while T1 continuing to look weak when they have essentially swapped coaching staffs between Daeny/Zefa and Kkoma shows that coaches have less impact on team performance than we would often attribute. The one area where I would argue coaches have significant impact in a team is players’ mental. Daeny was successful last year since he practically had a 5-man roster on DAMWON (with Nuclear as sub). This year, constant roster changes on a 10-man roster are clearly affecting players as Faker, Keria, and Gumayusi have all admitted after being interviewed. Kkoma also have coached a 10-man roster for SKT back in 2019. The difference is, he rarely swapped rosters. You may remember Crazy and Haru almost never being swapped in for Khan and Clid. This in hindsight showed that Kkoma valued consistency and working with what he believes to be the strongest roster, avoiding the risk for players to constantly fear of being benched.
Step 2: Force players to play to your “vision.” By know Daeny is known to not sub in players between games. Unlike most coaches, game results and player performance are not the reasons for his roster decisions. Multiple T1 players when interviewed have mentioned that rather than worrying about performing well, that have to be conscious of their play-style to fit into Daeny’s “vision” of how the game should be played. This is how they retain their starting positions. Faker has specifically mentioned that he and Daeny disagree fundamentally on this point. This is very problematic due to two points: ambiguity and subjectivity. First, unless Daeny is being VERY specific about his vision to the players, a “vision” is simply not enough to guide players to navigate the game. In order to clearly communicate his vision to the players, I hope he is laying out clear steps within the game that helps his player match his vision (i.e. which dragons to take/give, at which points to freeze wave/all in). When it comes to subjectivity, there is not one correct way to play the game. A good example would be to choose between baron vs. dragon. The call depends on what kind of dragon is up, how many until soul, which objective benefits the team comp better, etc. A vision would not give objective answers to these questions. This is the exact problem deciding rosters based on performance rather than vision. While players will understand being subbed out due to their poor performance, it can be mentally damaging to be subbed out due to not matching the coach’s ambiguous and subjective “vision” of the game. Players understand clear and objective performance-based sub decisions over ambiguous and subjective vision-based sub decisions.
- Remove veterans to lose agency and any sense of direction. On paper, any of the 10 players from T1 should be mid to high-tier players in the LCK. Yet in game, the team often looks lost with atrocious macro decisions. Games where the roster is all rookies as opposed to having at least one veteran looks night and day. Perhaps the all rookie roster listens to Daeny’s vision better since they haven’t molded into proven players yet. It’s more difficult for experienced players to reinvent themselves to fit into the “vision.” But this should not be a problem since players like Faker and Teddy have proven that they understand good decision making and can win important games. When you take veterans of such quality out of a roster, we often see the misguided T1 games that have become frequent this 2021 season.
- Avoid Zeus/Canna-Oner/Ellim-Faker-Teddy-Keria at all cost. Given the game against BRO, in what world would Zeus-Oner-Clozer-Gumayusi-Keria perform better than Zeus-Oner-Faker-Teddy-Keria? It seems as if T1’s coaching staff’s weak ego has taken over rationality. Top – Zeus and Canna are both sufficient. While Canna has only looked very questionable this season, he has a proven record from the 2020 season. After being benched, Canna has climbed back to rank 1 in soloq and I believe Zeus and Canna still has potential to interchange according to their strengths. Jg – Both rookies have promising moments. I personally believe Oner fits T1 synergy the best, but Ellim had bright moments as well. While Cuzz is a great player, I cannot really remember him synergizing well with the team both seasons. Mid – Faker is just better. Large champion pool, mechanics/macro, shotcalling, etc. The team looks better with Faker in the mid lane. While Clozer has been recognized for his soloq Irelia/Zoe, he has looked very mediocre with other champions. His laning is great but he rarely converts his early advantages into teamfights. Adc – Gumayusi is amazing. He is very talented. At the same time, he has high highs and low lows. If he is not funneled resources early, he often becomes invisible during teamfights. Teddy on the other hand has been more consistently good. He is always able to bring what is asked of an adc no matter how the early game went.
TLDR: 1. Ever since Kkoma left SKT, T1 has not looked the like consistent titan that they once were. It seems like Kkoma valued players’ mental more than Kim or Daeny. 2. Subbing out players to due to Daeny’s “vision” is hurting the team. While substitutions usually are based on player performance which is clear and objective, players will be lost if they are subbed out due to a vision that is ambiguous and subjective. 3. T1 looks better with veterans on the roster. They bring strengths in shotcalling and macro decisions. 4. Zeus/Canna-Oner/Ellim-Faker-Teddy-Keria is the best iteration that isn’t played due to coaches being unable to swallow their ego to prove that their vision with inexperienced rookies can succeed.