'I think I've been more happy with the games we played against the top half of the table teams that I have against the IMT [and] DIG games, but you know, it takes time.'
Going into the third week of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) 2021 Spring Split Golden Guardians are tied at last place with a 1- 5 record alongside Counter Logic Gaming. Golden Guardians are a new roster with the sole player with LCS experience being AD Carry, Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes.
After their match versus Team SoloMid, we had a chance to catch up with head coach Nick “Inero” Smith. Inero gave us his thoughts on coaching a new roster, he addressed the team’s issues with closing out games, Stixxay’s role as the experienced player, and he talked about the team’s performance so far.
You've been a coach on Golden Guardians for a while now, you've been able to coach experienced players like Hauntzer, Froggen, and others. Seeing as this is your first time coaching a brand-new roster and a roster that is inexperienced when it comes to the LCS, except Stixxay, is it easier to do your job with a new set of players? Do they receive the information better? How does that all work out?
It's always easier in some ways, and difficult in others, it's never just like a clear one way or the other. Obviously, when you're working with more experienced players, you have a lot of other things that you have to cover. It's not necessarily just like, the fundamentals of things, it's more so actually just managing the environment, managing the room, and getting everyone on the same page. And that can be easier, in some ways, because you don't have to look at all this stuff from things that are like early on in the game, you know?
But when it comes working with newer players, like yeah, it's a, it's nice for me, I kind of prefer that approach. There's a lot of things that players can improve on. And it's very fulfilling, feels good, but I would never say it's easier. It’s a different type of challenge.
In an interview we had with Stixxay yesterday he talked about what it’s like being the only veteran on the team as well as we asked if the other players were looking at him as a guide. He told GGrecon that he’s embracing the role and trying to be proactive about it, giving his input wherever he can. Knowing that Stixxay is the only veteran on the team, as a coach, how much do you rely on him to guide the rest of the team, not just in the game but also out of game as well?
It's not something we rely on; I think everyone kind of comes in for, like the expectation, like, ah, whoever's that guy that you pick up the leader, they're like, leading everything they're doing all that. [The] leadership figure is always slightly different, and we definitely use that. And we talk together about things and how to approach different problems — the team environment — different ways we can advance as a team and get better. But he’s doing great at that. It's good to work with, kind of knew that was going to be the case coming in. But that's about it, I guess. He’s good at the role.
I think I've been more happy with the games we played against the top half of the table teams that I have against the IMT [and] DIG games, but you know, it takes time.
The team has built up a lead in a handful of games but haven’t been able to close it out. Is there anything that you and the rest of the coaching staff have in mind to combat this or do you think the inability to close out games is due to lack of experience and you’re just allowing your players to get more experience, etc.?
Oh yeah, I mean, these are things that we're going to add to what we're working on. We're fully aware of it. But we're mainly — our early weeks of practice, we're very focused on early game fundamentals and setting up with that, it's not something we're perfect on. But it's to be expected that, you know, there's going to be some games that you toss like this, especially [against] the lineups that have a lot more experience. But that's something we signed up for going with this. We know that our guys are good and we know they'll get there with time.
And a lot of it is just that experience later [and] knowing what to do. And it's on our end to help teach that and facilitate that growth so that everyone is actually able to do what they need to do to win the game. But yeah, we're working on that stuff, just takes time.
Lock In’s passed, and we’re going into Day 3 of Week 2, with that in mind, what do you think about the teams’ performance overall?
I think today's game [...] was a bit of an underwhelming one from our end. Definitely, things we're working on that we slipped up on, but outside of that, I think we've been doing well around what we're trying to practice. I think I've been more happy with the games we played against the top half of the table teams that I have against the IMT [and] DIG games, but you know, it takes time. So it's a matter of getting used to these things recognising the importance of everything we're doing and being able to be on the same page to punish what we need to punish and avoid making mistakes where they might exist, so I'm happy with it. I'm not freaking out or anything; I'm chill with how everyone is. I know everyone’s [a] good player just takes time.
As they get more experience under their belt, Golden Guardians are looking to turn around their bottom half of the standings record when they face off against Team Liquid on Friday, Feb. 19.
Images via Riot Games