Esports players are right in the center. They get cheering for the wins, blaming for the loses. However, behind every successful team, in the most scenarios, there are people that are offering their energy and hard work, in order to make the team perform better, become stronger. One of these faces at the background, is the coach. And it happens to be one of the most valuable. Let’s “jump in” to find more about KlikTech’s man behind the curtain
Having this man in the saddle since September 2017, KlikTech is bringing home win after win. Despite the fact that he got familiar with League of Legends coincidentally as a fun-to-play alongside friends game, it did captured his attention, choosing not to be an active player but a coach. Of course, we are talking about Ilias “Enatron” Theodorou, head coach of KlikTech. “I used to think that I won’t be good enough as a player and have fun. Thus I chose to approach the scene in a different way”, states about his commitment with coaching. That kind of a choice offers a lot of intense moments and opportunities. He coached teams such as Elysium Gaming (GR), Instinct eSports (GR – LGC) and NatusVincere (RU- RU LCS). Supplementally, he has been an analyst for Origen (EU LCS) and Galatasaray (TR LCS).
KlikTech, having 7 out of 7 at group stage, will face x25 esports, RuResports or Bontech at Zagreb’s final event, at 26th of November 2017. This battle will designate the Adriatic Champion and the grand prize winner.
- First of all, is VIPNET Adria League a way to develop a more competitive scene at Balkans?
“As far as competitiveness concerns, there were more than enough times that you get to see a lot of players that you have never heard of them before. On the other hand, as far as Balkan growth concerns, I believe that we are talking about a certain part of Balkans. Adria League is an Adriatic league, having teams from Serbia and Croatia compete to each other. I could determine it as a high-speed warmup for bigger Balkan Tournaments”.
- Do you believe that is an opportunity for undiscovered new talents to hit the surface?
“Of course it is! They have to begin from somewhere. It has been a great opportunity for teams to compete with – maybe – stronger teams and for new players to get familiar with the idea of being part of a team. Adria League has a lot to offer to that kind of teams and players and that’s really good. On the other hand, for players that are experienced enough to the scene, teams had a great opportunity to scout for new talents that maybe in the future will “bother” them. The other 4 teams were underdogs – talking about competition – however they have learned a lot in terms of experience of being part of a tournament”.
- As a coach, are you the only one responsible for the strategic analysis of each match or do players cooperate with you?
“Talking about strategy, if you had asked me a year ago, I would have answered that coach has the full responsibility, consulting his players in case there is something missing. Nowadays, I strongly believe that strategy is more like 60% coach, 30% analyst and 10% players. Analysts offer to coach all the data that are needed in order to prepare better and don’t miss any details. Players also state their intensions about certain picks that they prefer in order coach to evaluate that in the process. All of these are about the draft and the pick and ban phase. In game, the first 10 to 15 minutes are coach’s plan. He, alongside with analyst and-or the team captain have to analyze before the matches their enemy’s playstyle and in-game strategies, coming up with a plan that team has to follow. After the 15th minute mark, strategical options belong to the shootcaller of the team”.
- Are analysts do really matter? What are the connection and the status between coach and analyst?
“The connection and chemistry with the analyst has to be strong. You have to have kind of similar mindset and perception on the game. In KlikTech we have achieved that in great amounts with Izabella “Absinthium X” Kefala. The analyst is responsible for collecting and providing the data, alongside with consulting in case that somethings had slipped through my attention. Despite that, she is somehow like an emergency break for me. Sometimes I may think about something in terms of strategic etc and misbehave, rushed by my own beliefs. Izabella is a neutral voice. She will tell her opinion in front of decisions, underlining details that might have been missed in the process. The analyst, especially in our team has a very important role, managing the whole organizational part and as a result frees me so I can concentrate on coaching and communicating with the players. Izabella is priceless giving constant feedback on almost every subject and organizing the whole team”.
- KlikTech is a recently formed team. Are there things we should know in order to have a more complete opinion on the team?
“The whole idea, to build a new team belongs to the Croatian company “Kliktronic”, which is managed by M.J. Kolar and H. Jugec. At first they reached out Milica, who is one of the “big names” of the Adriatic region. Milica, after the Instinct esports success story, got in touch with Tasteless and Kalu, forming the body of the new team. When Ι was still in Russia, communicated with him and we decided to work together and form a Balkan super-team, after the conclusion of the Russian League. Roster has been finalized with additions of EdinPriqtel and Nikola”.
- What are the “key factors” as we are used to say in order to coach a team such as KlikTech?
“Patience and druthers are necessities. Patience because you need to practice with five or even six or seven players.Patience to communicate and converse with each and every one.In fact you need to find out what’s on their mind, how to mix all of these together and build up somehow a “puzzle” of a team and after all these steps to devise a game plan. Certainly, a coach has to be more informed. After the landing of a patch, you need to highlight the key elements and present them to your players. In this way, they will be ready and up-to-date for the scrims and matches to come. Every single doubt that comes up to your mind, in terms of meta, you need to discuss that with your players in order to help them understand changes more deeply. Thus coach is more like an instructor I should say. Alongside the “boys”, coach learns too. For me, to be a good coach is to be up-to-date every single moment”.
- Do you discuss thoroughly with your players?
“I used to coach three out of five on Instinct. I am talking about Sacre, Milica and NikolaSenpai. The fact that I have chosen them in this team also means that we have a very good relationship. Beside the coach-player relationship there is also friendship, without letting the second affect the first. Above all, for me in person, there is the team. And the team is more like a family, in which every one of us could tell to each other what really troubles us, to work together for a solution, even if the problem is personal between two persons. We share different mindsets that bound us more as a KlikTech family”.
- How useful is it to be familiar with these three of them?
“Being in 3/5 with players that you know well is really useful, because you don’t need to start over from the beginning. There was a 40% already and we need to acquire rest 60% in order to build something big. I am familiar with the “soft spots” and the strong parts of my players. Combine the strong ones with the strong of the rest and you got to know your team in depth and as a result you are able to build a strong confident team more easily that having five brand new players”.
- Is it really of great importance to practice as a team?
“Practicing as a team is more like A to Z. I strongly believe that if a strategy cannot be accomplished during a match, the blame weighs preparation. Additionally to this there are also communication issues. Players were used to speak on same language before. Nowadays we need to speak in English so the players are getting more familiar with this every day. I believe that the language issues are of minor importance. We need to stay focused on practicing and training and first of all to not underestimate our opponents”.
- Could you evaluate team’s performance so far?
“I am confident that you have a lot of things to show. Even the players, with myself included, believe that we haven’t reached yet the potential that we are aiming to. We finished the VIPNET Adria League Group Stage undefeated but that doesn’t mean that we need to reassure going to the Lan event. We should keep that tempo in terms of practicing and scriming. KlikTech need to be updated on the game, collecting information about the strategy and the practice of our opponents on the Rift and in the end to face them with the same severity as we face an LCS super-team”.
- Is there a key for success?
“The key for success is all of your players to be professional at all levels. When we start a draft pick all of our players are focused and ready. Each and every one of us knows their role, what to do, how to proceed along with a plan. In some cases there is also a ready for use backup plan, in order to be ready for everything. That is definitely an ace on our sleeve that offers us that amount of success, together with player’s good mentality and focus”.
- Getting back to the “game stuff”, why is the meta so important?
“Meta can shift in every single patch if Riot Games decides to have some changes. For example, we have pre-season, with the new rune system that changes the meta. Being informed about these is really helpful about your personal growth. You get to know which champion you need to play, how to use him on the rift, in the end how to get maximum value out of the role. In fact there is a process to transition from solo q meta to team meta. Extensively, there are some picks that are playable meta into soloq. Although, swifting to team meta that picks are not valuable. That is the reason why we haven’t seen picks such as Pantheon for example that is so strong in solo queue.Getting familiar with the soloqmeta, you are able to pick those aspects that are useful on creating a plan for your team. In the ardent meta for example we used to witness a lot of protective compositions around the adc. After the meta swift with the new patch, we are practicing on applying pressure in other lanes”.
- Which lane has the most dominant role into the game?
“Until the landing of the 7.21 patch, I would say that the adc had the last word into mid and late game fights. Although, analyzing the early game we find midlaner having the most important role in the game, controlling the enemy jungle priority in most scenarios. As a midlaner you need to know how to control and manage your waves in order to proceed into rotations to top or bot side. As a jungler you need to manage where to put up the pressure, to have the ability to scout out the enemy jungler’s path, gain vision, create space for gangs and offer the opportunity to your team to secure objectives fast and clean, before the mid or late game stage where the adc must shine. Summing up, Ι believe that first place belongs to the adc and the rest four roles are also really important in order to create the space for the adcto scale up and own the teamfights. All of these thoughts are on 7.21 patch”.
- What about the changes?
“The game seems for fun now. All lanes are equally strong, aggressively and defensively. Junglers have huge impact in game cause if they farm up a little bit more they could outscale their lane opponent and the enemy team. We are practicing on things but we – as everyone – trying to figure out what’s dominant right now”.
- We are witnessingMilicadrawing a lot of attention on mid, in some cases forced into 2v1lane with the constant presence of the enemy jungler. Do you have a strategy to answer that pressure?
“Indeed Milica is having a hard time, playing 1v2 in many scenarios. He is a great player, but I believe that the attention in midlane is increased because trades at mid are a lot easier and more often to be. We need to underline the fact that also Sacre receives a lot of pressure too, getting ganged two or three times in the early game. He is also a dangerous player and the enemy junglers are focusing on shutting down one of our two strong solo lanes in order to invest around the bot lane”.
- Is there a plan behind picking for your lanes in pick and ban phase, in patch 7.21?
“Every pick we make is more like 75% strategy and 25% player’s choice. In the most cases, the side we are going to play in has the most important role, because we need to pick between a tank or an offtank carry in top lane. For example if the enemy team has shown us their laner, we get to choose between a tank vs tank, carry vs carry, carry vs tank or even on picking something safe in order to limit the enemy team’s options. Every pick has its counter pick. The only exception is Azir that in this meta seem to luck on counter play. He is really strong as a champion but even for him there were be difficulties in some point. When you are focusing on safe mid picks you are not looking for something that has less counter picks than others. You are looking for picks that are less liable on being dead in the lane and that’s why we came across Orianna so many times at this season. Picks that can farm safely from distance and even if they die, they can offer something to the team later in the game. We still focusing on winning the most out of the new patch. Weareexperimenting”.
- Is there something that we should wait from the side of KlikTech at the Lan Finals?
“Lan event is a different story, a totally different mentality and physiological state that playing from the comfort of your desk. RUR esports and x25 esports have a lot of experience on stage, Bontech does not that much. All of them are working on learning more out of the patch, planning strategies, but I believe that our team is a step forward compared to the others. Certainly we don’t underestimate our opponents on the Rift. We will face them as we face every opponent that will stand in our way and we hope to be in better shape, in a good day. Our greater fear is ourselves and the danger to underperform on stage”.
- What do you do before KlikTech starts a game? Is there some kind of ritual for good luck or something else?
“I am trying to do something like a motivational speech(we all end up laughing). We complete the draft, recapping our plan and we discuss some details of our strategies. The most important is to highlight the pros. My job before we enter a game is to fast recap some certain points, remind to my boys what they need to have in their minds right before the game starts and when they get into it”.