Responsibility, trust, and autonomy. These are words that are often used to describe good teams.It’s not like these three tenets always made for a great team, but all great teams always had them.
The same tenets apply to the DRX of today. And that’s not to say they will become a great team. In fact, there’s no telling how far DRX would go in 2021. Are they good enough to aim for the top? I don’t know that, not yet.
What I know is they are a properly formed squad and will become a team that delivers fun to watch games. In that regard, at least, they won’t leave fans disappointed.
DRX had a chaotic system, but after they signed Choi “cCarter” Byoung-hoon as their general manager, they got on the right track. cCarter solved several big issues, the biggest one being filling the head coach position with Kim “SSONG” Sang-soo as soon as Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho got suspended.
“Obviously, the team was frustrated — I was really frustrated as well. But for the team to maintain its balance, I thought we needed an interim head coach,” said cCarter, “We had a roster full of rookies. There were many things to consider when bringing in a proper interim head coach.” It was cCarter who formed the Challengers League team roster and got them a coach as well. He’s been managing all aspects of the team, great and small.
What cCarter stays away from is the in-game dynamic. This is all controlled by SSONG and coach Kim “Museong” Moo-seong. SSONG concentrates on the draft and manages the team with his long player-coach experience.
The main part of the feedback is also one of SSONG’s responsibilities. “I try to look at the big picture. I discuss with coach Museong about what we should emphasize during feedback, what is a priority to fix,” said SSONG. He delivers extra information in which Museong may have passed over and takes care of the players’ mentalities.
The feedback is mainly led by coach Museong since he’s the only person who knows DRX’s game style and direction from last year. About Museong, cCarter said, “He’s been giving feedback all along and the players accepted his feedback naturally. Museong is accustomed to his current role.”
Thanks to Museong, SSONG was able to concentrate more on the draft. “We were blessed with a bit of luck, but all the [drafts] went as we planned out. We anticipated opponents’ bans and the champions we practiced during scrims were played in official games. I think it was because I had a lot of time to think about and study the draft,” said SSONG.
The responsibilities in the new DRX had to be meticulously divided and to do so, everyone had to trust each other. cCarter led by example as he empathizing deeply with SSONG and helped bring in the seasoned head coach.
“When I first gave him an offer, SSONG gave it a lot of thought. I empathized with his reasons. He had to join a team that was formed already, a team that had a very distinguished style. However, SSONG was an open-minded person. He wanted to make up for his regretful results in his last year in NA,” said cCarter, recalling how he brought in SSONG.
SSONG also showed full respect and understanding about the team’s original style, which strengthened the trust between players and coach. “SSONG didn’t want to change the original mold the players had formed,” said cCarter, “We had several rookies and one of the characteristics of the team is that they’re free to roam without a cage — in-game and in life as well. SSONG was a person that could fit naturally while showing his leadership.”
Thanks to SSONG’s understanding and respect, Museong was able to lead the main feedback.
“Obviously, I did want to do that as well, but it seemed better for the team if Museong gave the feedback,” SSONG explained. “He recognizes the details in laning really well. During the season, it’s much more effective for people like him to give feedback because there isn’t that much time. Rather than giving the players vast information, the feedback has to be delivered so that they can concentrate within a short time, as it’s important for the players to know the smaller things for sure. For this process, it’s rather negative to inject all that I know.”
SSONG thought much about how he could create a better, more comfortable environment for the players, which was another reason why he left Museong to lead the feedback.
“If he led the feedback, I thought he would feel more responsible and get rewarded if we get good results. He would be happier working and it felt that he could concentrate more this way,” said SSONG, and added that Museong was a pleasant person who knew what it is to be responsible.
“If there’s trust, the roles can be divided properly with responsibility. That way, they can feel sorry when they fail, and they can feel the camaraderie. Also, trust is necessary for individuals to show all that they can do and get rewarded for that. That’s the team I want.”
Would it be enough to explain DRX’s mid-late game capabilities with only responsibility and trust? “The players said that SSONG doesn’t limit the plays. That way, the players could make all the ‘super plays’ they want and create good teamfights. From the first meeting, I thought SSONG was a person who has an open mind, in and out of the game,” cCarter praised his head coach.
The treasure DRX had was autonomy. “Our teamfighting abilities come from tuning individuals’ mistakes and capabilities while not suppressing their autonomy. If we were closed in our own thoughts and tried to make systematic macro while simply reducing mistakes since the players are rookies, those teamfights wouldn’t have happened,” explained SSONG.
DRX’s captain Song “SOLCA” Su-hyeong agreed. “Sometimes, we see peculiar angles to fight, but the coaches don’t say much and tell us it’s alright to do that. That often led to good fights. They’re enlightened people.”
“To go deeper, since we’re a rookie team, we have to prepare things that are easier and lighter, but not too light and not passive,” added SSONG
Built quickly but steadily
DRX’s situation was chaotic, but it’s tidied up now. GM cCarter is happy that everything got balanced quickly and that everyone did their roles with diligence. SOLCA praised the coaching staff in return.
“It feels that the system is now in place. SSONG has a lot of knowledge in the game and has much experience, and Museong’s feedback is really great.”
“When cvMax was first suspended, the players couldn’t hide their frustration,” SSONG continued. “I was a realistic person, so I just said that since there’s nothing that we could change, we should do whatever we could to make the best out of this situation.”
Before the league started, many experts thought of DRX as a team that would be closer to the bottom, that it would be a 6th-place contender, playoffs at best. But with almost half of the season done, DRX has the second most wins (4th overall) with a 5-3 (0) record — even taking down Gen.G and two wins behind DWG KIA at the top. DRX is, simply put, smashing expectations so far.
Still, no one knows how it’ll end. DRX still has more matches against the top teams and their early game stats aren’t that good. But one thing is certain — fans are enjoying the never-boring DRX games and in that regard, the team has bagged half the success already.