LoL esports has been around for more than 10 years now. Many things have become systemized, but there still are a lot of discussions about the role of the coaching staff. There are managing-style coaches, draft coaches, etc. Among them, there’s a coach that has his own style: Yang “Daeny” Dae-in. Last season, he was a strategic analyst. This year, he has become the head coach.
Although he has already won Worlds, there’s a new assignment for him as there are new players in the top and bot lanes. Will Daeny be able to lead DWG KIA to another championship?
How have you been after Worlds?
After the quarantine, I just spent time like any other day. One thing for sure is that there isn’t much time to rest if you reach the Worlds finals. I needed to think about the stove league as well.
You’ve become the head coach again. Is it much different from your role in 2021?
I was a strategic analyst and now the head coach. Frankly, the biggest difference is that I could participate in the draft on stage. The process of preparing the game and draft is important, but I think it’s most important to become a team that’s good at best-ofs. Dealing with draft situations right away is crucial for best-ofs. Now, I can do that more.
From the point where I returned, kkOma was very considerate and had me lead the players a lot. It won’t be much different from before.
Zefa returned as well. What kind of synergy do you think you have with Zefa?
Unless it’s a person that experienced my style directly, it could be difficult to understand my coaching style. I usually give feedback to all the lanes at once. After I do, if I ask, “Please focus on this part,” Zefa could understand that clearly. Zefa is a great help to me, and I believe we’re working together since he also thinks I’m doing well.
People say that DWG KIA’s top lane is weaker than before. How is the top lane situation?
I think what they say is right. I emphasized the importance of best-of series. As a pro gamer, having that experience of feeling the pressure of best-ofs is important. For those that don’t have that experience, they need more time. I need to coach them well.
If other lanes’ tiers are about the same, the last variable is in the top lane. I made a lot of those games as well, so I need to spend a lot of time on the top lane. I think we will need some time.
Have Hoya and Burdol shown potential?
We haven’t scrimmed too much yet, so it’s hard to say. I’m trying to teach them the proper direction as a top laner. They need to learn a lot, and I believe they’ll improve much after some time.
I evaluated Burdol’s guts highly, that he picked Irelia in one of the official games he played. And he’s a very hard worker. Another advantage is that he’s still very young. Hoya has hidden strength within him. We picked him because I saw that strength as I watched the top laners solo queue. If I could teach him the way to use his strength properly, he has some potential.
The bot duo, deokdam and Kellin said that they thought they were recognized properly after getting a phone call from you. What did you see in them, and what kind of players are they?
When I was in T1, I thought T1’s bot duo was the strongest in the world. Gumayusi and Keria that learned macro were so good that I couldn’t come up with anyone that could beat them.
When I thought of the next best, Ghost and BeryL came up, and then I thought it was deokdam and Kellin. So I went with what I thought of in the first place. They were really good in scrims and in the LCK as well.
The difficulty level of the bot duo’s role that I require is quite high. From early game pressure to timely objective attempts. It’s positive that deokdam and Kellin are learning faster than I thought. They’re great players.
You should have much faith in Canyon and ShowMaker as well.
Canyon and ShowMaker are world-class. I’m very thankful that they stayed in DWG KIA. This means that they also thought they have a good chance with DWG KIA and me. We have the same goal: reach Worlds and win it again. That’s why we’re able to be together again. I’m thankful for that, and I’ll be working really hard as well.
You fell one step short of the world championship. How was 2021 for you?
Being the runner-up is regretful, but overall, I’m pretty satisfied. DWG KIA got back on its tracks since I returned, and from that point, the atmosphere was as I intended. Looking at the interview they had after the finals really showed that they didn’t have regrets. I was satisfied that I led the players without regrets.
It was the first time I played with Khan. It wasn’t easy as it was the first time, but the more I worked with him, the more I felt why he has the most LCK titles as a top laner.
For me, the most unsatisfying point was that I can’t go on stage during the draft. That often became a variable. Good teams have diverse drafts, so it was difficult preparing for it.
In 2020, you emphasized the importance of the mid-jungle synergy. How different is it now?
In 2020, mid and jungle had the ability to speed up the game. Especially, the jungler was able to optimize everything to do so. Now, it’s different. The jungler has to support rather than carry. Obviously, he has to be good, and to become a really good team, the side lanes have to do well.
DWG KIA changed three members this season. I don’t think it’ll be easy to make both the top and bot lanes to the best in the league.
What would your assignment be for 2022?
Both kkOma and I agreed that we need to work to win the world championship. Reaching Worlds is first, and winning LCK is also important, but the goal I want to reach before going to Worlds next year is to make a team that’s clearly one of the best.
So I’m going to focus on helping the players improve while making a good atmosphere. The players are going to need some time getting used to the roles I require, and it’s my responsibility to make them learn as fast as possible.
LCK teams are looking stronger this year. Which team are you looking out for the most?
There are too many. I think 2022 will be really difficult. Gen.G looks especially strong. They have strong laners, and it’s shown from scrims already. T1 and Nongshim RedForce are also very strong. Ghost and Canna are on NS, and they’ve both played for me before. Bdd is also there, so there are three members already that’s been to the semifinals at Worlds.
In Afreeca Freecs, there are Ellim, Teddy, and Hoit who played with me. Kiin is a great player from the beginning, and I believe they’ll do well with the additions. Rascal, Cuzz, and Aiming on KT are strong too. Even DRX and Fredit BRION — a lot of the teams are really strong.
LoL changes every season. How do you think it’ll be in competitive LoL?
I always cheer for Riot’s patches. In the last Worlds, the champions pickable in the jungle were rather limited, but more champions were able to be picked in other lanes. That’s very positive, so rather than predicting how they would patch, I just gladly accept the changes.
If there are many changes, there’s a lot to study to battle with other teams, so it’s positive if Riot gives us a lot of homework. Some people say that the preseason isn’t that different from before, but I think the laners could feel that there are a lot of changes. In mid lane, champions like Vex or Akshan are clearly different. I think ShowMaker would feel that there are a lot of changes.
Any comments to the fans?
There are many teams that could do well in the LCK next year, so I’m always trying to work my best. I’m confident about my passion for LoL.
There are some changes in DWG KIA’s roster for next year, and I think we need some time to adapt. Still, other teams have member changes too, so I’ll do my best to build the synergy with our new players and get good results. I want to work hard and prepare well so that we could reach Worlds 2022 and win it. Thank you.
Images by DWG KIA and Riot Games