The concept of paying to learn how to play a video game seemed foreign at first. Although I grew up a gamer and I love to play more than anyone else, a game to me wasn’t something I paid to learn. I’ve always thought that the core entertainment aspect of any game came from players learning and figuring things out on their own, because every player's experience is unique.
However, on second thought, we’re all very used to learning about games. The first thing we do when we immerse ourselves in a game is to find out more information about it. We look up guides on various websites, watch videos on Youtube, then finally try it out ourselves. It’s a pattern we’re all very used to. We even look up statistics to gain an edge over our opponents and become better at the game.
The best way to improve at something is to learn from someone who’s already good at it. For a game like League of Legends especially, the demand for coaching in video games has grown significantly over the years, to the point where even casual players seek mentorship. If your coach — a former LCK pro player and former starting member for T1 gave you feedback on your gameplay — how much do you think that feedback is worth?
The various programs at T1 Academy offer mentorship not only to the amateur prospects that are looking to go pro, but there are also programs for the general public. T1 recently offered five of our Inven reporters an opportunity to experience one of the programs, and Park “Untara” Eui-jin joined us as our teacher to personally teach us about LoL.
T1 Office team vs Team Inven Untara: Learning the fundamentals from a former pro
The door to the lecture room opened and Untara walked in. I’m very familiar with him as a player, so seeing him in the role of a teacher was a new feeling. I thought that maybe after this class… hitting Diamond in solo queue wouldn't seem that hard. As the excitement for the lesson consumed me, I became committed to impressing my teacher by any means, even if it meant getting just one more CS.
Untara told us that after the hour-long lecture, Team Inven would face T1’s Office squad. We couldn’t afford to lose: Inven’s and T1’s honor was on the line. We couldn’t afford to miss anything from the lecture.
The lecture focused around mid and late game macro. Untara told us what each laners' jobs were in the macro sense. Some of those we already knew, but some of it really surprised us in how detailed we needed to be.
In terms of the amount of responsibilities that each player had in the mid-late macro, the two roles that were the most different were the bot laner and the support. The support had a page-long list of responsibilities, while the bot laner’s responsibilities were summed down to two sentences. It was also interesting to know how there were different ways of rotating based on a certain laner’s movements on the map, as well as each laner having routes that are unique to the positions.
Untara showed us examples of how everything we learned from him was applied in pro matches. It was an eye-opening VOD, seeing how theory becomes practice and execution in the highest level of League of Legends.
After an hour of lecture on fundamentals, we went straight into preparing our draft for the match against the T1 office team. We gave Untara our champion pools and he then went on to create a tier list of champions we can use, based on various factors such as champion scaling, the AD/AP balance, and the synergy and balance of a team composition. To see him do it in such a short amount of time made me realize just how honed the pros are at their craft.
Practice is over! Inven vs T1, and one gamer’s desperate battle for victory!
After a short greeting, Team Inven faced off against the T1 Office team. The draft screen popped up on our monitors and a rush of adrenaline swept me, getting me pumped and focused for the match.
Right from the get-go, T1 banned one of our best champions, Quinn, but thankfully, Untara had a good idea of T1’s preferred champion pool: he focused the bans around the enemy jungler and finished our draft based on our team’s champion tier list.
After the draft, Untara proceeded to give our top laner specific instructions. Then, after a morale-boosting speech and a little pre-game cheer with us [“Three, two, one, fighting!”], he left the lecture room. As Team Inven loaded onto the Summoner’s Rift, we positioned ourselves the way Untara taught us to do.
We started the game off pretty calm, but found ourselves focusing on the game more and more. We knew that we were at a disadvantage because our opponents had a higher average solo queue tier, but we had a pretty good early game. However, things started to go wrong when the enemy Xin Zhao was getting the first Rift Herald. We had to decide whether or not we were going to take the fight.
“Do we fight this? Yes? No? Huh? What? Do we fight or not?”
There was miscommunication between our jungler and mid laner, because our jungler was asking for a call right when there was a 1 vs 1 happening in the mid lane. Due to such, the enemy top laner collapsed onto the Rift Herald first, which led to losing a player and the Rift Herald. We got a bit nervous, but we remembered what Untara taught us and focused again on the game.
Eventually, the T1 office team slowly snowballed their lead, which led to Team Inven’s loss. The game was definitely winnable. However, we made a bunch of improper calls as a team, and also made a lot of individual mistakes that affected the outcome of the game. Furthermore, it was not easy to apply the theories we just learned. It felt like we weren’t playing to win; we just went with the flow.
The first thing Untara asked us in the feedback was how we felt while playing the game. He then went onto recapping everything he wrote down in his notes, and gave us feedback on the things we lacked.
The first thing we talked about was the first Rift Herald fight, a fight that we all agreed needed work. After checking with us on how that skirmish started, he told us why we shouldn’t have fought in that scenario. He also repeated the same for the bot lane fight that started off with teleport, and the dragon teamfights as well; all in a very calm and gentle manner. One of our players was even complimented for one of the plays, which personally made me a little jealous to see someone receive a compliment from a pro for their play.
After the data collected from the feedback, Untara helped us draft for game 2. This time, we drafted a team composition that focused more on the early game aggression. Determined to win the next game, Team Inven headed into game 2 against the T1 office team.
Game 2 went even worse than game 1. Because we had a team comp that was strong in the early game, we had priority. In order to snowball quickly, we attempted a tower dive in the bot lane. However, because of our mismanagement of tower aggro, not only did we fail the dive, but we lost a player in the process. As an early game team composition, the failed tower dive gave them a huge advantage, which gave them the time they needed to outscale us in the mid-late game.
Coach Untara’s feedback in game 2 focused around tower aggro. He broke down the process of how we should’ve executed the dive and how we should’ve divided tower aggro, as well as how we need to have communicated in that process.
One thing we realized after playing two games against the T1 office team was that they were two steps ahead of us in their macro game. The game may seem even in the laning phase, but even when they lost their mid-late game teamfights, it felt like Team Inven was losing out. When the T1 office team beat us in a teamfight; they knew how to snowball their leads better. Untara told us that the T1 office team took lessons for about a month, and practiced quite a bit together as well.
Team Inven may have lost, but the T1 Academy class was still very fun.
It sucks that we lost both games against the T1 office team, but the class itself was very fun. The class took place in a building that was right next to the T1 HQ, with the same equipment that the academy players use. From a former pro player giving a lecture about the fundamental theories of the game to actual feedback that made me feel like I was in a pro match, the whole experience was definitely unique.
As we were leaving the T1 Academy building, we requested a rematch against the T1 office team. Thankfully, T1 suggested that we get a lesson from their other teacher, Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin, because Piglet’s teaching method was a lot spicier. Will Team Inven be able to beat T1 in our rematch in the future?
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports