In a discussion with Inven Global, Wong "Tabe" Pak Kan, the head coach of Bilibili Gaming (BLG) and a veteran of the Chinese esports scene, shared insightful details about the team's strenuous preparations for the League of Legends World Championship, the nuances of his coaching style, and the meteoric growth of their star top laner, Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin, whose leadership dynamics have proven both intriguing and effective.
Tabe began by recounting BLG's challenging road in the summer's LPL Playoffs, citing motivation and patch difficulties as primary obstacles. "The main reason is we'd have a huge chance at the second seed if JDG won the championship. I think we weren't that motivated to strive for our best in training," Tabe confessed. He also touched upon the patch's balance issues, talking about the azir patch and its impact on their signature Neeko-Annie gameplay, "but we're not good at mid carry and bot carry." Despite these hurdles, Tabe emphasized the need to adapt quickly, "we just have to focus on the 13.19 patch," acknowledging that the playoffs were already a distant memory.
BLG's prep for Worlds was anything but smooth, with a condensed timeline that saw the team scrimming for merely ten days and facing a daunting environment that contributed to a win rate of less than 20% in their practice games. The entire team grappled with the pressure, but Tabe notes an upward trajectory. While still navigating the intricacies of the new patch, they've had extensive scrimming sessions, providing invaluable opportunities to delve deeper into potential strategies and broaden their champion pool in a patch Tabe sees promise in.
Tabe's coaching philosophy, deeply rooted in collaborative decision-making, stands out in the competitive LoL landscape. He shared his observations on the evolution of shotcalling, "To my understanding, everyone is a shotcaller, and everyone knows the best call at the right moment." He strives to cultivate an environment where all players are well-versed in identifying and executing strategic plays, reinforcing a collective approach over individual pressure.
Discussing Bin's grow and current role on the team, Tabe couldn't help but express his admiration for the top laner's maturation. "The difference is he's more mature now. His playing style is more clever," he remarked, detailing how Bin has evolved from a player who would seldom ward or respect jungle movements to one who's become an asset through his meticulous communication and gameplay. Tabe also shed light on the challenges of broadening Bin's perspective, "My biggest challenge with him is motivating him to look beyond the laning phase and leverage his laning advantage to aid the entire team." He emphasized the necessity of educating players like Bin on the importance of team-wide resources, ensuring they understand the collective benefits over personal triumphs.
Yet, it's Bin's extraordinary mechanical skills and killer instincts that continue to dazzle everyone, including Tabe. Recalling a recent match, Tabe illustrated Bin's impact, "The team told him Kai'Sa had no flash, and he said, 'Okay, look at me, I will all-in him right now.' And after he said that, in one second, we made that crazy team fight." This instance wasn't just about Bin's prowess but also underscored the integral role of coordinated efforts and precise communication within BLG.
When it comes to managing player mentality, Tabe adopts a balanced approach. He believes in giving players their due space, especially when the team is on a winning streak. "I always tell him, my duty is to help you win. So, if I coach him daily but we lose every game, then I'm useless," Tabe expressed, highlighting his preference for stepping in only when necessary and allowing players the autonomy they require to thrive.
Tabe's relationship with his players, especially with fellow Annie enthusiast Zeng "Yagao" Qi, extends to in-game mechanics as well. Renowned in Season 3 for his exceptional Annie support play, he shared insights into teaching Yagao about maximizing the "ultimate circle," a concept that involves leveraging the full potential of a champion's abilities while being mindful of opponents' cooldowns.
As BLG sets their sights on the grand stage of the World Championship, the fusion of Tabe's polished coaching, the team's youth ang hunger, and the astounding evolution of players like Bin, positions them as a formidable force. Amidst the relentless challenges, BLG stands resilient, ready to make their mark and possibly, stand in the way of their domestic adversary JD Gaming achieving the Golden Road.
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