Pr0lly is probably jamming to the tunes of Chuck Berry's song "Back in the USA" as we are saying goodbye to the first American coaching import on European soil. Then the new franchise 100 Thieves announced Neil "Pr0lly" Hammad as their new head coach as they prepare for the 2018 LCS season. However, before Pr0lly turned a successful coach in Europe he was a professional player. The mid laner played the last time competitively for Complexity Gaming back in 2014.
The team consisting of Bot lane duo RobertXlee and Bubbadub, European Jungler Brokenshard and former Epik Gamer top layer Westrice. Later they added jungle Xmithie and top layer I Kenny u to their roster. Pr0lly became instantly famous for using unusual mid lane picks in his LCS debut in 2013, with picks such as Ziggs, Annie, and Malphite. Despite him leaving Complexity Gaming after their relegation due to personality issues, his next team Determined Gaming would be picked up by Complexity Gaming and named Complexity.Black.
During the time in the Challenger series complexity would bring a new style on how to play League of Legends on North American soil. Through jungle Ram "Brokenshard" Djemal they would adapt a style which was very usual in Europe at that time, they would play mid and jungle centric. Usually, teams in North America would play around their ad carries and focus on letting him get really strong throughout the game. So they skyrocketed through the challenger series due to their impressive jungle, mid synergy, and Pr0llys leadership.
Pr0lly had already a very deep understanding of how to play a macro and team-oriented game. In this era of League of Legends, it wasn't a common thing. League's Meta was carried by team fights o0r individual plays at that time. The most teams in the west, mostly in North America were very dependent on doing well during landing phase in order to win games. Teams didn‘t have coaching staffs as well, so a player with a strategical sense was very important at that time. One of the reasons Cloud 9 found success when they joined the LCS in the summer split of 2013 was that they had probably the best shot-caller in North America in Hai and one strategical mastermind in Lemonnation. Again it was all pre-coaching era, teams just didn‘t have the structure at the time.
Despite him not being the best mid laner mechanically, he would make up for it outside of the game. Since Pr0lly was a bit older than the rest of the lineup, he would know how to talk to the team. With a very mature and calm approach when speaking to the team. According to former teammate Brokenshard, one of his best qualities was that he was not only very easy to listen to or that when he explained his concepts it was easy to understand, it was that he was a good listener and he took the information he got from his teammates very seriously.
Those qualities would set the foundation for him to become one of the best coaches in Europe in the past two years.
He moved to Europe in 2015 in order to coach a team that just qualified for the LCS, H2K Gaming. Even if it looked almost impossible at first as the team lost their star mid-lane Febiven to Fnatic right after they qualified, Pr0lly would build with H2K a strong team based on former kt Rolster star mid-lane Ryu. The team would solidify themselves as a macro heavy team. They would play a very controlling playstyle, trying to win their games through strong pickoffs and good teamfighting. His team would find their peak during the second half of 2016 when they not only could be considered one of the best teams in Europe from a macro game perspective but also their individual performance would lead them to a semifinals finish against Samsung Galaxy.
What made him successful as a coach was the focus on disciplined play rather than flashy picks or a fast game. He himself said once in an interview with The Shotcaller, that he is a major fan of SKT's playstyle. He loves to watch teams that get behind in the early game still manage to come back and win. Always unhappy when his team didn‘t play as good as they could, he would always aim to lead H2K to play a clean game throughout the whole series rather than win out through his strong laners became a characteristic for H2K and Europe. As European teams always seemed to play slow games, focusing on doing fewer mistakes than their opponents was a key strategy to win in Europe. G2 Esports mastered that style and the other team that always got close to perfection in it was H2K. They always drafted for a better late game. Pr0lly himself was very confident that his team would not fall behind in lanes, due to their individual qualities. So he would provide them with the better picks in the late game, where he thought the European teams would be equally skilled.
Where he often criticized teams practice as a reason for teams not being able to perform better outside of the laning phases. Claiming one of the hardships of being a coach in the western regions is to teach a player to play with discipline, something he always aimed for. Just as important to him as his desire to let his players constantly know and weigh how important a strategy is. He definitely put effort into his coaching techniques. He might have been a pioneer in coaching in the west, but he definitely grew into being one of the best. Handling not only once internal situations in 2016 and keeping it cool on stage, just so we could assume it was easy handling all the visa stress with Ryu, losing Freeze to an injury and working with Forg1ven as he would come, leave and come back again just to help the team. Flexibility was just one of his strengths.
Although Pr0lly had his share of success in Europe, he didn't win a single title nor was able to reach the finals once with H2K, always falling short in the semifinals. He still manages to leave his mark.
Not only as a funny personality but also as the strategic oriented person we've witnessed already in his complexity days. May his lessons be carried on in Europe even after his departure to North America.
Shoutouts to Ram "Brokenshard" Djemal for helping me with this piece.
Photo Credit : lolesports Flickr
Disclaimer: The following article was written freely based on the author's opinion, and it may not necessarily represent Inven Global's editorial stance.
About the Author:
Hello guys, Alexandre Weber also known under the ID: DrPuppet. I'm a Brazilian professional Coach and content creator since 2015, mostly focused on League of Legends. I worked with many teams throughout the years in major and minor regions, but my most known work was with Kaos Latin Gamers from Chile in 2015, where we played the International Wildcard Finals against Pain Gaming. Since then I have been studying Cinema in Hamburg and creating content on youtube and twitch, besides writing for respected sites in Esports. You can find me on the social networks under @drpuppetlp and on Twitch under DrPuppet.
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