Misfits Gaming have picked up momentum once again after facing many trials and tribulations. Following a 1W-5L stretch, the team scored momentous victories against playoff prospects SK Gaming and Origen, and they hold 2-0 head-to-head records against both.
Following the team’s performance against SK Gaming, Inven sat down with interim head coach Hussain “Moose” Moosvi as he detailed the reasons that led to his return to coaching, after he took the VP of Competitive Performance role within the organization.
The following is a transcript that has been very slightly edited for length.
You had previously said to Locodoco that the [theoretical] conception of the coaching role [that Misfits had before going into the season] did not match what the team really needed. Can you elaborate on that?
When you build a team with veterans that generally have their own ideas on how to play the game... When you look at our players, a lot of them come from teams that played around them; so, they had certain habits and ideas on how they want to play their role, how they want to approach the game, and what their vision for League of Legends is. The nuance of making a roster like this work is figuring out where players need to budge, so they can align with someone else's vision, while also staying true to everything that makes them good.
Coming into the split, we thought that a more collaborative approach to coaching this roster would lead to that effect. This meant that a lot of the ways we handled review and feedback was focused on keeping a very positive, happy environment, where players felt comfortable speaking to each other about their thoughts. Hopefully, we'd find resolution in it. Of course, that sounds all well and true on paper, but as we found out this split, I think we went a little too far in that approach.
There still needs to be a better form of direction: you can't always expect for two people to discuss something and come to common conclusions. It's entirely fine, and honestly, usually the cause that people tend to give reasons for their opinions but stick to them. That was happening a lot in our team; despite any and all efforts of collaborations, we couldn't really figure out how to make everyone work together well.
So, one of the changes that I've been planning to implement is trying to be a lot more firm and directive with the team: if the players disagree with the direction, they disagree with me rather than someone else. I'm being a lot more forceful, which coaches generally do with rookie rosters. But I've learned this split that there's a level of authority and direction that you need to take despite the level of experience within the roster.
From what I heard, your approach also seems to be relying upon reviewing the fundamentals from scratch, looking at all situations. Can you elaborate on that?
Yeah. Right now, there are a lot of issues with the way we play the game, and I'm not sure how much we can actually solve and where we'll get by the end of the split. But if I sit down with an individual and I have them review a game, and there's no other player in the room, a lot of them will get most of the criticism right – but they'll get it right where they position themselves to do well in the game and carry it. So, I've been focusing a lot more on team fundamentals for League of Legends, and a lot of it is re-teaching all of them the absolute basic movements that exist in the game.
You can play early-game, mid-game and late-game a certain way, and that will work every single time on paper. Within that, you move to the next step, which is learning the limits where you can break the rules, and if you are really good at knowing the rules and when to break them, then you're an excellent team.
Because of the amount of experience and history they have, my players all know the rules, and they always try to break them and find every single millimeter of advantages. That is a fantastic mindset, but if the team doesn't do Step A correctly, if the team doesn't fundamentally agree on rules and initially play by them before breaking them, everything falls apart. We've been trying to break the rules without actually playing standard ever. So, I'm focusing on getting everyone on the same page, and get to the next step from there.
All of that without agreeing on the same standard...
I try to get the players to agree as much as possible, but if they don't agree, we can't sit there and discuss for hours. Someone needs to step in and take a direction, and it's difficult for a player to do that. I imagine, with the way I am approaching the roster right now, there will be a lot of conflict, disagreements and heated opinions towards me by the end of the split, but at the end of the day, I feel that's okay if it means that, begrudgingly, they play as a five-man unit.
And if the results say so, why not?
Yeah. I mean, I'm not going to predict any results, and I don't know if this will work. This is just the approach I have taken trying to resolve the problems that we have.
I'm assuming there was a lot of dialogue between you and Jesiz before this solution came to be. Maybe he was super communicative with you as far as the issues he faced as well [before you stepped in.]
Yeah. With the role that I had for League of Legends and for other teams, I was working directly with quite a lot of coaching staffs, and helping them build a structure and a system. I have been aware of all the issues that the League of Legends [team] had, and I've been advising on how we can fix them as well, but people above me – our CGO, and our CEO Ben [Spoont] – felt like, with the results we've had at this point of the split, it was time for a change. It was time for more resources to be put on the League of Legends team, and this is the direction that they chose.
In the end, you returned to Europe. Let's talk first about your mindset when you went into your position as [VP of Competitive Performance.] You were looking at both Florida Mayhem and the League of Legends team, more overlooking the whole process. What were you thinking at the time when that opportunity came? And in hindsight, what are you thinking now that you had to go back where it started – with the League team?
For a while now, I've been wanting to learn about the different aspects of our organization. I've been with Misfits since Day 1, and within that time, while I've been positioned as the head coach, I've done a lot behind the scenes in bigger picture stuff. So, that was a natural next step that I always wanted to take: take more time out to grow myself professionally. Coaching is something that I enjoy, and it is something that suits me, but I have bigger ambitions for what I want long-term in my life, and it seemed like a natural segue into that.
I have a lot of different ideas in terms of what I want to do in terms of bigger picture: culture building within the organization, and building an umbrella of structures within our teams where success is in a well-oiled machine. Our League of Legends division has been quite successful since we started, and the goal was to try to carry this success to other teams we have and see what we can do there. It was a fun challenge for me.
This [coaching] position isn't something I'll be doing long-term. I don't know how long I'll be doing it for. We haven't discussed any longer-term plans yet. Step A is fixing where we are right now, and we'll keep doing that. Until then, eventually I'll be going back to the position [I was in,] if not somewhere else in the company.
Alright! Considering that I have a fairly comprehensive view of what the situation is, do you have anything else you want to add in closing?
To all the fans that have been with us: it has been a very difficult road, and I get that. I don't know if these changes will work out for us, but just know that Misfits will always be on the lookout for victory. We will never slow down, and we will never give up.
We would like to thank Moose once again for taking the time to speak about the challenges he is facing as he returns to the head coaching duties from Week 6 onward. LEC action resumes on Mar. 1, and Misfits will be taking on Team Vitality in a potentially significant clash for both teams.