Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Response to Player Shifts

With the popular League of Legend's professional Team - Team Solomid - replacing their long time AD carry player Shan "Chaox" Huang, there has been a lot of discussion and debate in regards to this huge player shift in a professional team. With teammates and close members of the team giving their responses, find my thoughts and experiences on the issue at hand after the jump.

In his vlog, Team Solomid's Support player 'Xpecial,' looks saddened by the replacement of Chaox by WildTurtle. After spending years with Chaox, Xpecial considers him a great friend; however, in the long run a professional team is about business. Furthermore, Xpecial does not consider Chaox as an inferior player to WildTurtle.  

So, the question remains, why was Chaox replaced? 

Without getting direct answers from the team itself in regards to the specifics of the replacement, it is important for people to understand how teams, generally, operate in games. In team games like League of Legends, communication is the most important aspect for teams. A leader for the team who acts as a 'shot-caller' is usually clearly defined in most teams. A team without a 'shot-caller' becomes representative of a solo queue team, which even with the highest level of mechanics, will not win in competitive play. In Team Solomid's case, they were operating with two 'shot-callers.' Both Reginald and Chaox are known for their natural leadership. Conflicting calls results to indecisive play which can be worse than a team making a bad call. In the end, a team wins and losses together - everyone makes mistakes. However, indecisive play is something that can be avoided entirely. 

Although I am not at a professional level, I have been playing on an amateur team for the past year. Albeit, we are not very good; similar issues appear even in the lowest form of competitive play. As a natural leader, at least what I consider myself to be, conflicting calls kill a teams chances at victory more than bad calls. Frequently, a bad call, when followed through, can still result to a positive play. However, when calls are completely questioned in the middle of a game, indecisive play allows a team to be picked apart. The general rule in competitive play is that a call is followed through to the end, regardless of result. Trust in your teammates is enormous when it comes to this kind of mentality. Similar views on 'teamwork' are seen, more broadly, in the military, and, more narrowly, professional teams. What seems like a 'bad fight' in the LCS and a team charging to their death is an application of this doctrine. 

It is worse to question a decision and remain indecisive than it is to fall victim to a non-optimal decision. 

With that in mind, two 'shot-callers,' regardless of how skilled they are, on a team generally results to highly conflicting decisions. From what I have heard / read on vlogs and comments, Team Solomid would usually pass the role of 'shot-caller' between Chaox and Reginald. Albeit, they have seen a ton of success, this was ultimately the reason for Chaox's dismissal. 

As for what remains of Team Solomid, I am sure Chaox played an instrumental role to the macro strategies of the popular team. I am, personally, interested to see how the team shifts in playstyle with the dismissal of their "genius of theory crafting" as Dyrus would put it .

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