Deilor: “If we don’t qualify for Worlds I’d feel like I’ve failed”

Over a week ago the lolesports League Championship Series promotional site revealed that Luis “Deilor” Sevilla would be Fnatic’s new head coach. After a first week in which the team has surprised almost everyone, the Spaniard has given FailFlash an interview. This is a translation of the original version.

Glord: It isn’t your first time as a League of Legends coach, but Fnatic and the LCS are an obvious step forward in your career. How do you feel about joining the premier European competition alongside one of the most prestigious organizations?

Deilor: My goal for this year was to get into the LCS and I actually thought it would take me more time. It means I’ve achieved my first objective, but actually this is just the first step. It’s also an opportunity to test my coaching techniques and game theories at the highest level.

G: The Spanish scene is well known for its organizations instability. Now that you are in a major one, like Fnatic, what are the fundamental differences between European and Spanish organizations?

D: The amount of money that European organizations have is an important difference, but what really separates them is the professionalism. When I was in OverGaming the bosses didn’t assist to the meetings we had, they didn’t even talk to the players and made negative comments on Twitter when we lost. That is absolutely unthinkable in Fnatic. I’ve had a constant communication with my bosses since I arrived and they really care about their players.

G: Fnatic is a team that didn’t invest early for an established staff that helped the players to unleash their full potential. One of most talked-about problems was that the team didn’t have enough motivation sometimes, and only strived for the Playoffs. What is your perspective about the role of the staff in a League of Legends team?

D: I think that Fnatic made mistakes in the past in that regard, but they’ve acknowledged them and that’s why they’ve looked for a coach with years of experience in other fields instead of a former player. For me, the staff is what turns a good team into a great team. If you have mediocre players your staff will make them improve to some point, but if you have great players the staff will make them reach their maximum level, both individual and collective. The latter is the most important. Those same talented players, without staff, wouldn’t be that good or be able to maintain themselves at the top.


G: As a result of the loss of their staff, Fnatic opened a process in which everyone could apply for the head coach position. Could you explain how did the situation evolve from your cover letter to your selection?

D: I sent the cover letter alongside an analysis of a game. Two days later they replied with more questions about my work methods. I answered them and the next day we had a Skype meeting, where they asked me a lot more questions about my coaching philosophy, how would I resolve conflicts, which nuances of the game would I focus on, etc. I went over another round of interviews with the same people and, finally, I met Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim. He asked me some more questions about the game and brought up hypothetical team problems that I had to solve. Some days later they made me an offer.

G: Organizations previously had not only a head coach, but a whole team to analyze  and work in other tactical topics. What system are you going to follow in Fnatic?

D: At the moment it’s just me and an analyst for Europe, but I’m looking forward to having an analyst for LCK and LPL and an assistant to complement my job. I’ve been assigned to look for the right staff, but we only had nine days to prepare the first LCS week so the staff isn’t complete yet.

G: Before you got into League of Legends you had a successful past in the poker world, both as a player and as a professional coach. How does that experience have an impact in your way of coaching a team like Fnatic?

D: Most of my coaching techniques and my game perspective come from all I developed training poker players. If I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be able to associate all the players’ “mental mistakes” or explain them what patterns do their brain follows and how do they affect their in game performance. I’ve also spent a lot of years training my logic and deductive capability, which combined to my knowledge of how emotions work is very useful too.


G: The LCS has experienced many changes regarding its format. What do you think of the new competitive structure? Does it benefit you?

D: I believe they’ve made a great job introducing a points system so the first split matters, but I think that the Bo1 matches diminish the strategic depth of the game. I would prefer having Bo2, even though Bo3 would be the best because in those series adapting between games to the enemies picks and bans is very important. I think that playing in a Bo3 system would benefit us since I believe our draft is very strong and we’re able to adapt faster than most of the teams.

G: Fnatic’s decisions were perceived as questionable. In fact, many ensured that the team lost in the offseason. Do you think they’ve taken the best choices considering the situation? There were many free agents that could have ended playing for Fnatic.

D: I understand the community when they think that Fnatic didn’t make good decisions regarding their recruiting, since four of the players still had to prove that they were able to perform at a professional level. That being said, I think that the decisions were well thought-out and considering how the team is playing it could be said that they were great signings.

G: Be that as may, the team is already confirmed and there is no turning back point. Fnatic’s official statement ensured that the new players were the “biggest four talents in League of Legends”. Do you consider that accurate?

D: If we talk about Europe, yes, but globally that’s saying a lot. There are very good players in Asia.

G: YellOwStaR is obviously the team leader as the only remaining member of the former roster. Give his experience, especially compared to his teammates, we can assume he will be something like your Xavi Hernández in the Rift. How has your relationship developed so far?

D: I think that’s a very good analogy. We have a great relationship, he’s a very open minded player that is willing to work hard in order to improve. He always wants to talk about game theories and isn’t satisfied with half measures, which facilitates my work since it forces the team to come up with the best solution.


G: Bora itself said that he accepted the challenge of this new Fnatic’s era. Do you think he will be able to guide the new talents?

D: I’m sure he will.

G: Communication is one of the most important factors in League of Legends. There are exceptions like Starhorn Royal Club at Worlds, but teams with several languages use to suffer communicative problems. How has the communication been so far?

D: Actually our in game communication is very fluid. Kim “ReignOver” Yeu-jin speaks English fluently and Huni knows enough to be able to communicate in game.

G: Sometimes leaving a different culture like the Korean is an abrupt change for the players when they come to the West. We’ve seen how Team Liquid has tried to make Chae “Piglet” Gwan-jin feel like home. What is Fnatic doing to help Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and ReignOver to get acclimatized?

D: I’d say they haven’t had trouble adapting. All the players are very friendly and there is a great team environment, which allow them to be themselves. Additionally they are both Korean, so they aren’t that culture isolated like when Piglet arrived to Team Liquid’s gaming house.

G: Teams like Elements or Liquid have opted for separating the work place from home, just like Taipei Assassins did in Season 2. What do you think about the efficiency of gaming houses compared to that system?

D: I think it’s a good idea for teams that have been together for a while, but not for new ones like Fnatic. For me it’s way easier to understand how they think if I watch them interact through the whole day, both in and out of the game. That makes my coaching more efficient in less time.

G: International events like the All-Star Paris 2014 have proved that Fnatic is the most supported team in Europe. However, their biggest attractions have left the ship. Do you think the fans will remain faithful to their colours?

D: I think that many of them doubted the team after losing four big European legends, but after the convincing wins and the playstyle we’ve shown we’ve finally convinced them.

G: The shadow of the most successful team of the EU LCS linger upon the new team. There is no doubt that you have a great pressure over your shoulders. What are your expectations for this season?

D: My expectations are qualifying for Worlds. If we didn’t I’d feel like I’ve failed. We have more than enough talent, it’s in my hands to extract and maximize the teams potential.

You can follow Deilor, who we thank his time for this interview, via Twitter.

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Images: Tales Graphic | Twitter | Deilor’s Blog|  Fnatic