The way that football has worked over recent weeks has been very interesting, particularly at the top level. The Champions League final took place in Kiev, between Real Madrid and Liverpool, and the game went as any expert would expect, with the best team winning. What was a surprise in the follow up to everyone ended up being the resignation of Zinedine Zidane, one of the true greats of his generation, and the most successful manager in Champions League history.
After his third title in the same number of years, Zidane walked away from the team, citing the need for change if they were to retain that level of greatness. The more cynical among us might suggest that he saw the age of his squad and the decline in their performance and realised the time to quit was correct, but the shock was still considerable, as he was walking away from the best team in the world.
You might say it doesn’t matter, but in football the position of the manager is as crucial as any. You can have the best eleven players going and still lose, partly due to the way the game works, but also because football is so developed tactically and technically that having the best players is simply not close to enough. Right now, there is an argument to say esports goes both ways, but it’s definitely trending toward the more technical long-term.
More than the sum of their parts
In Counter Strike the topic has come up a lot of late, as there are collections of high skilled players failing to deliver and struggling to play in a coherent way. In contrast too, there are teams at the very top of the tree who have good players, but become more than the sum of their parts with the way they play, practice, and plan their time on the server and away.
Astralis are obviously the top of the tree team with the teamplay to match, and a lot of their success has come from the relationship between team leader gla1ve and coach zonic, who have worked together on tactics and also scheduling the team’s play time. In comparison, teams like SK Gaming or FaZe are either clearly lacking in upper management to advise them on healthy practice, or just not in possession of the sort of leader to get the most out of their players.
You might say, as with the Zidane case, that any coach and IGL should be able to perform with a team that has NiKo, Rain and Guardian on board, but we can dispute that. In an undeveloped meta, or at a low level, mechanical skill will take you where you need to go, but once the game develops to higher levels that is not going to cut it, and in CS we have the best examples of this fact, from FaZe to G2 and beyond. Teams that are man-for-man more talented than other orgs, that they often lose to.
Zidane himself is a touch out of FaZe’s reach, and probably not the guy you want running your CS team anyway, but a revolution in coaching and leading can not be far away now, with the speed the scene has grown at. It’s tough to say, but with the advent of zews it may already have begun, and happily it should lead to a steady improvement in the overall meta. Who knows, one day maybe we’ll have our own Zidane too, when FalleN, NiKo or one other great hangs up the mouse, but still craves the glory.