Deilor talks being an autodidact and getting back into League Coaching: “I won’t return to coaching in the EU LCS. Even though I really enjoy coaching, I think I can add much more value to orgs and the esports industry in other ways.”

Deilor
Photograph taken by: Michal Konkol / Riot Games

Hi Deilor, thank you very much for your time.

You have been a professional Poker player, esports coach and are now developing a gaming keyboard with Dygma. What would you describe as your secret for being such a jack of all trades, for being able to work in very different industries, yet succeeding nonetheless?

I’d say it’s the combination of obsessive focus with learning capacity. I’ve tinkered my life habits to be able to accomplish my goals. I’ve haven’t watched TV, read the news or listened to the radio for over 10 years. I don’t really use social media, I’m only active on Twitter from time to time.

We are “infoxicated” (intoxicated by information) and I’m very careful with where I put my attention. I try reading and watching only stuff that is going to help me. This applies to leisure time too.

About my learning capacity, I’m an autodidact and I’m constantly seeking to learn. Most people learn something and then they apply what they’ve learnt for many years, improving little or very slowly. In my case, I read, watch or listen to educational content on a daily basis and when I feel I’m close to the top of a field I just jump to a different one.

During the last decade I’ve developed a system to learn anything and reach a high level of expertise in any area. In January I was invited to the LAN Player summit and gave a talk to the players of the league and talked about it. The system’s steps summarized would be:

  1. Be aware of your limitations and strengths
  2. Create a borderline impossible-to-achieve-like of plan
  3. Create a plan to achieve the goal
  4. Study
  5. Experiment
  6. Iterate until you are ready
  7. Execute

The key is to live outside of your comfort zone. Of course it’s uncomfortable and sometimes scary because you are constantly doing stuff you know little about, but this way you’ll never stop growing.

With Dygma, you’re trying to reinvent the gaming-wheel by providing a very different kind of keyboard. What gave you the idea of splitting a keyboard in half? Did you tilt so much after a game that you broke a keyboard and kept playing with one half?

Since my poker days I’ve always looked for ways of optimizing my process or tools that help me perform. Working with Fnatic I had several players with wrist problems and other physical issues. I looked for a solution for months but nothing really convinced me. This was where the idea behind Dygma was born.

Dygma, a new, ergonomic keyboard that Deilor is currently working on:

Once I left Fnatic, I spent some time thinking what I would do next. I knew I didn’t want to coach anymore, I wanted to do something that impacted the whole esports community. Knowing that all gaming companies are making nearly the same products, I thought that creating an ergonomic keyboard could add a lot of value to esports. I thought that many wouldn’t understand the point of it but I hope this plants a seed and many more gaming products have the player’s health as one of their core values.

Even though Dygma is one of the first gaming companies to properly split a keyboard in half, there have been attempts by other companies such as Razer to make a more ergonomic keyboard that can be used by one hand only. What makes Dygma so special in comparison?

The half-keyboards are gaming keypads. Raise is a gaming keypad and keyboard in the same device. What make it so special is the combination of the following features:

  1. The split design. It allows you to improve body posture and reduce stress on wrists and shoulders.
  2. Fully customizable layouts. You can create multiple layouts and toggle between them instantly. Any key in any layout is remappable and can be configured as a macro.
  3. 8 thumb keys. The thumb is the strongest and least used finger. The keys are where your thumbs rest so they are easy to access.
  4. Gaming keypad experience and normal typing in the same device. You can detach any sides and play with the other and you’ll have more space for your mouse and extra thumb buttons. And if you want a normal typing experience you can just snap both sides together.

There are many more features but those are the core that can lead to improved health and performance.

Do you think that new technology could increase the esport career length of active players?

Yes, but technology won’t do much alone. I think the length of player’s careers is so short because of their routines and habits. They end up burning out, stop improving, stop enjoying it and quit.

After leaving Fnatic, many thought that you’d leave esports for good. However, you’re currently also the “Director of esports performance” at the Spanish team Movistar Riders. What is it that you do in this position exactly?

My goal in Movistar Riders is to create a structure that enables the org to win mid-long term in a sustainable way. So winning is a consequence of our processes, not a result of hiring the most expensive available players and staff.

As my job, I help design the roster and hire players, help design the team’s and player’s growth plan, coach the coaching staff and sometimes coach the players. Basically, I help the team build a roster that is aligned with the organization’s culture, that meshes well together and gives the coaching staff and players the tools to grow and excel.

Can we expect you to make a return to EU LCS as a coach or manager in the future?

No, I won’t. Even though I really enjoy coaching, I think I can add much more value to orgs and the esports industry in other ways. Creating products that potentially benefit all gamers, creating better organizational structures and consulting for orgs in all regions.

What do you think are the most important things every coach needs to bring to the table?

This answer could be as long as a book but just to mention a few important ones in no particular order:

  • Be a role model for your players
  • Hold players and staff accountable
  • Absorb conflict between players
  • Have a system so the team works at the edge of their comfort zone.
  • Don’t be scared of making mistakes. Ask constantly, connect the dots and reach conclusions. Expose yourself, make mistakes, say sorry, explain what happened, grow and move on.

Thank you very much for your time!

Toru

Toru is an esports journalist trying to nurture esports culture whenever possible. He’s into sports in general, manga and once started a degree in psychology.