On the 31st of October 2017, Splyce announced the signing of their new coach Peter Dun. Peter has previously worked in China, and has spent the past two years in Brazil with INTZ, where he succeeded in winning two splits of CBLOL in 2016 and managed to qualify for Worlds as well.
We had the chance to speak with Splyce’s new coach and talk to him about his experience in Brazil, the decision to work in Europe, as well as his thoughts about the upcoming EU LCS split.
Now that you’ve spent two years with INTZ, what was the biggest motivation for you to come work for Splyce?
I enjoyed my time in Brazil with INTZ a lot. The organization has always treated me well, the players are very hard working and the fans are great. Almost all INTZ fans I have met are patient and understand that results and developing winning teams takes time and isn’t something you can buy overnight, this is EXTREMELY rare for a top teams in esports, and is 100% unique in Brazil. However, I have had health problems due to the climate and food in Brazil. Because of health problems I could not be on stage in first split (as I had to return to the UK for treatment for weeks 3-4 and rules to allow coach changes mid split were only introduced in split 2 this year). Second split I missed week 6-7 and first two weeks of break between regular season and playoffs. This definitely hurt us preparing for big patch change for semis. As a coach, it’s always important for me to feel that I can give 100%. This is why I work as hard as possible during regular season. Knowing that I couldn’t give 100% any more was a big factor in choosing to leave.
Was there any specific reason why you chose Europe as the next step in your career?
In the offseason, I had offers from every major region except Korea and most minor regions, including working remotely for Brazilian teams. Rather than saying I chose to work in Europe I think it is more accurate to say I chose to work with Splyce, who happen to be in Europe. I admire the organization’s ethics, treatment of their players and long term approach to constructing winning teams. Marty is one of the best owners in esports and although Splyce are not on the level of the most established brands in Western League of Legends right now, like TSM, C9, FNC, they are growing and I hope I can help them find success.
How would you compare the Brazilian and the European scenes, is it even possible to compare both regions?
The player base in EU is larger. People take solo queue more seriously. There are more established routes to professional play for players and more importantly for support staff through regional leagues and more. This is something which is only the case in China, Korea and Europe, not even NA/LMS, and it’s why you see so few coaches without a history as a player come through in other regions. I have never played professional League, but I like to think I know a little about League of Legends. If I was Brazilian I think that the chance I could have found a good coaching position would have been 50-50. We see this all the time. Maestro, the current INTZ head coach, is a smart guy who will do a great job at INTZ. But when INTZ signed him he had no team. CNB released him. There’s no way to prove yourself as a coach in Brazil, and it means a lot of the coaching talent never gets the chance to come through, you have either be an ex-player or lucky. Talent alone is not enough.
Do you think you can apply some of the things you learned and applied at INTZ to Splyce or in general to European players? Is the gap between the players too big or is the way people work too different between both regions?
I coached in China for almost four years before I joined INTZ. That said, I don’t think a lot of the skills I learnt in China carried across. League is a constantly evolving game. The real things which allow me to adapt to a new environment is my training in professional sports coaching and teaching. League changes, but coaching fundamentals stay the same wherever you go.
Europe is known for finding and training a lot of home grown talent, in the last year at INTZ you rebuilt the whole roster with success, do you plan to approach the new job in a similar fashion and strengthen the actual roster with new upcoming talent?
Europe is a complex region with lots of national leagues. It is not a region I know as well as Brazil or China, and adapting will take time. Luckily there is a good support staff and scouting network in Splyce that will help make sure we have the right roster in place by the start of the new season. I have always believed that there are no shortcuts to success in league, and building in game fundamentals is the key to winning. This won’t change at Splyce.
Due to the new LCS changes a lot of people are predicting that NA teams will reach out to European teams and buy out all the talent, do think this will be a big challenge or what do you see as the biggest challenge for the next split?
The European talent pool is deep enough that even if the top 10 players leave to go to NA, the region will suffer in the short term, but new stars will come to fill those places. The biggest challenge for me personally will be adapting to a new culture and work environment. I know EU players like to trash talk a lot more than players I have worked with in Brazil for instance!
What is your main personal goal with Splyce for the coming split?
I will need to respond to that question once I get to know my players and roster situation in the coming month. An organization like Splyce should always expect to make playoffs at the bare minimum. Judging realistic expectations will depend on how the environment in EU LCS changes as a result of franchising in NA and new structure/financial incentives from Riot EU.
What do you expect for Europe and Splyce for next split?
Season 7 is the first year since I started coaching League that I have not been able to help a team I was coaching qualify for worlds. Partly this was down to massive changes in meta, partly down to my sickness after regular season, partly down to Pain’s excellent performance in the semi finals. Anything less than Worlds qualification next year would be a disappointment.
Thank you very much for your time!
Photo courtesy by Riot Games Brazil