Pr0lly: “Playing the game with discipline is the hardest thing to teach a Western player.”

Photograph taken by: Michal Konkol / Riot Games

After two incredibly close games against Misfits, H2k managed to grab a 2-0 win despite being behind in gold by 8.5k in the second game. We got to talk to their coach Pr0lly about his future plans for the team, the importance of late game and the discipline of Western players.

First of all congratulations on the win. How do you feel right now?

Stressed! Those were not easy wins by any means and more importantly not clean wins either. But through the stress, there’s that ball of happiness that we were able to pull off some of the things we’ve been practicing. This wasn’t necessarily stuff you saw on stage but mental things that we’ve been working on, like coming back from early game deficits and playing the game for the long haul. I was pretty happy that my players were able to do that but at the same time, the plays made during the first ten minutes weren’t that great.

That’s fair. These games definitely showed that you guys were working on this area, given the fact that you made the biggest comeback we’ve seen this split so far. Was there a specific training method that you used to prepare your players for situations like these?

There are a lot of steps that are involved in this, so it’s hard to break it down in a simple matter. I’ve always been a huge fan of teams that you can never beat the early game. A good and very easy example of this is SKT, where you can even be ahead by 5k gold at 25 minutes but that’s not going to be enough to beat them. I’ve always idolized this kind of style where it doesn’t matter how hard you win the early game if you can’t win later against these kinds of teams. My coaching was always influenced by this, although my team has always had a really good early game. But in an ideal world, that’d be the kind of team I would create: A team that might not dominate the early game but once the game hits 25 minutes, there’s no way my team’s going to lose.

In this games against Misfits, our early game was relatively poor though. Misfits had team compositions that were a lot more suitable for the early game and played it really well, so that’s just a part we’ll have to revisit and look at again. We don’t want to make these mistakes again.

Last split H2k was known for early game pressure, with Jankos getting First Blood almost every game and even being called the “First Blood King”. It usually was the late game that H2k was struggling in, so it’s interesting that you seemingly want to reverse H2k’s previous playstyle in a way?

Late game is just hard to practice because you really only get to play the late game on stage. When enemy teams are behind in scrims, they usually surrender the game or just not play the game out slow, like protect their objectives and carries. They instead go all-in, get aced at 25 minutes and then the game’s done from there. So it’s really hard to practice late game. We always had it in mind but it was hard to implement properly, especially since we had three new players, including a new shot caller as well. In a way, we tried to compensate for these issues by using our players’ strong mechanics and early playmaking abilities. Now that the team has formed itself, we’re trying to move on to the next step.

I can’t get too wrapped in my fantasy! But it’s such a cool idea, to give the enemy team a timer and once that hits 25 minutes, they can’t beat us. In addition to this strategy, we also have players like Jankos, Odoamne or Febiven who are really good in the early game. So the point is that they can’t snowball against us but we’ll always scale better than them.

So what specifically went wrong in the second game where you guys were down 8.5k at one point?

One of the reasons as to why teaching late game in the West is so hard is because it requires an immense amount of discipline. That’s honestly something that most of the players here don’t have. When it comes to the game, sure, they practice a lot, they work out, so there’s some discipline there. But when it comes to playing the game with discipline, that’s the hardest thing to teach any Western player.

So this early game we didn’t have lanes that were strong enough to win 1v1. And we didn’t have a Jungler that could assist in winning lanes. As I watched the early game, I noticed that Odoamne was still playing like he was trying to win lane. And if we would’ve had a Jungler that would compliment that, then that would’ve been fine. But we didn’t. So Elise went top, which led to Odoamne getting pressured and punished for not playing the lane with the discipline I was talking about. The same happened in the Midlane, where Febiven had the losing matchup but he wasn’t playing it like he was trying to survive laning phase. He pretended that he was on even footing with PoE. Of course, you want your players to keep their killer instinct, but this discipline is definitely needed and it kinda fell through the cracks today.

You guys now have a week off to train for the remaining split. Is there something special that you have planned on implementing during the training routines?

I want to take more time to properly make my players understand the strategy that I’m trying to implement. I dislike using brute force or simply making my players play more hours of League of Legends. The problem with this is that it’s easy to brush these strategies off as something you already know, so you won’t remember them when they’re important. Does that make sense? If you think something is easy, you’re inclined to dismiss it. So I want to make sure that the players truly understand what I’m trying to do.

Anything you’d like to say to the H2k fans?

Thanks for all the support for H2k and thanks to everyone watching our stressful games. Hopefully, we’ll get better and just beat everyone!

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.