Saintvicious on the keys to Apex’s success–and how Ohq is ‘super overrated’

14 days ago

When I brought Brandon Saintvicious Dimarco to the press room at the North American Challenger Series finals, he refused to shake my hand. Apparently thats a trend around these components. But unlike Shin Seraph Woo-yeong over the weekend, he wasnt making a big statementeven if hes tired of sitting through my 20 -minute interviews. He chose to hazard spicy Thai before video games, and was coughing earlier.

Even as a veteran and coach-and-four, Dimarco still has that edge that constructed him so effective. Hes always up for a challenge.

This season, he lead Apex Gamingthrough the Challenger Series, a squad constructed from the ashes of Coast. While organisations like Team Dragon Knights, who imported Korean superstar Oh “Ohq” Gyu-min, and Ember, with their publicly released $70,000 plus contracts, received all the hype, Dimarco quietly lead his squad of Korean youngsters and veteran Americans to the Challenger Series title.

They beat Team Dragon Knights convincingly in the Challenger Series finals yesterday, a 3-1 series that showed Apex is solidly the best amateur team in the scene. Now theyre merely one best-of-five series away from qualifying for the LCS. Based off Dimarcos history, Apex might be a lock. This will be the third team hes lead into the LCS after Curse Academy in 2014 and Team Coast in 2015.

Apex merely became the Challenger Series champions. How do you feel ?

I feel fairly damn good, but I mean, Im not going to be alleviated until were in. This is just one of the steps and we need to close it out.

Are you happy with how everyone played ?

I thought we played pretty decent. There was a couple major faults we plainly could fix. Theyre simple fixes , not like ‘oh my god, theres no way we are capable of fixing this’communication things, only small things. So I think we did well overall and Im pretty proud of the guys.

You guys lost that second game after groups together a fairly devious draft, grabbing lane counters in all three lanes. What happened ? We ended up 2v1ing and Im not going to go too far into the strategy, but basically that game, I think we should have won that game, but we did something really weird that weve never done before. Well Ill just say it 😛 TAGEND

Basically Sivir like froze the bot lane, which entails their bot lane, the only thing they can do is roam mid. The whole phase of our comp is just to keep people in lane and oppose, right? So when everybody is roaming around, Keane gets pressured and then … Yeah. You considered video games. They merely squad fought us. That should have been a lane dominant game. We just did random stuff weve never did before. I dont think theyll ever do that again.

Was that maybe just the pressure of playing in a big match ?

Yeah. Big match. Well, Police is also the youngest player on the team, unless you count Eve. Police is 18 and Eve is 17. Theyre pretty young. So I mean, theyre young players. Theyre still learning. Its okay to construct mistakes sometimes.

You mention Eve. You guys have Shrimp, one of the best Challenger Series junglers last season, so how did you decide to import Eve? Whats the thought process behind having both junglers, and how do you decide to use them ?

Originally we were going to try to have two teams. We had a team we tried to push through, the Warlords. I wasnt working with them at the time, I was working with NRG in Korea when they were bootcamping, so I came back kind of last minute, one day left.

Shrimp came back with us and he played in the define, he was super jet lagged, so the team actually didnt manage to go through the qualifiers. We were going to have Eve on one team and Shrimp on another and build a roster around him. That team didnt end up “re going through”. We really like Shrimp a lot. I guess both of them are super good junglers and would both do good in the LCS, so we decided to do kind of an SKT thing where we swap players out. You can see even in the last game, we had an AD heavy team comp, but Elise and Nautilus get really big. Thats because Eve has a really carry heavy play style. Shrimp more wants to help the lanes out and get the lanes ahead. We merely play to what our strengths are.

They also have different champion ponds too. Everyone is scared of Eves Nidalee. Nobody will ever give Eve Nidalee. Hes like rank 1 on the ladder right now and has a 90 percent win rate on Nidalee or something disgusting like that. Shrimp has his Reksai. They each have power champs so, they each have strengths.

How do you decide which one to deploy in a series like this one ?

Whatever, Ill just say the strategy, since we already did the series.

Basically I knew that they most teams and drafts dont leave Kalista Nidalee up. So I considered in video games before this they decided to first pick Nidalee over Kalista and we pressured them with Kalista. So okay, theres no way theyll give me the Nidalee. Theyll either ban it or theyll give us something, or theyll do what they did and first picking Nidalee, which I honestly believe shot them in the foot, because then we got the picks they were banning before. They were banning Graves, and then we aimed up get Graves. We also got Nautilus which was is a really contested picking. I think that merely played into the draft very well.

You guys also playing with Police, who is a bit of a newer player. He has a little bit of experience with Ever. What was it like working him into the lineup ?

Hes young and hes kind of a shy player. Hes like a funny child. Hes still learning English and all that stuff, but I mean we have a whole bunch of Koreans in the house so he feels comfortable. I guess Hes acclimating to being in NA a lot. Hes only a pretty all around solid player. He shows up, does what hes told, does his undertaking, wakes up on time, hes simply pretty much everything you can ask for in a young player. I really like working with him.

Is that maybe similar to all the Korean players that come over ?

No. I believed Shrimp was really difficult to work with at first. I had to like, transgress him down. Now hes super willing to work. He only wants to do whatever is going to help the team. Its really good to have that attitude, because when you have players swapping down, even Shrimp is like, ‘hey if we win this next game, you can set Eve in the next one because he needs to get some limelight too.’ Like they want to help one another. Its competitor, yeah, but at the end of the day they understand theyre a team. So thats good.

Police failed to qualify for the pro league when he got into the lineup with Ever. Did that stimulate him hungrier to win a game like this one ?

Ive never genuinely talked to him about that kind of stuff. But you can tell hes hungry for video games. Hes like rank 3 on the ladder right now or something. He just grinds solo queue. All he cares about is the game right now, so you can tell hes really hungry for the game. Everything about it, he simply wants it.

Obviously he had to go against Ohq, who is a pretty dominant player for the Challenger Series in so far. Police did well today. Were you expecting him to hold his own ?

I honestly think Ohq is super overrated. I think he pretty much “ve done nothing” in this entire series. I thought he was going to play Vayne or something since he played it in the last one. But he didnt even play Vayne into Sivir. Once he proved he didnt want to play Vayne into Sivir, I was like, ‘all right, Ohq sucks.’

I was a little confused with the Lucian pickings over and over .

Yeah thats what Im saying. When you indicate youre not down to play the counter matchup, that shows youre frightened, and you can just take advantage of that player for the rest of the series.

Lets step back and talking here you personally. Youve been coaching for about a year now ?


How are you enjoying coaching ?

I like it a lot better, to be honest. The style Ive always played the game, I merely try to think about video games and thats how I try to win. Like I have okay mechanics, when it comes to play, and my small decision making is pretty decent, but theres younger player snow that are much faster. Theyre only too good!

I got to play on Gravity before and I could shot call really easy because it was a tank meta, which requires lower mechanics. I could just sit behind and command the troops. I knew it was time to kind of just like, call it?

I think its a lot better for me to be a coach, because I guess when I played I never felt I had a good coach-and-four or anyone who really helped me out. So I wanted to give that to the players and give them the experience that I wanted as a player, and I think its working out pretty good. This would be my third team Ive helped push into the LCS.

Are you tired of pushing them into the LCS instead of being in the LCS ?

It doesnt matter to me. I mean I have a really good paying undertaking. I entail, Ill likely do LCS this split. Yeah, sadly Coast sold and I didnt get to be in the LCS with them. I guess I could glisten there. I dont guess the coaches in LCS are that great when it comes to ban pickings and things like that. So hopefully I do LCS this time. Even if we go LCS, Im still going to be trying to push another squad in Challenger. I like building things from the ground up and molding talent.

In the LCS this year a lot of teams are molding talent, right? Team Liquid has three teenagers .

I guess Team Liquid has always done a good job of bringing up new talent. I was one of the people in there, we had Curse Academy with me and Keane and Bunny. A bunch of young players who had never genuinely played heavy competitive much. I think they have the right formula and are really good for foster talent.

A lot of people always say NA has no talent. Do you think thats true? An unjust statement ?

I think thats an unjust statement. I think its all about the ambiance. You need a good coaching staff. You need a bit of veteran players in there too to help check the younger players. I think it needs to be a mix. I think If you have a bunch of old players, its gonna end up looking liketheyre gonna end up looking like Renegades. If you have a bunch of young players nobody knows whats going on. The shooting calling wont be there, you know? The experience isnt there. Theres a lot of hours youll be in the game, that youll make a call, youll merely build that call base off of experience. Ive been here before. Ive seen this. I know what to do.

Renegades is looking pretty good after that trade .

I think they definitely got better, but I find some interview where Seraph said theyre like, the No. 1 two team, but All right Seraph, lets calm down! I guess maybe they can make a pushing, but

Theyre still going to get relegated no matter what .

Yeah. I suppose depending on who they play. If they play TDK I dont think theyll get relegated.

I think youll ensure them next split and I think theyll perform a lot better. Because I think their roster right now is pretty decent.

So to its implementation of you as a coach-and-four, what do you think youre better at now than when you first started coaching ?

I suppose my outlaw pickings have improved. I had the ban pick gaffes of like when we played Renegades the last day, where we lost when I was with Coast. I really supposed more about banning pickings. I used to be cocky in prohibition picking. All right, Ill play this into anything, because well out-strategize you. Ive learned to do ban pick better, is the main thing.

I always try to be friends with players but still be an authority various kinds of person.

Has it been difficult to manage personalities from a different position on a team, as a coach instead of a player ?

I mean , not really? One of the reasons also is because we have a bunch of Korean and they all, theyre all about respecting your elders. They call elders hyung, it means like elder figure. Thats one of the reasons Koreans are easier to coach and build up as a squad, because they respect an authority figure. Theyre used to structure and that kind of stuff.

But Cris is a loose cannon ?

No I mean, Cris was kind of a loose cannon at first, but hes actually receptive to feedback. I have to work with him differently than the Koreans, I have to work with him on a friendship basis because Ive worked with him so long. We simply kind of trust each other.

So in terms of your coaching style, are you use analysts that feed you data, like a lot of other teams ?

They offered me analysts and stuff like that, but I dont use analysts or any of that junk. We have an deputy coach-and-four, Bliss. He was on Samsung. He mainly, I kind of task him with stuff. When people do weird micro mistakes, they play out a situation in the game kind of weird, Ill have him come in and talk. Hes still actually dedicated to the game. I think hes like rank 6 on the ladder or something. Hes still a really good player. He could probably play in the LCS and just junk people.

So “why theres” he coaching for you instead of playing ?

I dont know? He says he wants to coach. Hes getting paid pretty good.* laughs* so Im sure hes fairly happy with that. Uh We make a pretty good squad. Also hes completely bilingual, hes very fluent in English, he does a lot of the one-on-one coaching with the Koreans. Lets say I assure Police do something wrong, Ill be like, all right Bliss, you need to correct this with him. Hell talk to him in away thats more comfortable for Police. Thats kind of the route I use the tools in front of me.

I dont actually care about analysts or anything like that, because, I watch pretty much all the high end competitive games. I study them. I still play the game a lot myself too, so if I see something thats OP from solo queue, well talk about it as a team. Yep, were going to use that, or were going to counter it with this. Or if something is giving us difficulty in scrims, Ill go play it in solo queue or play verse it in solo queue. Bliss does the same thing.

Instead of i look at stuff, we actually feel it in video games. I think thats one of the things that gives us an edge over a lot of other coaches and analyst staffs.

Thats interesting. But does playing too much cut into your time to do other important things, like research ?

I mean, I dont know. I guess researching is important but at the end of the day when youre doing prohibition picks and trying to plan for a series, you should come in with whats strong for you. Dont worry about the enemy too much, worry about yourself. If you have strong comps, youll be fine.

Bliss was actually a teammate of Eve, right? Did you get them as a package deal ?

I wasnt actually shall include participation in the acquisition but Im pretty sure thats how it happened. Eve and Bliss and Police all came together since the were friends.

That must make it easier to adapt to America, especially if Bliss English is good. The other two dont speak well yet, right ?

They speak English but its pretty rough. If they talk fast they wont understand. You have to be basic. Theyre getting better over time, but its still a second language for them.

They pick it up pretty quick, especially when theyre so young .


Earlier, you sounded pretty nonchalant about building LCS again. So its not your big aim to be a head coach-and-four who wins worlds, or something like that ?

I mean, patently Id like to go to worlds. I mean I think this team even has the possibility of improving. They show improvement every day and they just get better and better. Even perhaps next split if we make it in there could be the possibility for a operate. Plainly Id like to be on the big stage, but all that glory and all that junk, I got that from being a player. I dont genuinely care about it. Id much instead simply have a good relationship with my players and the people I work for. I love building up new teams, thats only my thing. Someones gotta do it, man!

Well thats going to be your reputation after this one, right ?

Yes. The ELO booster.

So you only have to win more series to get in now ?

Yeah. Thankfully after this, we get to doubled elim. I think well have to play Dig or Renegades, and I think we can fare pretty well against either of those.

Is there a specific squad youd instead face or one youre afraid of ?

Wed instead face Dig only because, I entail, you go late game, theyll never they just never win! I dont know whats incorrect with them! No matter what. Youre like, theyll win this one! Then…

If you know whats wrong, you should probably tell them, after last week. Its the humane thing to do .

I dont know what to say. For some reason they just cant get it together. Obviously, Id much instead play against them.

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