Coaching will now be an officially recognized position on professional teams in League of Legends.
Today Riot Games revealed the details of the plan we knew was coming since September, when the company decided to keep SK Gaming coach Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen out of the Riot World Championships. As a player Jensen had been “permabanned” from the game.
The company will provide League Championship Series teams with a $25,000 budget per split to support a “Head Coach” and a coaching staff, with $12,500 of that money tabbed for the Head Coach’s salary.
In addition, Riot is increasing the impact coaches have in the league by allowing the head coach to communicate with the team on stage during the pick and ban phase of official matches. The head coach can provide input through the entire pick and ban phase, meaning they can decide bans and outline a match strategy as each team composition forms. That means coaches can devise a gameplan in real-time, with full knowledge of each team composition, and make sure the team knows what they have to do to win a game given the picks.
“We believe that will result in more strategic depth in the league, and ultimately, more compelling games.”
That could have a profound shift on the competitive landscape, if teams are able to employ the right coaching talent.
“Incorporating coaches into champion select will allow teams to leverage the decision-making and focus of their Head Coach to help them exploit opponents’ weaknesses and better react to unexpected or highly-targeted pick-ban strategies,” Nick Allen, the league’s organizational manager, wrote in the announcement. “We believe that will result in more strategic depth in the league, and ultimately, more compelling games.”
As the competition level rises, esports by nature becomes more and more specialized. Players don’t have time to watch tape and keep track of pick and ban trends around the globe while they’re practicing 12 hours a day. Introducing a coach into the equation should raise the level of play in league. At least, after teams weed out the poor coaching talent.