‘To be coachable is to be willing to bypass your ego’Posted by League of Legends 14 June 2018 in
An interview with Daniel ‘Exorant’ Hume, Sector One LoL’s sixth team member
By Fedor ‘DeFörklift’ Span and Lucie ‘Mannerisms’ Kattenbroek
For the past few weeks, none other than Daniel ‘Exorant’ Hume has completed Sector One’s main LoL line-up as head coach. We’re very happy he has joined the Sector One family. In this interview, Daniel talks about his career, Quake 2, and the uncanny liking he has for a particular LoL champion.
Daniel, welcome to Sector One. Can you tell us a bit about your coaching experience?
I’ve been coaching for about 4 years. I started in Latin America South with a team from Chile called Last Kings, after which I transitioned back to Europe. Here I coached a few semi-pro teams, of which one was called “to Infinity and Beyond”, which at the time had players such as Maxlore and Alphari. Next I went to Copenhagen wolves and from there to Euronics gaming, and then I had a brief period of coaching in Turkey… which was a very gruelling experience. I was really disappointed with the way things went, and I then promised myself I would never go back to Turkey. Ever. Shortly after I did go back. To Supermassive. We won the split convincingly and went to MSI. Overall that was a really nice season. However, it did take me a long way from home for quite some time, so after MSI I decided to split with them and find a job closer to home. I was with Millenium last split and now I’m here with you guys. Again taking a breather.
Are you calling the Benelux scene a breather?
Breather is not the right word, I’m very happy to be here. I just mean it’s not that hardcore, there is just eh.. a lot less at stake!
Yeah we’re totally not putting this in the interview. You called our league non-hardcore.
Nono honestly you have to.. you have to you know, go through this and take what you like. I’m with you guys because I like you. I like how you guys are doing things and I think you are a nice bunch. Most of the time you actually listen to what I’m saying, and that’s no small thing.
I remember us talking about Heroes of Might and Magic. How did you first get into gaming?
I’ve always been a gamer. Ever since I saw my first pc, and I saw my first game… it was called Tarzan. Which was like, a figurine that was Tarzan. It didn’t look anything like it, it was just two sticks. And you had to grab a rope and jump over pits. Ever since that I’ve been in love with the concept of gaming, and computers in general. Serious gaming however… it started with Quake 2.
That’s a good game man. I remember playing that on LAN parties.
Yeah that’s how we did it back then. There were these huge LAN parties or we’d play it over and over at LAN cafés. Even today if I were to play it with the same people I wouldn’t get enough of it. The social part of it was insane.
Later Quake was kind of undermined by Counter Strike, and I didn’t like Counter Strike that much. I was in a limbo until a friend recommended Guild Wars. Back then it was the only real MMORPG opponent to World of Warcraft. And man, the PVP there was just absolutely amazing. There was no such thing really as an esports athlete back then, we were just doing it because we liked it. I was in a Guild there that was top 10 worldwide at one point, and the developer actually starting hosting competitions with prize money. If there was some money on the line: sure, why not? Competing in these tournaments was a very very nice experience for us. So that was probably the beginnings of my eh… gaming career.
So how did that transition into becoming a League of Legends coach?
After Guild Wars I played a few MMORPGs, after which I started playing DotA with friends. At some point DotA just died, and League of Legends came out of nowhere. I enjoyed it a lot. I have been watching the competitive scene since Season 1, you know, where Fnatic actually won the only western title. Then I remember in season 4 Riot announced that they would provide some money for the coaching staff – back then it was only for the head coach position – and that’s when I had the idea that I could actually do that. That’s when I started learning how to be a coach. I gradually got more involved in the scene: I wrote for an esports website, and I started to know more and more people, until I actually had my first coaching opportunity in South America. At the same time I was also an analyst for Team Liquid to try to improve myself.
We should go on to the next part, but before we do so, I’d like to know if you can try to answer the very difficult question: what are your three favourite games?
Of all times?
Yes, of all times. And nostalgic value is included here
Ah man… That’s hard… I think Diablo 2 has to be there for sure. Although I may even just put Diablo and Diablo 2 up there. Diablo was basically the first RPG that I ever played. Can I split them into multiplayer and singleplayer games?
Daniel takes a rather long moment to contemplate.
Singleplayer I would put Diablo I and II, then probably Gothic I and II. The feeling of those games was just so amazing. And then at the end I’d probably have to put a really recent game: The Witcher III. It is just so amazing from every perspective. For multiplayer, Quake 2, Guild wars, League of Legends.
Haha thanks, that must have been a difficult exercise. So, you’ve been in South America, Turkey, and EU, with quite some impressive names. What would you say are the absolute highlights of your coaching career so far?
My favourite career moment… Probably when we won our first tournament undefeated with the Last Kings. The second one would probably be winning TCL. Both were very rewarding.
You must have an idea of the kinds of teams you personally find most enjoyable to coach. What sort of characteristics are you looking for in a League team?
I value a good attitude above everything else, and I like teams that are full of teammates, not just players. And since I’m a coach, most important is that I want to work with people that are coachable.
What does it mean to be coachable?
To be coachable, is to actually want to learn and to be willing to bypass your ego. One of the things that can get in your way, in the way of learning and improvement, is yourself. You can get in your way. The moment you start taking things, like criticism, personally, you stop thinking about what they actually mean. All you think about is how you got hurt by those words. In my opinion that’s what it means to be coachable: to be willing to let somebody else criticize you and teach you new things. And even putting aside your prejudices, right? You may think that something is good, well maybe it’s not. Sometimes we value our opinion above others’. This is something I don’t like to see in players. And again, this is a team game. It’s not tennis, it’s not Starcraft. So be good teammates, care for each other.
As the interviewer I shouldn’t be too biased, but as your toplaner this is a good explanation for why we’re super excited we get to work with you. Why did you choose to coach us?
The reason I chose you guys is because everyone I met in Sector One has been nice, positive, and very open minded, and I like that. I like being part of these groups of people. It helps me, and I can help you. I mean, like I said, you guys listen, you try. You don’t implement it 100% efficiently, not all the time, but everyone does their best. I value that.
That’s very nice to hear. What do you hope to achieve while you’re with Sector One?
Some people say that winning worlds is the only thing that matters in League. That’s a pretty stupid sentiment. Everything you can win counts. And unless you have the experience of winning a tournament, you don’t know how it is. You don’t know how satisfying it can get, you know? Because it’s an achievement, not at all achievements are equal, but they don’t have to be. So the goal is to win everything, and I think that is a reasonable goal to have.
Then for some League of Legends specific questions, what is your favourite strategy?
Oh so, I like teamfighting and siege the most. I don’t really like splitpush- and pickcomps that much. I like what I call the ‘old faithful’ of League of Legends, you know? The big teamfighting teams. And it’s probably because I‘m old that this appeals to me more than other strategies.
Do you think your Guild Wars experience could be why you find teamfighting most fun?
Yeah probably! It has to have to do something with that. Guild Wars was just about the teamfighting, you always had sort of a splitpusher, but the other 7 were permanently in ‘mid’ teamfighting. Everything had to be so coordinated, and I feel teamfighting in League is quite similar and very enjoyable.
And then for the last question: do you have a favourite League champion?
Oh yes I do. It’s Nautilus. Nautilus support. Best champion. I just love Nautilus support. I can just queue support/top and play Nautilus. It’s very easy to hit his hook. I’ve always loved champions with hooks, but I was never good at playing them. Except for Nautilus.
Thanks for taking the time, Daniel. Looking forward to see where we’re getting!