Slingshot’s Alexandre “DrPuppet” Weber had the opportunity to talk with Misfits coach Hussain “Daku” Moosvi during the European League of Legends Championship Series spring finals about his team’s playoff run, his coaching philosophy and Misfits’ first split in the LCS.
Alexandre “DrPuppet” Weber: Thank you for joining us here today. How are you feeling after the games from yesterday?
Hussain “Daku” Moosvi: I’m feeling a bit disappointed with our performance yesterday. The stage is great, the crowd is great, so I was hoping that we could put more of a show. But with that said, I’m happy with a top four finish for our first split. I think it is admirable, and I’m proud of the guys overall.
AW: Yesterday, I was a little bit surprised you guys let Rekkles get all games his Kennen AD Carry pick. Did you feel comfortable playing against it? Or weren’t you able to show something you prepared against that pick?
HM: I think we just felt comfortable handling the pick because the reason Kennen works for Rekkles specifically is not the pick itself. Obviously he is a great Kennen player, but I think it is more of a stylistic choice Rekkles plays and Fnatic plays overall, which made us feel no matter which pick he gets, they would be able to affect the side wave pressure anyway. That’s just how Fnatic plays, so we just had to be able to beat their style anyway. That’s the reason why we kept the Twitch ban throughout the games because if they are playing their side lane style, Kennen is much easier to deal with as opposed to a Twitch, while he might play the pick itself really well.
AW: The team looked kind of shaky yesterday. First round of playoffs you had to do a reverse sweep to get into the semifinals. Was there any kind of individual problems in the team that made the dominant Misfits lose their prowess at the end of the split?
HM: I think a big reason that we had a huge rise in the middle of the split was that our vision game was better than everyone else at the time. A few teams that went to IEM have come out and said this that they learned a lot from LMS’ Flash Wolves. They would group up with their top laner and get vision as a four-men unit. At the time, no one except for us was doing this. As teams learned how to do that, the other teams caught up at the one point we are actually good at, and that’s why from that point the play field between the teams looked so even at the end of the split. A big factor that was mentioned a lot is that “Misfits dropped off,” but I’m not sure that we dropped off as opposed to people actually catching up on us at the time. Outside of that, I do think there were some issues in team play. During the playoff, I think what we lacked the most was time. We are still a relatively young team and there is still a lot we have to go through compared to the other teams we were playing, Unicorns of Love specially. They have been playing for a very long time with their set core of players and that shows in the team fighting. So I mostly think it was time on stage as a team.
AW: You have been around for a while now as a coach, you even coached the team when they were called Renegades Banditos, so you have been a Misfit for a long time now. From what I even remember working with you guys that one week, the players respected you a lot. Is there a value in you feel the most in your own coaching style, let’s even say your coaching philosophy, that the players value the most in you?
HM: I think there has a been a lot of discussion on how Fnatic has been playing over perfect play in terms of playing comforts versus sticking to what you are good at. I have believed since the beginning of my coaching career that you should chase the perfect game. I believe that if you go for that, your short term results might not be as good, and you can see teams like Fnatic rise, but over a longer period if the staff and the players stay committed to it, you will see the results will pay off very well. So that’s my philosophy. The reason why we worked so well since the beginning, even way back in Challenger when we made it to the Challenger Series, our philosophy as Team Misfits has always been: we are going to play the game smart. It doesn’t matter if we have five different individually talented players, it doesn’t matter if we are up there with the other teams during laning phase, if you want to have a long career professional wise and chase championships — the ultimate goal — then we have to play as a team better than everyone else.
AW: If you have to choose a style for example as you say you adapt to the perfect game, so whatever the meta brings to us we are going to adapt , but we saw now two different Misfits lineups during Challenger Series and LCS split. Would you rather enforce your own coaching style or would you rather adapt to the team’s needs over bringing in your own style?
HM: I think it is a bit of a mix. My style is if that’s the best play on the map, how do we perfect that? If not, then I ask myself why not. Then if something works out, is it meant to work out or is it just luck of the draw. So that’s what I like to bring to a team, but you still have to play toward your team’s strengths. Not every team is going to have laning talent across the board. Not every is going to have the best jungler or whatever it may be. Unicorns have their team fighting. G2, for an example, has the meta play. So you kind of have to play to those trends as well, while you have to make sure at the same time that the decision making is toward the best map play. So if you have a weak laning phase, you maybe change around what picks you go through or what lanes you prioritize. But going to mid game or late game, the game is the same for everyone across the board.
AW: Let’s talk now about the next split, I think you are probably staying with Misfits. Do you think going into the next split you have to change a lot on your coaching style, the team’s philosophy or even undergo some roster changes? Or do you think working on the foundation you set this split, is the way to go?
HM: I think in terms of staff we will be looking for additions, specially a mental trainer or a performance coach. Outside of that we just ended the split, so we haven’t really talked about it. We will have a big meeting reevaluating where we stand, how we feel we are doing as an organization and where to go from there. There will be staff upgrades for sure.
AW: What is your personal goal for the coming summer split and What do you think Misfits is capable of achieving?
HM: My personal goal aligns with Misfits’ goal, which is to make it to worlds next split. That was the goal for us even when we found the organization back in the Challenger scene. That goal remains the same. I hope that we can do it, and that’s what I also hope that we can show as a team in the summer split. We obviously have a variety of things to work on — for an example, variety of style and perfecting strategies just to name a few. But I think we’ve shown good progress so far in the four months we’ve had together, and I think that we will continue to grow really fast.
AW: Since we talked a lot about coaching and probably there will be the one and another young talented coach reading this interview. What kind of an advice would you give to young people that want to get into coaching? Where do you think they should start, and how could they teach it themselves?
HM: It depends on what type of coach you want to be. So in League we have been seeing a lot of branches coming out. We have analysts, mental coaches, strategic coaches and so on. First you have to recognize where do you lie in between those specifications. Is your strength gameplay? Is your strength psychology? Or is your strength physical ability? So recognize where your strength is and always make sure that no matter what, every little thing you decide to do and every single time you decide to coach a team has a step by step logical plan to it. And if you can do that ,and you can always explain that to your players, that’s the best way to coach, I feel.
AW: Thank you very much for the interview, Hussain do you have any shout outs left, is there anything you want to say to your fans?
HM: We are sorry we couldn’t show off for the third place match. I promise we will keep trying our best for summer split, and we’ll be looking to go to worlds. Thanks for supporting us.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot