Longzhu Gaming’s 10-person roster leading to the 2016 League Champions Korea spring was heralded as a “super team” of sorts, with a collection of well-known players. Fans anticipated a power house to perform, but in actuality, the dream fell flat. Longhu placed seventh in the spring split, eighth in the summer, and narrowly avoided having to play in the promotional tournaments to keep its spot in the LCK.
There are many theories about what happened, ranging from bad coaching to poor management, or that perhaps a 10 people were too many to handle. Longzhu’s top laner Gu “Expession” Bon-taek offered another reason in an interview with Fomos’ Park Sang-jin.
“Even if I would play, I didn’t know who on the team would play with me, which wasn’t easy,” he said. “With more people came spending more time to get to know all of them. (We were at that point) in the later half of round two of the summer split.”
At times, the human element of building a team was lost on those searching for an analytical answer to Longzhu’s woes. Expession’s insight as a member of the team did bring forth an interesting question. If each player has a unique play style, how long would it take to get used to it? How long does it take to come together as a team?
Having a 10-person roster would logically mean having to spend that much time getting to a comfortable level of conversation. On top of that, if the team didn’t make it clear which player would be playing and when, no firm strategies can be formed, which will only lead to underwhelming results.
On the question of player competence, Expession was adamant that the players weren’t the problem.
“Last year’s players for Longzhu are all good players,” he said. “It just took a long time for them to know one another, and got unsure as the losses piled up. We ended the season that way and everyone else other than Lee Dong-woo (Crash).”
Expession’s words certainly make a good amount of sense, and his explanation seems to fit the bill well. Now that Longzhu has seven main members, two of which who were on the same team the previous split, it will be interesting to see how much affect that has on Longzhu’s outlook.