Interview With James Chen, Coach of RRQ
Hot off their win at the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Invitational (MPLI) last weekend, we caught up with James Chen, the coach of RRQ to speak about the team, the tournament, and his thoughts on the meta.
How does it feel to win yet another official MLBB title? Did you expect it, coming into the tournament?
We didn’t expect much, to be honest, we tried our best as usual. We worked really hard for the past months. It’s an honour to win another title. For the boys, it was practising every day, more than usual because they were representing their nation.
What was your training/preparation routine like? Were there any challenges due to the COVID lockdown?
There were no changes or challenges because we stay in the same gaming house. The players do get bored because we can’t go out to enjoy ourselves or have holidays. As for training and preparation, it stayed the same, like other esports teams - lots of scrims daily.
Do you prefer the online nature of these tournaments or offline events? What's the biggest difference for you or the team?
From my perspective, I prefer offline because it’s beneficial for the company and for Moonton as well because of merchandising and other things. Online tournaments are good too but they are lacking when it comes to hype and fan interaction. When you win an online tournament, it’s like, “oh yeah, we won a tournament,” and then we high five and go to eat. The hype is just not there. Compared to an offline event, you get a proper celebration, and there will be a moment that’s just for you and your team.
Do teams play differently during online games, or it doesn’t really matter?
Some of them do - some players from other teams might have stage fright, which affects their performance offline. When you have your headsets on and you can still hear people shouting out there, or when you’re on a cold stage - a lot of factors make the experience very different from playing online tournaments.
Why do you think you were able to go through the whole tournament without losing a game?
We practised really hard, we minimised our mistakes, and lastly, we analysed our opponents. By analysing them, we were able to pick up small details, which allowed us to capitalise on their mistakes and increase our advantage.
What are your thoughts on the performance of the teams from the other regions? Did you learn anything new or notice anything interesting about their playstyle or tactics?
I think teams from other regions are really good. They have their own meta and rotations. I definitely learned something from most of the teams - their rotations, hero picks, and player habits. It was a good learning experience for me and the team, and we look forward to more international tournaments like M2 in the future.
When playing against non-Indonesian teams, does it feel very different from playing against local squads?
The only non-Indonesian team we played was Resurgence this tournament and we were looking forward to playing against Burmese Ghouls. For RSG, we’ve scrimmed against them before and I usually encounter them in Ranked, so roughly we are familiar with their rotations and game plans. Regardless, each region has their own playstyle and approach to the game, so there were a lot of things to learn.
Are there strategies or heroes that you feel are overlooked this patch/tournament?
Most teams just prioritise Esmerelda and Uranus, I think. Everyone just picks them when they’re available.
Do you feel that the meta has already been solved?
Not really, just that you get a higher chance of abusing your enemies when you pick those heroes. But also there are a lot of many heroes left to counter them, that’s why you see people picking Lunox and Masha offlane.
Atlas, Ling, Uranus, Esmerelda, X.Borg, and Selena were all highly contested picks the whole tournament, do you think they will be nerfed in the coming patch? What makes them such good picks right now?
Atlas is a pretty decent hero but he’s kinda squishy. I feel he’s balanced but he’s still top tier. Same as Ling, but confident teams will know how to deal with him. We did give Resurgence the chance to pick them during the finals, but they didn’t so we took it for ourselves. For Uranus, they might nerf his base HP or armour. Esmerelda is one of the strongest heroes late game, but she can be punished early game. Her shield absorb and cooldowns will probably be nerfed. X.Borg is a counter to Esmerelda, he doesn’t really need any nerfs, maybe to his slow. Selena has been nerfed many patches in a row, her base damage, magic damage passive and range of her second skill - I’m not sure what else they can nerf about her, but she’s still a good hero.
Should pub players bother learning to play these overpowered heroes to gain rank?
Pub players are already playing these heroes! Of course, they are going to play heroes that are being played in tournaments. Like after we won MPLI, I’ve already started seeing people pick Balmond, Gatokacha, Hilda. Pub players usually wonder, “why didn’t I think of this before? And start doing it in their own games.”
Are there strategies you learn from pub games that you apply in tournaments?
Sometimes but not really. Usually, we learn about the hero’s capabilities and limits in pubs.
Which heroes or items do you think deserves buffs or nerfs?
Vale deserves a buff. Windtalker and Blade Armor deserve buffs. Endless Battle needs a nerf. Every hero is buying it - all the fighters, hyper carries - this item is too strong even after multiple nerfs!
How do you feel about the current pace of the game?
I think it’s way too fast. But to be honest, because of the jungle range and bounty talent, Moonton is trying to reduce the farm a hyper carry gets to increase the pace of the game. This puts the focus on fighting instead of jungling, which increases the pace of the game. If you get to snowball early, it’s over by six to nine minutes. In the past, people would farm, secure lords, and take jungle, farm, and only secure an advantage around twelve to fourteen minutes. Now it’s too easy to dive and end the game if you’re ahead.
What are RRQ's next plans?
Our plan is to prepare for the next MPL in a month’s time. Also, for the next M2 or MLI - but it isn’t clear when they will take place due to coronavirus, hopefully, it’ll be gone soon then we can join tournaments safely. Right now we’re on a break until the end of July. We have started to stream on our new platform, and the players are also creating content. Some of the team play other games like Valorant, Dota 2, Animal Crossing. To be honest, it’s kinda boring because of the coronavirus!
Any message to the fans?
I would like to say thank you to all the fans who supported us during MPLI and MPL. For those who want to go out, please don’t. We would like to meet all the fans eventually, but for now, stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands. Enjoy this time, don’t waste away your time spent at home, good luck on reaching Mythical glory. Viva RRQ!