Axis Esports’ roster shuffle: Laphel shares management insight
He also addresses their lack of a registered coach.
The off-season just before MPL-MY/SG Season 5’s roster lock deadline on 17 Jan saw nine player changes for the five directly-invited teams: Axis Esports, EVOS SG, Geek Fam, Team Bosskurr and Todak.
Axis Esports, the Season 2 champions (winning under the name Reborn) saw the departure of Scott and Zee, who were replaced by Kid Meepo and KaizerX. Mohd Amirul Aiman “Laphel” Mohd Kamal, Axis’ manager, revealed that one of Axis’ weakness last season was their offlane position. Thus, he recruited KaizerX “since I worked with him during our training for the SEA Games and I know he fits that role well.” On the other hand, Kid Meepo plays multiple roles and he will fill gaps in the team depending on situation.
From Laphel’s explanation of the team’s recruitment thought-process, the players who will likely keep their roles are Evilx (main tank), Loong (marksman) and Rynn (mage). Previously, Scott would play the secondary tank, while Lacid was the team’s fighter. KaizerX could take Lacid’s offlane role, who will in turn be the team’s secondary tank. Kid Meepo would then be a substitute or a situational player if the team had a specific game plan against an opponent. This iteration of Axis looks formidable – it has a good mix of experience and young talent – who can go far under the right leadership.
On Axis’ coaching situation
However, of the five directly-invited teams, only Axis failed to register an official coach. Regarding this coaching vacuum, Laphel humbly admitted that he failed to recruit a suitable coach. “It was my fault. My responsibilities this year has increased tremendously, and I dropped the ball on this matter.” Laphel also noted that finding a proper coach isn’t an easy task, “currently, I don’t know many local coaches. It isn’t the case that we don’t want a coach, but I wasn’t able to engage one specifically good for our Axis line-up.”
According to Laphel, game intelligence is not the only, nor the main, criteria for a coach. Understanding the game at a deep level is a basic requirement to play professionally, and plenty of Mythic players know the ins and outs of a MLBB match. “What we need is a coach with good interpersonal skills who can deal with the stress of competing at the highest level. We need someone who can keep the players level-headed. He/she needs to be someone who can maintain discipline and keep players in line. To achieve that, players’ respect for the coach is a crucial, but often overlooked aspect.”
He is also concerned about cases where individuals are trying to take advantage of teams by offering “coaching” services. “We want a coach we can trust, a coach who is passionate and hungry
to win championships.”
Laphel previously made a name for himself as the coach and analyst of Bosskurr Gaming, and most notably coached the Malaysian SEA Games MLBB team. However, this year, he is taking on a more management-centric role at Axis. “Managing this Axis Esports team isn’t my sole responsibility – I have many others in the organisation. But I’ll still help with training whenever and however I am able.” He is currently working on securing sponsorship deals for the team ahead of MPL-MY/SG Season 5’s opening weekend in early March.
Training for a second MPL title
Axis finished fourth in MPL-MY/SG Season 4 after solid performances in both the Regular Season and the Playoffs. They had an overall 58.6% games win rate (17 wins and 12 losses), but bowed out of the MLBB World Championship (M1) tamely in 7th/8th place. Laphel’s assessed that the team’s previous training programme was inadequate, and the team lacked quality in a few roles. “Our role-training routines will be increased, along with an increasing number of scrims against other teams,” Laphel shared.
A typical day of training starts with warm-up matches (which are usually 5-men queues for Ranked games). Then the team will shift to specific exercises to improve their individual skill and deepening their game sense and mastery of the players’ respective roles. This will be accompanied by performance reviews and discussions as the team hammers out different strategies and work towards executing them better. “A day’s worth of training will take up between eight to 12 hours.”
The MPL Season 5 Regular Season still needs five spots to be filled. You can register for either the Malaysia or Singapore Qualifier. The qualifying rounds with be held on 7-9 Feb and 15-16 Feb respectively. Two Malaysian and three Singaporean slots are available. Who knows? You might be found worthy to rub shoulders against this MLBB giant come early March.
MPL-MY/SG Season 5 is organised by eGG Network.