Coaches in esport titles are nothing rare and are common all across different games such as Halo, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, and many more. When it comes to Rainbow Six Siege, coaches have never been an integral part of a team, until recently. PENTA Esports were the first professional Rainbow Six team to acquire a coach and use it to their advantage, which has clearly shown as well, given their past results.
Coaches are now becoming a core and important piece of rosters. More and more teams are starting to add coaches to their roster to give them a different dynamic that most teams don’t have. The need for coaches has risen due to the immense rise and expansion of competitive and professional Rainbow Six Siege across all international regions. Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical and strategic heavy based game, a coach is something that can only help a team’s growth along the way.
A few North American teams have acquired coaches in recent months such as Rogue, Flipside, Continuum, and World Best Gaming. World Best Gaming is the newest team to the North American Pro League and are trying to make their stay worthwhile by adding a coach to their team. Trevor “KenZ” Kenzie will take over the duties as WBG’s coach in their first season as a pro league team. KenZ is well known in the Rainbow Six community, having competed for Lethal Gaming in the Pro League and at the Rainbow Six Invitational, where him and the Lethal Gaming roster lost to Vitality in the Quarterfinals. I was able to catch up with KenZ on a variety of topics and go in-depth on what it’s like being a coach for a Rainbow Six team.
First let's get a rundown of your accomplishments Siege wise. You were in PL for 1 season and then made Invitationals, correct?
I started on Playstation came to XBOX, played one season of pro league, then qualified for the invitational, and lost to Vitality in the quarterfinal. From there I went to PC, subbed for 1nFamy for Year 2 Season 1, then decided to retire.
What went into your decision on deciding to retire?
Well on PC, ping and latency are a huge issue living on the west coast. Playing on eastern and central servers, things don't go your way quite as often, so I decided it was time to start adulting so to speak.
When did it come to you that you wanted to be a coach for a Rainbow Six team?
Well I showed the boys on 1nFamy a few things when I was a sub. I didn't dive into it as much as I am now, but I watch a lot of siege. Every pro league game from every region, from an ex-pro players perspective, it's very easy to notice the mistakes that are being made. When I heard from esl that coaches were going to have a more active role in the game I wanted to get right into it. I guess I should add I was the in-game leader(IGL) for every team I’ve been on and the captain, so when it comes to strategy I would consider myself one of the more knowledgeable people when it comes to the game.
I feel as if coaches should have had a more prominent role from the beginning. Penta was the first team to really bring on a coach, from what I at least remember, correct?
Yes, Penta as far as I know was the first team that had a coach.
I was going to ask you if you were your IGL/Strategist for when you competed. From when you competed to you now being a coach what's it like? Do you enjoy coaching more and teaching your team strategies, or is there a part of you that wishes you were still competing?
The thing about siege is everyone interprets things differently, especially when your in-game. A lot of the time, you as a player will be so focused on certain things you kind of tunnel vision. Coaches have the opportunity to take you out of that tunnel. I watch some of my old matches wondering what I was thinking in the moment. Coaching in a sense keeps me involved to a certain degree, I love the group of guys I currently am working with, they're a very hard working dedicated crew and I just want to see them succeed. There will always be a part of me that wants to compete. Nothing beats the adrenaline of being on stage, I feel in a way though that I am still competing now. I’m quite enjoying seeing the guys take the wins, it's really exciting to me.
That's awesome. I'm going to backtrack to the Penta comment real quick, then I want to get into talking about WBG. Do you think that them adding a coach really vaulted them into this tier that really separates them from other teams across all regions?
I think it really helped them for sure. I mean I personally never talked to those guys but they certainly talked about it on twitter that their coach made a big difference in their gameplay. Look at how bad they stomped on everyone at Pro League Finals, it was some of the most beautiful gameplay I’ve ever seen. I think they were using a tool that no one else really had at their disposal at the time and it definitely was a factor that propelled them to their victories. Keep in mind, at the same time coaches aren't exactly a thing you can just go get. There's not many people that really understand the game as well as pros that aren't competing still. As the game develops and time passes I think we'll see more ex-pros taking the reigns of teams.
Still relatively new in terms of being an esport as well. Do you think someone who understands the game and has played a fair amount of competitive siege and understands the meta, can develop strategies, and etc. could possibly make the transition into coaching, say a CL level team?
I mean anyone can do anything if you put enough work and time into it. I think the biggest thing to understand as someone wanting to get into it, meta isn't really a thing with siege. Every operator has abilities that you can use to gain momentum towards a round win. The only thing I would say is meta so to speak, is the avenue you take to get to the objective. The bigger the map, the more options there are. The maps don't change.
Now with WBG, a team that is brand new to the entire Pro League, what's really impressed you with them from the time you became their coach until now? I know during relegations they had a bunch of people questioning their strats and how they did certain things, did you help them change that?
Well I can't say too much before their debut pro league match, but I’m very happy with what they've accomplished so far, they work harder than any team I've been apart of, these guys put some serious time in. We basically talk about Siege from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep everyday. To answer if I’ve helped them, I would just say everyone on this team does their part. When it comes to the relegations I think people will hate on anything they themselves don't understand, at the end of the day the only thing that matters is getting the win and they did that. I think they're going to do really well this season, I believe they'll be a top team in Pro League for a very long time.
Who's their first match?
They play against RogueGG this upcoming Monday, so they definitely have a hard match right off the bat. Personally, I can't wait to watch. I feel like this season of pro league is the most balanced it's been this entire year in North America. Every team in the league has some amazing players and could take it all the way. From top seed to bottom.
I'm really excited to watch this season unfold. There were some great matches last night. What's the preparation been like for you leading up to this match being their coach?
Last night's matches were good for sure. I’d more or less say 1nFamy should have 2-0’d eRa, it was more mistakes than anything and Continuum is just on their game finally which is refreshing to see from them. Well, I watch every stream and every VOD I can get my hands on, you never know what's going to happen in Siege so I’m just trying to get them as ready as possible for any situation that unfolds, mentally and in-game. We're out here trying to prove we’re the World's Best.
I like the little World's Best plug. Just a few more questions. With Rainbow how it is now, with it's continued growth, what's one thing you think needs to change from just the game standpoint and as an esport?
From the games standpoint, hit reg, latency, map design needs to change on some maps. Something as simple as moving a bomb would do, adding a wall, or taking out a trap door to make everything viable so we see more bomb sites used. As far as the esports side goes, we’re getting more international now which is good for more LANS. Most regions outside of North America have more than one a season. It would be nice to have a mid season LAN for better organization representation. Casting I think is an issue that we can't really get a handle on. More spectator options would be nice, we miss a lot of action due to one guy switching through players. Also I’d love to see a proper whiteboard like CS:GO where an analyst can run through plays.
Do you see any big name organizations getting involved soon? Would you make any changes to the current pro league format?
I'm not sure about the organizations, the business side of it is a whole different ball game. Yeah, I’d go back to the year one format. This format sucks, it's meant for LANS and I think it’s a contributing factor for organizations not wanting to get into Siege. A lot of risk and less time for them and their players on screen.