Gilean: First off, thank you, Christina Laird (GnomeSayin), manager of Team FeaR, for taking the time to answer some questions for the community. I imagine things are just now starting to settle down after the excitement of qualifying weekend.
Most of us who’ve been around eSports for a while (especially MLG) are familiar with the term “coach.” But what does a team manager do? Do you fill a role essentially the same as a coach, or something closer to the business side of thing with an organization?
Gnomesayin: I definitely don’t fill the same role as a coach, or have any input in picks/bans/strategies. Basically, a coach’s role is to make sure everything IN the game goes smoothly, my role is to make sure everything OUTSIDE of the game goes smoothly so the players can focus on the first part.
Gilean: Furthermore, what drew you to the role of team manager at a time in eSports where most people would be hard-pressed to even state what the job entails?
Gnomesayin: I think that I just wanted to be involved, to be honest. It could have been esports journalism (if I didn’t suck at writing), it could have been working in events, or even helping players increase their profiles. I just really wanted to do something involved in competitive gaming, and I think the best offer I got was to manage, and I grew to love the team.
Gilean: What originally drew you to this team? Or were they drawn to you? And how long have you been working together?
Gnomesayin: The thing that drew me to the team was, I knew they were talented, and they asked. [*laughs*] Curtoky (who was their support player at the time) asked me to manage, and I said, “Sure.” They offered me the position at the exact time I was like, “I need to get into this competitive league thing!” so that was perfect. I barely knew any of them at first, and I was pretty intimidated, which seems really weird now looking back. It’s been about a year now, and I can’t think of a less intimidating bunch of guys. (I am thinking. I seriously can’t.)
Gilean: A couple roster changes have occurred while you’ve been with this team. What do Sycho Sid (Top) [Now, allegedly, Sycho Squid] and Zuna (AD) bring to their roles that was missing with Balls (Top) and Aphromoo (AD)? Are there are new challenges with these two?
Gnomesayin: Roster changes. Hm. I really love Benny, he’s da best! And Zuna has been with us before when we were MTW, for a little while, so we are already very comfortable with him. But, to be honest, we need more time with the new roster to really become as beast as we need to be. But with Benny and Zuna, they bring a lot of communication across the map, they talk amongst themselves as well as to us, and I think that was something missing before. The challenges for me personally with those players is, with benny, he’s a rascal and mischevious and keeps trying to get me to teach him Scottish. And with Zuna, sometimes I have to mute mumble if he gets loud or gross.
Gilean: Playing to qualify for Season 3 looked to be a formidable and intimidating gauntlet even from the safety of our own chairs at home, and I can hardly imagine what it was like to play under that sort of pressure. But do you think anything positive will come from this experience? In other words, could this have been a sort of “trial-by-fire” that will help lesser experienced teams be prepared to take on the likes of TSM, CLG, and Dignitas in a tournament setting?
Gnomesayin: The qualifiers for season 3 were great LAN experience for any teams that haven’t taken part in something like that before. It’s great for the scene. Not great for us, because it’s better if we’re one of the few teams prepared for LANS! [*laughs*]
Gilean: The casters were quick to mention that members of Meat Playground and Team FeaR were quite friendly with each other. Balls, a member of Meat Playground, is the former long-time teammate of MuffinQT, Xmithie, and MandatoryCloud. What else don’t we know about the history between these two teams? Did playing the in the qualifiers present any unique obstacles?
Gnomesayin: Man, I hated playing against Balls and Lemongod when we were playing Meat Playground. It sucks, because they are good friends of the team, and we were hoping we’d both get through. Hmm. What don’t you know about the history of both teams? Well, Atlanta created both of the teams, Goose (which became FeaR) and Meat Playground, too.
[Editor’s note: Atlanta is on neither of these teams anymore.]
Gilean: Have you heard anything on the future of the Meat Playground roster? Any chance we could see Balls or another member return to Team FeaR as a sub for Season 3?
Gnomesayin: I know what’s happening to some of the Meat Playground members, but I don’t know what parts are secrets and what parts are public, so you’ll probably see the members here and there scattered on different rosters for a while. For our subs, though, we’re trying to pick people based in California so we don’t have to pay much to get them to Santa Monica (we’re really cheap), and I don’t think Balls would quit school to come to Cali, anyway, even though he’d be a really good sub.
Gilean: What does not making it into Season 3 mean for other eSports teams? Is it worth it for them to continue competing elsewhere? Or should the individual players be keeping their eyes peeled for substitute positions?
Gnomesayin: It’s really disappointing to not make it into Season 3 for other teams. I’m sure we’d have been devastated if we hadn’t made it through. But when you really think about it, Season 3 is a big plus and it takes up ALL the time of the eight top teams, so if you just barely missed out on Season 3, you’re now one of the Top 8 teams at MLG/IPL/ any tournaments that aren’t Riot related, so you’re making a lot more money than you were previously. So although it sucks, I think it’s really worth sticking with your team or getting a really talented team to compete elsewhere.
Gilean: After Team FeaR qualified for Season 3, you were thinking about stepping down from your position, despite having helped your team accomplish a feat every LoL team out there was striving for. Why were you thinking about leaving, and what did you and Team FeaR ultimate decide on in the end? And can you tell us a little about this new coach who’ll be coming in, and how your duties will differ and be divided up between the two of you?
Gnomesayin: As Season 3 was incoming, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to live in the house with the team, and that would be a hindrance. But, also, the team decided we needed a coach, and I guess Zuna’s brother, Kenma, is going to take that position. We haven’t really talked about exactly how we’re going to divide duties between us yet—that’s still to be decided, but we’ll figure it out!
I’d like to thank you for coming on and giving us a fresh perspective on the LoL scene and some great (and eagerly anticipated) information on Team FeaR. Best of luck in Season 3!
To keep updated on Team FeaR’s activity’s, you can follow Christina “Gnomesayin” Laird on Twitter @FeaRGnomesayin.
[Gilean is an independent eSports content producer who is begging for your attention! Every follower he gains @HHGilean is another incentive to bring you more interviews, articles, and features.]