The Los Angeles Valiant have officially released their Head Coach Byung-chul “Moon” Moon after a disappointing Stage One of the Overwatch League. In their news release, the LA Valiant thanked Coach Moon for all his hard work including his work that led to the Valiant winning the Stage Four Playoffs in 2018.
In the interim, Assistant Coach Mike “Packing10” Szklanny has been appointed as the Valiants’ head coach. Both Warsi “Stoop” Waris and Dongsu Shin will remain as assistant coaches without any changes to their roles or contributions to the team. There is no word on whether Packing10 will remain as interim head coach until the end of the season or whether the Valiant are looking to permanently fill the position with an outside hire.
This change doesn’t come as much of a surprise seeing as the Valiant went a devastating 0-7 in Stage One and had little to show for their hard work. Coaches, specifically head coaches, are generally the first ones to be relieved of their duties when a team performs badly. The Shanghai Dragons had a similar incident in the Inaugural season at the end of Stage Three when their then head coach Xingrui “RUI” Wang left the team after citing ‘health issues’. This sudden change came after the Shanghai Dragons had gone winless during Stage One, Two and Three.
While changing the coaching staff can be beneficial for a team, the emphasis on a teams failure being a result of the coaching staff can be dismissive of underlying problems. A teams failure to adapt to a challenging meta can be the result of a coach’s misunderstanding of the meta but it can also be reflective of players who are unable to play certain heroes or play the meta. A coach can only take the players so far and the players need to be able to be flexible enough to adapt to whatever meta that currently exists.
We’ll have to wait and see if this change in coaching staff will be enough for the Valiant to secure their first win of the Overwatch League season. As long as the Valiant can take the time to learn from their losses, there’s hope for this team.