‘LS’ joins Tempo Storm: What that means for the NACS squad

News broke earlier in the week that Nick “LS” De Cesare would be joining as the coach of Tempo Storm, a League of Legends team that failed to qualify for the North American League Championship Series earlier this year. Two of my favorite streamers include; Reynad, a professional HearthStone player and owner of Tempo Storm, and LS, a Master tier Korean soloq LoL player and long time coach. There is a similarity between the two that attracted me to their streams, that of being brutally honest and intelligent about their respective games. I thought I would share my thoughts and opinions on how I believe LS will impact the Tempo Storm team in the future.

Previous coaching roles

LS has a past in other games as either a professional or semi-professional player,  these include; Starcraft, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, as well as Poker. All of these games he attributes to how he gained a perspective on how to play League of Legends on a macro level. LS is known as being very up front with his opinions and is not afraid of conflict.

His first coaching position in LoL that I will touch on was with SUPA HOT CREW of the EULCS. LS helped lead the team from 7th place in the previous EUCLS Spring Split 2014 to a convincing 3rd place finish in the following Summer Split. SELFIE, the SHC mid laner, was added around the middle of the Summer Split and had emotional/personality issues that clashed with the team despite being skilled mechanically. I believe LS was one of the reason SELFIE’s performance improved as he wasn’t afraid to call SELFIE out on his problems and how to fix them. Around the time of the Summer Split Playoffs LS was removed for ambiguous reasons, and this I assume lead to their poor showing the in playoffs eventually losing to Millenium in the first round of the playoffs, finishing 5th overall. I apologize if this was not exactly the timeline, the specific information surrounding SHC is hard to find.

Nick’s other major coaching role came with Gravity in the NALCS in the Spring Split of 2015. Coaching their team to a 10-8 record and a playoff spot in their first NALCS split, even though he was only able to join the team bi-weekly. It was a respectable record for a team that had only had been playing together since September of 2014. Unfortunately LS explains in an interview with Travis Gafford, that he was unable to completely drop his life in Korea to join his new team. He eventually left Gravity after the Spring Split due to personal issues that arose.

Even though both of these experiences were cut short, you can see a correlation of improvement for both teams as LS joins the team. If LS can stay with a team longer than a split who knows if the teams will continue their success, but the results appear to trend upward.

Coaching Style

LS is known as a no bs coach, who “will only speak facts not opinions,” and will call you out when you are wrong. SELFIE, the European mid who joined Tempo Storm along with LS, believes in that style of leadership as I talked about their previous relationship above. As for the other members on TS, whoever they turn out to be, there are questions if the team will respond positively to the authoritative style of coaching. There have been multiple examples of his harsh coaching style, you can see one here:

However, LS has no lack of knowledge about the game as anyone who has watched his stream or YouTube videos can attest.  His coaching record also seems to back it up. Here is an example of his analysis of a SKTelecom vs KT Rolster game this past season:

This poses an interesting question; to see if LS can command the respect from players in a similar age range as their coach, LS being 23 years old. Although to his credit, LS left for Korea around age 18 to pursue a professional Starcraft career and this huge life transition forced him to mature quickly. Even though he ran into a few bumps along the way. He also became a caster for the English LCK stream for SPOTV, which takes a lot of maturity to be able to step into that role. I believe, LS has the confidence and maturity to get his players to buy into his system despite his age.

Tempo Storm roster

I touched on LS and his relationship with SELFIE, it seems like LS brings out the best in his play. For example, SELFIE was player of the Week 10 of the EULCS Summer Split when LS was the coach despite earlier problems with his team coordination. If SELFIE can replicate this success that is up in the air but we know he is meshes well with LS and is style.

Quas previously played for NRG, which sputtered out of LCS in 2016, and Team Liquid, which he was removed from due to his mental issues, stated in a twitlonger, that caused problems with the team. In the post he says he started to “grow up” but had expressed it in “nonconstructive, aggressive and inappropriate ways.” There were no mentions of this type of behavior in NRG or Tempo Storm so far so I assume he seems to be doing much better mentally, but I imagine with LS’s style this would not fly. As for his actual play on the rift, Quas played a variety of unique champions, including Camille, Sion, and Vlad. As of late he has not lived up to his previous hype on Team Liquid but also has not been a weak point.

On to the jungler! Originally, Zentinel subbed in for Pheonix 1 in Spring 2016, but played poorly losing all but 2 games he played in the NALCS. This past NACS season, Tempo Storm’s jungler was inconsistent in their 6 series (2-4) including playoffs. He had decent early game and Zentinel had a big influence on with early dragon control helping TS control 73% dragons in their games. Although when it came time to clutch games, the tiebreaker for playoffs, and the actual playoff series against Gold Coin United. He had trouble matching Santorin, an average to below-average jungler at best. It is up to LS to develop this talent as he is inconsistent, struggled in high pressure situations, and has self-confessed confidence issues.

Lastly is Sheep, a veteran who has played only multiple teams including C9 on their NACS and NALCS teams. Before this last challenger season he announced that his heart wasn’t in it anymore and was going to retire until joining Tempo Storm. Sheep is actually someone who I think LS should push to replace, he was mediocre, did not stand out in this past season, and Tempo Storm 1 import slot left that I think they should fill. LS is passionate about what he does so if he feels if you are not all in, I could see Sheep getting released and them importing a KR support.

Big potential, big unknowns

All in all, this team has a lot of room to grow and I echo what Reynad said in the report of this coaching acquisition, “In my eyes, a qualified coach has the most important role in a League of Legends team.” Coaching is huge especially in an amateur scene in which a majority of teams have no idea how to play the macro side. Most games in Challenger are won through superior mechanics and team fighting. When you get to LCS that doesn’t necessarily work especially when facing top teams. Although…

Overall, LS has had a history of success with the teams he’s been able to spend at least a split with. There are questions moving forward. Will LS last for more than a split? Will LS move to NA or continue the schedule he had with Gravity of traveling between NA and KR intermittently? Can Tempo Storm qualify for the LCS?

All opinions and speculations are my own. Have other thoughts? Share them in the comments below! Check out my podcast for weekly esports content. Also, feature image is LS and SELFIE snipped from this YouTube video. Thanks for reading!

Edit: Thanks to chriskaos2004 on Reddit, I changed 2 import slots available to 1 because I forgot to include SELFIE in that count.

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