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Meet Knightmares: The Coach of Noble esports

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We spoke to Beau "Knightmares" Russell, the man behind Noble esports, to discuss the team’s impressive recent results.

Noble esports recently found success during Season 7 of Challenger League, which they won ahead of the favourites of beastcoast (now known as Cloud9), before storming into Pro League Season 8 and surprising pretty much everyone in the process. The roster managed victories over SK and mouseports in the first two playdays putting them joint top of the North American Pro League table before they eventually slowed down with a few disappointing results against Obey Alliance and Cloud9.

The team currently sits in joint 4th position alongside Spacestation Gaming as the mid-season break approaches so we spoke to the team’s coach, Knightmares, to discuss these recent matchups as well as their performance so far in Pro League

The current standing in Season 8 of the North American Pro League via Liquipedia

 
Firstly, can you explain what you do for the Noble roster?

I mostly benefit the team by just feeding them information. I work with the team to figure out picks and bans on what will give us the best chance, as well as inform them how the other team plays on each map they play. This allows us to prepare micro adjustments in our strategies, or allows the players to recognize plays the other team is making, and expect what each of their players is going to do. I also handle as much interaction between Noble/ESL and the players as possible so they can focus on their gameplay.

Last season, despite a close group stage, your team won NA Challenger league over the favourites of beastcoast losing just 6 rounds in the playoffs. What changes were made in order to have such a dominant victory in the end?

The thing about our group stage was that it was always going to be close. From the beginning, most people believed our pool was the most difficult, and the 2 teams that made it to playoffs from our pool would make it to the relegation tournament. However, with the roster move, we made early in the season to pick up breezy, the team really began to excel. He fit a role we needed filled perfectly, and consistently performed excellently, which allowed the team to not only run through the group stage but then proceed to perform so well in playoffs. Everyone could collectively excel in their roles, and pick teams apart.

The playoff scores for Season 7 of the North American Challenger League via Liquipedia

 
As we’re approaching the mid-season your team is placed in 5th in NA, just 1 point behind the NA giants of Evil Geniuses; do you think you’ll be able to improve on this going forward?

Absolutely I do. We started off the season on top but quickly fell into a little slump. We had some players who had grown a disdain for the role they played, which began to show on game day. Since then, we have made some adjustments to roles within the team, and they are really starting to take form in practice.

Just before Season 8 began your team was forced to make a last minute roster change in the form of Krazy replacing Rampy; how is Krazy fitting in with the rest of the team?

Honestly, the transition from Rampy to Krazy seemed almost seamless. Many of the players were friends with Krazy and had played with him before. He filled the role that we needed well and has even been performing exceptionally in Pro League, which is a plus.

 
Your team also made another change with zz replacing Acid for one game before reverting the change; what was the thought process behind this?

We were at a point where we had lost several matches outside of Pro League games that we were unsure how to stop. The team came to me thinking a roster move may be the best way to fight it. It was a decision that wasn't easy to make, but we decided to try zz out in the upcoming match vs Obey. The team nearly instantly realized the move was a mistake, as zz just didn't fit the role Acid would play, which lead to miscommunications and ultimately our defeat.

During DreamHack Austin your team initially lost to Spacestation Gaming 2-1 before beating them 2-0 the next day, what changes were made to get this result?

The Noble esports vs Spacestation Gaming head-to-head results at DreamHack Austin via Liquipedia

It was difficult to tell for anyone that wasn't there, as the match wasn't on stream, but how the team played the first day of Dreamhack just wasn't them. Shots were being missed, miscommunications were happening, and our strats were being picked apart. That night we knew we would have to fight through the losers side of our pool, and likely face SSG again, so we broke down what happened and everyone just felt off. We also realized our mistakes in map bans and worked to correct them. The next day, the team cut down 12 Knights, and was feeling much better. From there map bans went exactly how we wanted, and we were very confident going into the match.

At this event Noble esports made it through the groups to the playoffs before eventually finishing in joint 5-8th position; were you happy with your team’s result?

I would have to say that everyone was proud of the team and their performance. However, the team was also disappointed with their loss to Rogue, being so close to winning, and then just being shut down. All in all, though, for the team to go into their first LAN event and make it out of groups, taking down a team that was seen as one of the top 4 teams in NA, it was pretty exhilarating.

The results of the DreamHack Austin Quarter-Final matchup between Rogue and Noble esports via Liquipedia

 

Next week your team plays Spacestation Gaming and Rogue in the last NA Pro League play day before the mid-season break; how do you think these games will go?

I feel confident for the team going into these matches. Most people expected us to fall to the bottom of the pack in Pro League this season from the beginning. Due to that, we've lost the community vote for every match thus far, and I don't expect that to change. We've spent almost half a season proving the community wrong, however, and I don't expect that to change either.

Finally, in Pro League Noble has already had a number of close games against Evil Geniuses, Obey Alliance and Cloud9; what improvements do you think the squad can make to get the victory in the rematches after Paris?

As I brushed on a bit earlier, we've fallen into a little slump recently due to some players not enjoying their roles, and have made some adjustments. These issues have less to some crucial miscommunications and openings in our strategies the other teams could abuse. On top of that, some of those teams have had our number, whether they know how to counter our strats, or just played really well on that day. I'm confident we will be able to work out both our role issues, and how to keep the opponents from running their strats without interruption. The rest of this half of the season, and going into next half, we'll be bringing the community more surprises, don't you worry.

Noble esport’s close results so far during Season 8 of Pro League via Liquipedia

 

Noble esports next game is against Spacestation Gaming, with whom they are currently drawing with in Pro League, this coming Monday followed by a matchup against Rogue, the top team in the league right now, on Tuesday. You can watch both matches on all the usual sources from 8PM ET.