Elmapuddy: “I expect to do some damage, it’s hard to gauge right now honestly”
Gen.G has been accepted as one of the participants in the upcoming VALORANT Franchise League in the Pacific region for the year 2023. After a brief stay in the North American region, the Korean organization has returned to its roots. The organization has assembled an all-Korean roster backed up by the coaching prowess of Chris “Elmapuddy” Tebbit. We had the opportunity to sit down with him for some words about the upcoming year of the VCT.
Run It Back: First of all, what were your first thoughts when you heard Gen.G were moving to the APAC region?
Elmapuddy: When I found out Gen.G was moving to APAC after competing in NA since the beginning of VALORANT it was a mixture of sadness and excitement. I genuinely loved some of those guys we had on the NA team and hated the day we all got told the team would be moving on. Everything we had worked so hard to build just shut down literally overnight. I of course completely understood though. The franchising in NA surprised everyone I think by how brutal it was, going from around 20 professional teams down to just 5 being franchised. So honestly, Gen.G being a global organization was great, we could pivot off this news and still be in the franchise system. Now I was the lucky one in the NA team. Being Australian and already overseas I was in a position to pivot with the organization to APAC and am incredibly grateful for the trust Gen.G has continued to put in me to build this new roster. The next thought after all that was, “damn we have a lot of work to do building this from scratch,” but I knew it was going to be a fun challenge and for that I was excited.
Run It Back: How does it feel that Gen.G are back in Korea where their roots are with an all-Korean roster?
Elmapuddy: Now I know for most Gen.G is probably associated with our world class LoL (League of Legends) team, but for me Gen.G has always been NA. I coached both the Counter-Strike and VALORANT teams out of Los Angeles so even though Gen.G as an org is going home with the Korean roster to me it is something completely new.
Run It Back: Since you are from Australia and have also coached in NA what working differences do you find between NA and APAC ?
Elmapuddy: Australia might be APAC geographically but the way I always describe it is culturally we are 40% American, 40% English, and 20% Australia special sauce (probably something to do with the mental effects of riding Kangaroos for transport) so my Australian coaching experience is honestly pretty similar to in NA. Culturally, I can talk about what I’ve experience with the Korean team so far though; Koreans want to and do work harder and I love it. It’s incredible how every single team member works tirelessly every day putting in so many hours. On Western teams I’ve always had hard working players in there, but it would be like 3 out of 5, so having the entire team just working here is refreshing for me. I can focus on other stuff rather than riding players to work harder.
However, there were some things running crazily inefficiently in APAC. The best example is when we first started booking scrims. It was done through WeChat and only in blocks of 2. No one would discuss maps until the lobby was created so it was just, “ok I pick Haven,” and then the other team would say, “we want Fracture” and those were the maps the teams played… How am I supposed to run the most effective day of practice if I don’t know half the maps we are going to scrim? I need to know what I’m going to bring to the team as far as strategy, feedback, focus, etc. and if I can only do that for half the scrims in a day it’s not going to be as productive of a day. Luckily, Autumn over at T1 managed to help start a shift and a lot of teams are using pracc.com now which means I can plan our days in advance. So if the team needs it, we can focus a single map all day. There are some other examples too but that’s the best one to give an idea.
Run It Back: How is the coaching hierarchy like at Gen.G currently and how is it working alongside bail?
Elmapuddy: Technically I am the Head Coach but the way the team is ran right now is very much bail and myself working side by side. A lot of what we each do comes down to language barriers. The players all understand English (to varying degrees), but if it’s a more complex conversation it can take longer than it would usually. So sometimes it can be best to first get on the same page with bail and then let bail handle that with the players. Our manager was—until a few weeks ago—also a translator at Gen.G so he is always able to help. If it’s tactical, I am generally responsible for it (visuals help break language barriers), if it’s player management such as getting everyone on the same page about a philosophy or attitude then bail is excellent at talking to the players and getting them to understand and buy in. Outside of that though we overlap.
Player feedback was a lot of bail initially but in the last couple weeks I’ve started working on player development as well now we have some systems in place to break the language barrier (it also helps I’m now in Korea). Honestly the more I think about it, initially we both focused on different areas for simplicity but as time has gone on, we have built a relationship and system with each other where we can both work with the players and on the team simultaneously while pushing the same vision. We have different approaches to situations but we both know what we are trying to achieve together and that means we aligned on what we are doing.
Run It Back: What are Gen.G’s expectations for the next season?
Elmapuddy: I expect to do some damage, it’s hard to gauge right now honestly. We are starting from behind not having a core like a lot of the other teams do but I think we have pieces on our roster that can surprise a lot of people. The biggest thing is going to be staying consistent. If we can do that then expect to see us taking wins against the more established teams.
Run It Back: Personally, which teams do you see as a threat to Gen.G next year ?
Elmapuddy: DRX and Paper Rex. T1 is also very interesting to me since they have solid pieces but I’m curious to see how it comes together. If it does [come together well] I think they could be a strong team within the region. The rest of the teams though I feel very familiar with their players. I wrote full scouting reports on the majority of them in preparation for building this team, and outside of DRX and Paper Rex every other team has a weakness with their roster. It’s really hard to say, most teams have a strong core but it’s going to be about who can get the most out of those final 1 or 2 players who right now are a little behind the field.
*Note: questions and answers may have been altered for the sake of fluidity and or clarity.