A Salute to Coach Heen

November 14 2018


Over the past 2+ years, Heen has been with us during many of the proudest moments in Team Liquid’s history. He was as integral to our TI7 win as the players in the booth themselves. While it saddens us to watch Heen leave we know he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do in the future. The amount of work Heen has put in to ensuring our Dota 2 team's success, tournament after tournament, was immense and the fruit of his labour speaks for itself. With Heen as our coach we successfully navigated our way to twelve championship titles over the last two years. We were extremely lucky to be able to work together with Heen and we can proudly say that we accomplished our shared goal of lifting the Aegis of Champions. Heen’s name will forever be stitched into the fabric of Team Liquid’s history.

We will never forget the time Heen stood in during DreamLeague and helped the team make it to the podium with his Ancient Apparition, proving he still had what it takes to be a player as well. We know it was a daunting task for Heen to jump in as Team Liquid’s coach as his first coaching gig in Dota 2 but he tackled every challenge that came his way with no hesitation and with the determination to make us better from it. Heen made sure that every loss was an opportunity to learn and improve. Sadly our time with Heen has come to end and we part ways with Dota 2’s best coach. While Heen moves on to a new chapter of his life, he will always be family to Team Liquid and he will be missed tremendously.

There is another story very few people know about Heen that we’d like to share. When Team Liquid was just starting out and our community site was merely a few years old, Heen registered as a member, back on November 7th, 2003. Through the years he participated in discussion and even played Dota with other community members on US servers from Korea; braving the lag in order to have some fun with people half a world away. He has always been a part of Team Liquid and it was our pleasure and honor to have him as our coach.

Heen, for all you’ve done for us and for what you brought to Team Liquid; thank you, and we wish you the best in your future endeavours.


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A Letter from Heen



Stepping down as the coach of Liquid was one of the harder decisions in my life. I'd like to make it clear that it didn't happen overnight or because of one event. On a personal level, I loved working with such a talented, likeable group of people. However, we are still a professional DotA team and our relation still needs to be self-reflected from a professional perspective. Coaching in esports is a mysterious thing. Nobody really knows what's going on 'back there.' How do you know if a coach is carrying the team or just saying yes to whatever the team says? When players play well, it shows rather clearly in the game. For coaches though, that tangible feedback can often be difficult to find. Just as players have instincts, I relied on my own instincts which guided me in self critcizing how well I was performing as a coach from tournament to tournament. Over the two and half years with Liquid, I felt less and less excited about our wins as time went on. It's similar to when I was a player. If we win but I played poorly, I'll probably still be happy but not as much as if I knew I was the guy who made it all happen. For the 1st DPC season, becoming that active sixth man was my biggest goal, but I fell short of it. Whether we win or lose the game once it starts is usually at the mercy of the players. But at least from a drafting perspective, which is only the tip of the iceberg, I felt like I could have prevented some key losses in TI. And knowing how hard we worked to get there, it really took a toll on me. Whatever my flaws were as a coach, I knew that I couldn't just cross my fingers and hope that they fix themselves. Our run as Liquid was one of the best performances in DotA history because we strived for better than good. We wanted to be the best. Ultimately, I was not satisified with my impact within the team and that created an unhealthy cycle of being a coach neither fun nor productive as I hoped it to be.

I wish nothing but the best for the team moving forward. By now, they are more than players or teammates to me.

To MATUMBAMAN: When I first met this guy, it was in Dreamleague 2014. I thought he was an idiot that could only meme. As it turns out, he was one of the most thoughtful and mature guys in the scene. He's grown so much both as a person and a player during our journey. Since I've been watching his growth from up close, I know how many obstacles he has had to overcome to be the player he is today. I'm confident he'll continue to prove to the world why he's one of the best as he has an easy-to-work-with humble attitude that's been key to his success as a competitor.

To Miracle-: I never told him this as I thought it might compromise our coach-to-player relationship, but I definitely had a phase of fanboying him before I met him. I even watched some of his pub replays and now I was in a position to tell him what he could do better. He is a one of a kind type of player. Aside from the countless amazing shows he's put on over his career, thank you for always making our time enjoyable, inside and outside of DotA. He's a kind, fun loving guy who's often responsible for the many and frequent bursts of laughter in the team. The fact that he's crazy talented at the game is just icing on the cake that makes you always excited to see more DotA from him.

To MinD_ContRoL: The man who I had the easiest time opening up to when I first joined the team. This guy doesn't hold back on anything. He's a hard worker. When you talk to him, he'll tell you what he really thinks. His competitive drive is beastly. Back when I first joined Liquid, he was the only one who I didn't know very well. It was easy to see why he quickly became one of the best players in the world. I thought to myself: who is this Bulgarian dude and why didn't I know about him sooner? He has a weird sense of humor but it's an acquired taste that only a few can appreciate. Keep being you and remember your PR training buddy!

To GH: How can a person be this positive? Maroun single handedly balances out all the toxicity in DotA. I'm sure of it. One of the things about our job is that while it is indeed a job, we're only doing it because it's fun. Having a teammate like Maroun just makes everything less stressful and more about living in the moment. The only times I've seen him in a bad mood, if you can even call it that, are when he was physically ill. He's the kind of guy who will give you the feeling that tomorrow's always going to be a better day. I will miss our late night ice cream sessions.

To KuroKy: Even though I'm supposed to be the wise, old coach, I learned more about DotA and life from him than he did from me. He's such a fascinating person, like a borderline fictional character. He says he never wanted to be a leader yet he's got all the qualities: confidence, charisma, humility. Usually the coach to captain relationship is a bit different from the other players. When I first joined Liquid, it was my first time coaching so I was rather anxious, especially since Liquid was such an established team compared to my own as a player. Kuro has the ability to bring out the best in people and make your life easy. I'm both grateful and honored to have worked with him. He's the absolute mastermind behind the team. I don't think the community quite understands just how amazing this guy is sometimes but then again he's not the type of guy who's hungry for credit anyway.

To Mo: As if having the world's best players in each role wasn't enough, we also have the best manager. Since most people don't get to have an inside look at how a professional gaming team functions, they might be wondering what a manager does: basically everything besides playing. Liquid could not be Liquid without Mo. That is the easiest way for me to say it. He always puts the well being of the team foremost. Even though he may not take an active role in the DotA aspect of the team, what he does for the team is a reflection of his competitive drive to make sure we're in the best shape to compete.

I'd also like to say thank you to the Team Liquid org: Victor, Marcel, Rich, Erik, Alex and Brittany. It was always a pleasure hanging out with you no matter what we were doing. You guys were always there to support us by setting up a sick bootcamp. My expectations of an esports org may have been shattered and thus spoiled me.


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Messages From Our Players



"Heen is a very smart person, a very good friend who I can always talk to about almost anything. He thinks a lot about the game and he brought a lot of good ideas to the team."

MinD_ContRoL


Once I was having a conversation in Arabic with Miracle- about the game; out of nowhere Heen pops out and articulates 5-6 words in Arabic that fit the context of the conversation perfectly! I was shocked and amazed by how accurate his pronunciation was. That was a solid 30 seconds of laughter for me— my Korean coach speaking Arabic!

GH


One of my most fond memories of Heen is when I first met him. He started working with us at Epicenter 2016, and he had this certain type of Korean rawness in him. He taught us the ways of Korean Dota which was to pick fat tanky heroes and just run at your opponents 24/7. Evidently we won this tournament, big thanks to him! He had these phrases when he would jokingly say that "I am the best player" and grinded solo mid all day at our bootcamps. After those statements I kept reminding him of that one pub game which had my Monkey King against his SF on mid. He claimed I was lucky, but haste runes are all about skill to be honest, easiest midlane of my life. Thanks for everything Heen, gonna miss you!


MATUMBAMAN


A few sentences in a statement does not justify Heen's contribution to the team. He is an elite coach and a world champion, more than capable to work in any part in the industry as
he wishes. Surely an even bigger challenge awaits him now, to understand what one truly wants to go after in this life.

Thank you for everything and my best wishes, Lee Seung Gon.

KuroKy


Heen has a deep understanding of the game and a good knowledge of human nature. Such a combination is rare and therefore really valuable to have. In the last 2 1/2 years Heen did not only integrate himself as a proven coach but also as a good friend and listener. Before I will miss Heen as a coach, I will miss him as a friend.

I am certain that our paths will cross sooner or later until then I wish Heen good luck in finding his soulmate.
Morad






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