“We’re more than just teammates. We’re actually like family. We look out for each other.”
DreamHack Atlanta is just around the corner. Luminosity players emerged victorious in the Call of Duty: Mobile Snapdragon Pro Series Season 3: North America (CoD Mobile SPS Season 3 NA) tournament. This secured them spots in the 2023 CoD Mobile World Championship at the DreamHack Atlanta festival. We sat down with Luminosity coaches Thomas "Hippo" Kim and Joel "Clout" Torres for an interview!
Hippo and Clout on Call of Duty: Mobile esports
Prior to joining Luminosity's CoD Mobile team as a coach, Hippo played the game during the pandemic to stay connected with his friends. Later, he became interested in the game's stats thanks to his math major. This led him to working with YouTuber path.exe on the accuracy of CoD Mobile's bullet spread. From there, he continued to use his math skills on various teams such as Blacklist Ultimate and unDream before joining Luminosity.
"At the time, calculating the bullet spread accuracy took about 16 hours for the most efficient method," Hippo told esports.gg. "But I found a method that lets me do it in less than 20 minutes. And so because of that, I was recruited. And then from there, I just kept working, doing work as an analyst, and some teams scouted me out and gave me opportunities."
Like Hippo, Clout also played CoD Mobile a lot during the pandemic. He first played for fun before getting into the competitive aspect of it thanks to Luminosity's Carl "Image" Butalid. They formed team Status Quo, which also included CoD Mobile player Aerith. Clout continued to play the game competitively in Tribe Gaming and Status Quo before becoming a coach for Nova Esports, Team Anarchy, and now Luminosity.
"It was basically like meeting a lot of the players early on that are now known to be really good in CoDM," Clout said. "And for the most part, having the opportunity was really good for me because I met them at the early stages just like when I first started off as a coach."
The duality of coaching techniques
An interview with Luminosity's Maiwand "Vague" Zai and Brian "Tectonic" Michel revealed that the team has a lot of synergy. This is not only in terms of mastering different weapons, improving in Hardpoint, and covering for each other in CoD Mobile, but also in terms of communication. This synergy is elevated by Hippo and Clout's different coaching styles.
Clout told esports.gg that he is more carefree in nature while Hippo has a more serious approach. Additionally, while Clout's coaching style is more intuition-based, Hippo's knowledge in stats complement it well.
"We know when to have fun, but when it comes down to business, making sure we win in tournaments or whatnot, we are very focused," Clout added. "We try to have like a family-bonded team. We do care about business and winning and all that stuff, but I try to foster more of a carefree environment. We're more than just teammates. We're actually like family. We look out for each other. Some of these players – I’ve known for three years now, pretty much. So it helps to communicate things as a coach to certain players."
Hippo agreed, noting that among the Luminosity team members, there's a high level of trust. He also detailed how his background of navigating various regions lets him do the best job possible to help his players.
"One thing that's always stayed the same for me across every single team that I've worked with is the amount of research that I do on potential opponents," Hippo said. "So because of that, when it came to Stage 4, I knew exactly how we should do certain things and handle map picks and bans."
Stage 4 is also known as the CoD Mobile SPS Season 3 NA tournament.
Luminosity's coaching philosophy
Hippo also told esports.gg about his and Clout's overall coaching philosophy. He emphasized how their "third-eye view" works well with players who already know how to play CoD Mobile at such a high level. Trusting the players while also acknowledging that players might not always be aware of certain aspects of their performance helps cultivate a better environment.
"In terms of them playing together, I don't think it is necessarily correct for me to give all the answers," Hippo said. "These players already know what's best for themselves. They have a style of play that they like and they are able to communicate with each other."
Hippo explained that coaching Luminosity players involves constantly generating ideas. However, less than 50% of them get incorporated into the team's strategy. It's not because the ideas are bad or unwanted. Rather, it's more about the process of experimenting and finding what works best for the players. He then gave an analogy involving dough and bread.
"If you overwork it, it's not gonna be good. If you underwork it, that is also not gonna end up well," he said. "At the same time, even if you end up kneading the dough perfectly, slightly different results will come out all the time. Just like how when you're baking bread, you can't perfectly replicate the same bread every time."
Clout agreed and added that Luminosity's CoD Mobile team is a group of experienced players who are determined and resilient. Losing a scrim or a tournament match, for example, doesn't have a devastating impact on the players. Instead, they know how to quickly regroup and refocus for the next challenge.
"We just regroup back and then focus up for the next one," Clout said. "I think it's the competitive mindset of the players as well as us making sure that regardless of the result or what happened, we don't let that affect us. We work from that like a wake-up call like, 'Okay. We needed to improve on this.'"
Luminosity and Call of Duty: Mobile World Championship 2023
Luminosity took home the gold in Stage 4, which earned them a much-coveted spot in the 2023 CoD Mobile World Championship at DreamHack Atlanta. This tournament will happen between Dec. 15 and Dec. 17.
Leading up to this tournament, Hippo and Clout's team boasted countless wins throughout the year. The team won first place in multiple Mobile Mayhem 2023 events alongside taking Zygnus Circuit victories.
That's all for now. Stay tuned on esports.gg for more CoD Mobile news, interviews, and updates!