Mikes, the head coach of 100 Thieves, gave esports.gg insight into the match versus FURIA, how the team has fixed mistakes, and more.

100 Thieves came in to VCT Americas Week 7 with questionable playoff dreams. Those dreams are still alive thanks to a victory over FURIA. If you ask coach Michael "Mikes" Hockom, he'll tell you that playoff implications did not cloud their approach to the series.

After 100T walked away with a win, esports.gg spoke with Mikes. He talked us through switching up the team's map ban, how they closed it out against FURIA, and gave his thoughts regarding the players he coaches.

Coach Mikes of 100 Thieves speaks on the win over FURIA, his players' performances, and more

(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)
(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)

"We know Pearl has been on your ban list all throughout the league. Well, Ascent was a map other team's were using to their advantage against you. 100 Thieves hasn't won on it since August. This time around, you finally banned it and let Pearl through. It was a close map, so what can you tell me about the decision?"

Mikes: "We haven't won Ascent since LCQ last year and we played it twice in Red Bull, I think it was 13:9, 13:10, something like that. Pretty close games. Then Sentinels and C9 were 14:12, which I think those could have gone either way. Obviously, we were running an off-meta comp at the time. Then the past two matches, I mean, KRÜ was a very bad loss for us on Ascent and then LOUD is a very good Ascent team.

"We were kind of thinking throughout different games as well, 'Are teams going to pick it?' Because we aren't weighing on it, so you just have to know when to say when sometimes. So, that was the decision that we made. That six times of losing in the past six months was enough to switch our perma-ban."

"The team has seen mixed results on Fracture, but were dominant against FURIA. A timeout was called after a qck clutch, that could have easily seen them gain momentum, but he following round saw you reach the finish line. Can you provide any information about the conversation had or the plans made in that timeout?"

Mikes: "We just drew something up, so everyone knew what their job was for that round. Obviously, that past round, we just threw it. Straight up. So, it's just making sure everyone gets a chance to reset. We're not seeking the finish line too hard and we kind of under-think scenarios a little bit where everyone's just kind of peeking. It's just making sure that they didn't have any momentum and that we had a good plan going into the next round so we could close it out."

"Then on the third map, Haven, we saw a lot of heroics from both sides. We didn't see dgzin have the same impact here as he did on the first map, however. I asked FNS of NRG about him when they played. I'd like to ask you something similar to get a coach's perspective. When a player like dgzin has been going all out, do you aim to shut him down as a part of the game plan or do you keep things business as usual?"

Mikes: "I think in this Jett meta, you should always be aware of what that Jett is doing at any time, because the way that dgzin doesn't play the same as aspas. Or aspas doesn't play the same as Cryo or ardiis or whatever. So, you have to keep your mind open to how they play. If you can get value out of avoiding a Jett Op and not getting picked, that's pretty good value. Especially when you're going up against some of these really great Duelists. We're always pretty mindful of it and incorporating it into our game plan each week."

(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)
(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)

"Okay, now I'd like to ask you about some of your players. Asuna is the longest tenured player on any team in VCT Americas. He's been with 100 Thieves since October 2020. At this point, has he proven himself to be a centerpiece of the roster?"

Mikes: "We don't really think about centerpieces too much on our team. It's just that anyone can do anything at any time. We feel like everyone's extremely capable. I do think Peter (Asuna) provides a lot of great value to our team, especially for someone his age. And I think the experience he has shown, that he's very good with ideas, really one of the smartest players that I've ever had to privilege to coach. I think that's always great to have when we're in server time and scrims, stuff like that. He always has really good ideas and if stuff goes wrong, he usually has an idea of how we can prevent it next time. So, we greatly appreciate it."

"Next is Cryo. He didn't perform as expected to start the league. A lot of people criticized him and labeled him as a problem on the team. He's clearly turned that around and blocked out the negativity, so what can you say about his work ethic to ensure he gives everything he's got to 100 Thieves?"

Mikes: "It's different, because a lot of Duelists, I feel like are generally pretty all over the place when they're his age. They're very energetic, kind of bouncing off the walls and he's very 'Mr. Calm and Relaxed.' I do think that helps us a lot in matches. He's very like zenned out and he's very good at staying focused.

"To start the league, I know a lot of people were putting blame on him and I think, even himself, he would say there's some underperformances for his standards. He holds himself to such a high standard across the league. I think a large part of it was mostly just how we were utilizing him.

"Duelists in this meta, people think about Jett entry a lot, but Jett entry is not fun on some of these maps. Especially on a map like Pearl, you're kind of just a body that we're throwing into the site. Then it either works out or it doesn't sometimes. So, I think he has been a great addition for our team and we value all aspects of his game. Recently, he's been just taking over series I feel like."

"Then we've got the remaining players. They've all mentioned small mistakes, such as communication and timing, causing the team to play sort of out-of-character. Bang and Derrek recently mentioned it to me and stellar brought up mistakes needing fixed as early as Week 1. How has the cohesion between players in the server improved coming out of back-to-back losses, and winning this one?"

Mikes: "Yeah, I mean, we know that. We're all aware of fundamentals from when we started the roster. We really put a hard emphasis on that and I think it just comes down to, we know what those are and what we need to be doing in the game. It's just a matter of sometimes, someone needs to say something, or we have a keyword or a phrase or something, to get everyone in check, to make sure we're following up on that.

"It's easy to think everyone should know something and then no one follows up on it. I think those were some of the issues in our matches. Obviously LOUD, best team in the league, still had a close map with them. Then NRG obviously has had a really good resurgence in form. They look like potentially a top three team in NA at the moment, I would say. So, I think anything is up for grabs right now for the most part."

"Lastly, throughout the entire broadcast we heard the crowd loudly chanting for 100 Thieves. You kept your playoff hopes alive here. How does having that level of support raise your spirits going into the final week of the regular VCT Americas season?"

Mikes: "Obviously, you prefer cheering rather than booing, so we'll always take that. I know the players greatly appreciate the fans and it's nice to have as well. We're kind of focused on one week at a time, one game at a time. We're not too worried about if this team wins and this team loses, then we make playoffs We're just going to go out and try to win. One more game remaining, but win every game and go from there. Try to control our own destiny as much as possible."

(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)
(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)

Stay tuned to esports.gg for more esports news and VALORANT coverage.