“It’s really about getting inspired by my own players,” EG coach Potter on the evolution of her coaching style cover image

“It’s really about getting inspired by my own players,” EG coach Potter on the evolution of her coaching style

Esports.gg caught up with Evil Geniuses’ coach Potter after a victory against G2, to learn more about the team’s ambitions for the year.

Evil Geniuses went from being an unknown entity, to world champions, to an unknown entity once again. The majority of the VALORANT Champions 2023 roster is elsewhere this year, but that didn't stop the new squad coached by Christine "Potter" Chi was immediately proving they belong.

Even with four new players, the team retained its status as champions and received a bye into the second round of the VCT Americas Kickoff Group Stage. They made the most of us, besting G2 Esports in a tight-knit 2:0 series. Afterwards, we chatted with coach Potter about the new team and the victory.

Potter discusses EG's Icebox comp, getting the new roster settled in, and how she remains innovative in her coaching

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"It was a super slow start on Sunset. You had to burn your timeouts very early on. During those, what was the discussion with the team about coming back from such a large deficit?"

Potter: "It wasn't too of much of a serious talk. There were a few key things going wrong for us on the defense. Aa few pieces of info that were missing, but really the players felt like they were missing it. But it wasn't the case.

"We definitely had what we needed to close out those rounds. A little bit unfortunate, but it was a shaky slow start. We weren't playing with as much confidence as we definitely play with in scrims. So, the conversation was just reinforcing that what we were doing was right.

"We just needed to do a few things that...I'm trying not to say what we needed to fix out loud. So, that's why it sounds like I'm just going in circles, but anyways, we talked about specific things that we needed to fix."

"Well, it had to happen in overtime, but they did it. A lot of this team doesn’t have the experience on this stage, so what does keeping their cool and getting that map win say about their resolve?"

Potter: "It says so much. When I was building this roster, even some of the players, not everyone was sold on the roster. One of the key traits that a lot of these players had, a lot of their strengths was exactly what we needed.

"To be able to turn around a brand new team in such a short amount of time to be able to be competitive. And I'm so glad that those bets paid off. I mean, Phat (supamen) is just a closer, this guy is, he is insane.

"And we knew it, right? I knew he was going to be. I didn't know for sure 100%, because he hasn't actually competed in a big VALORANT LAN in his career. But he has so much history in other games, and making it to the grand finals on LAN.

"So, I knew that sort of experience was what we needed to help out Jawgemo on that front. Because like you just said, everyone is brand new. Everyone is brand new playing at this level, and playing on stage, and it being this serious.

"So, it was nice to have a second player, in Phat, that was just stoic, just confident, completely believes in what we've worked on all week long, and it's not going to phase him. That was super important. Having supamen in the squad, on that stage, helped us a lot."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"And with the smaller group and bye into this round from winning Champions, did any of the new members of EG mention their eagerness to play? Did any of them wish they could have a match sooner?"

Potter: "No, no, definitely not. I think we were all very feeling very lucky to have such a cushion this year. Being able to sit back and watch everyone else start, and observe, and just kind of understand that we're up next. That was really good breathing room for us."

"It’s easy to get a bit ahead of yourself after such a massive victory, but the team did a great job hanging in there once again on Icebox. What were some pivotal moments you can recall from map two that swung it in your favor?"

Potter: "It was that half-buy round win, I think it was 8:8 or 8:9. I forget exactly what round it was in. Converting that definitely swung a lot in our favor. Dealing with leaf's Op was definitely an issue, especially with the comp that we were running. It's just not the greatest versus confident Operators.

"But I'm so proud of the guys. The problem solving that we went through on stage, being able to quickly think on our feet like that, and adjust and adapt, that is really our game plan. It's what won us Champions last year. So, having the guys be able to experience that together and come out on top on in such a close series, it means a lot for us."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"Okay, now I’ve got to ask about the comp on Icebox. Who came up with it, the goal of it, why do you think it works? Whatever you want to tell me about it."

Potter: "I came up with the comp. I control all the comps for EG. That's been the case since the very beginning. I control all the macro, all the pistols, anti-ecos, things like that. So, that was my comp, and I just knew that it would work, because Jawgemo was so excited about Deadlock.

"I don't think it would've worked if I was excited about Deadlock and I said, 'Hey, Jaw, I think Deadlock is great.' And then told him he had to follow my instructions. It wouldn't have worked out. Jaw needed to be inspired and he needed to be able to cook on his own, and that's exactly what he did.

"I laid out the macro, I laid out exactly how we can make Deadlock work, what utility needs to be combo'd with what, to actually be able to make Deadlock viable. Really just putting out on paper what those trade-offs are.

"Losing the Jett, losing that sort of space maker, but really losing that Op prowess on Icebox was something that we needed to talk about out loud. So that we know what we need to compensate for, for losing that.

"And Jaw, just stylistically individually, he's just such an aggressive player as it is. He's able to just make reads instantly, depending on what his teammates are giving him info wise. So, because he's so sure of himself, and because he's able to react so well, so fast, having that trade-off of losing that Jett or losing a Raze, losing a Duelist, it didn't hurt us that much.

"So, that's where we felt inspired. I think Deadlock's utility is pretty similar to Raze. It's not the same, obviously. The kill potential on Raze is much higher, but as far as how you work with Deadlock, and how you use Deadlock, for us, it just was clear that it was very similar to Raze stylistically.

"So, it just worked out. And my job was to keep them inspired, right? Keep them excited about it, have them see the vision. This being the first tournament of the year, we have all the opportunity to throw out curveballs to be able to surprise people. So, why not? Why wouldn't we take advantage of this? That's how I pitched it, and everyone was excited about it."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"Coming into the year, once again stating this is a pretty new team. Do you still treat them as if they’re the championship winning roster from 2023?"

Potter: "No, definitely not. Every team has to start from zero. Last year's team, we had a core in Boostio, C0M and Jawgemo, but as the two new players came in, as we made roster adjustments, you have to be able to adapt.

"And so the team that we were at the end of last year was certainly not the team that we started off the year with. We adapted. And we're really proud of that. I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud of being able to read the room, read the meta, and utilize the tools that are in front of me.

"That's pretty much basically what this is. I'm learning what the strengths of my players are, so the start of this year is very similar to the start of last year's start. As far as figuring each other out and figuring out how we're going to win together."

"I’d like to know, are there any traditional sports coaches that you’re maybe inspired by or even just traditional sports coaching methods you’ve implemented with Evil Geniuses?"

Potter: "I'm not huge into that, but my brother is. My brother, he's just my inspiration. He's my hero. So, when we converse, whenever he gives me advice, it's always advice that I can do, that I can control, and things that I can do.

"He just tells me always to do my job. That's always resonated with me, and it didn't always mean the same thing, 'do your job.' But as I've gotten older and as my coaching career has evolved, that 'do your job' part is what I live by.

"That's what I tell my players every day, just focus on yourself, do your job, and do what you can control. Don't worry about your teammates, don't worry about me, don't worry about anything else. Just do your job. And you have to believe that at the end, it will come together if you're doing your part. So, that's pretty much how EG has been since day one."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"And after doing this for as long as you have, winning VALORANT’S most recent world championship tournament, coach of the year awards, all of that. Are you doing anything to keep your coaching fresh and innovative?"

Potter: "Good question. It's really about getting inspired by my own players. I've always talked about it since I've been coaching, I was telling people, 'Yeah, I stole that from LOUD, I stole that from DRX,' and I'm very straightforward about it.

"I come from Counter-Strike, and we are very much like that. We're very much like, 'If it ain't broke, why would you fix it?' So, we're very inspired by Saadhak and LOUD, and by DRX. I've been doing it for so long that I know that keeping it simple is always the best.

"I'm very vocal and very adamant about having my players understand the macro. And as long as they understand the macro, then they'll be able to make their own moves wherever they want. It doesn't really matter what the game plan is after, as long as we're on the same page about the macro. So, that's my coaching style, is putting a lot of emphasis on the macro."

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