NAVI psychologist: "The current team atmosphere is optimal; things have naturally fallen into place in-game"
Gleb Surabekiants talks at length about his role as a sports psychologist in an esports team, the current state of the NAVI squad, and working with different roster iterations.
The Samara-based psychologist joined NAVI's backroom staff in May 2019 during a turbulent time for the team that eventually led to the departure of longtime member Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev. The move, which had been discussed by Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev in an interview with HLTV.org after the victory at StarSeries i-League Season 7, marked a shift in direction for the CIS giants, who wanted to emulate Astralis' approach by adding to their support staff in an effort to lift the squad.
But it would take Natus Vincere several months to hit top form again. It was only in 2020, after they had removed Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács and signed Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy, that NAVI were able to reach new heights as the team topped the 'Group of Death' at BLAST Premier Spring Series, finished runners-up to MOUZ at the Ice Challenge, and won IEM Katowice in stunning fashion, moving to the top of the world rankings for the first time in nearly four years.
In this interview, conducted in Russian and then translated into English by Aleksei Louchnikov, we picked the NAVI psychologist's brain on a series of topics, including his previous background and the adaptation to the competitive-driven esports atmosphere. He also discussed matters related to the team, from Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov taking the in-game leader mantle from Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko to the progress shown by Perfecto.
Your work requires a large degree of professional ethics. With this in mind, could you please describe your role in the team?
Sure, I'll try to answer your questions in a way that makes them interesting, but without going into personal detail. When Ugin (NAVI's manager) told me that HLTV.org wanted to conduct an interview, my first thought was that it was a great opportunity not only to inform readers interested in my work but also for me to realize happenings as the interview progressed. It's good that I have this opportunity and I'd like to thank my teammates. I'm very proud of them, and all of our colleagues who put in the work to professionalize our approach to esports. We recently had a conversation with the guys around the importance of individual dedication. This, of course, applies not only to players but to all members of staff that are contributing to the organisation, and on behalf of the team, I'd like to thank our media team, managers, designers and everyone who ensures its proper functioning. It's always nice when we have such a well-oiled system where we can depend on their work, while they depend on ours.
If you look at our team or any other collective that has a mutual goal, from the perspective of psychology we are working with something along the lines of a live mental neural network, of which every member is a part. Sometimes it can be difficult to draw a clear line between where the influence of one member ends and where the influence of another begins. Speaking generally, my role in the team is to do my best to ensure our mutual mental connection is at an optimal state, and to employ various methodologies, depending on the situation at hand, to fine-tune and correct it during training, matches, and situations where it is necessary. This is particularly noticeable during crucial moments when the team is looking to win, as it is imperative to act as a unified organism, as a unified system, and employ all of our resources towards achieving that goal. In a team, every individual is important and the interpersonal relations between all members are important; as a result, the focus is not only on the individual, but on the relationships in the system as a whole.
In short, my role in the team is to effectively be a mental update system. I ensure the health of our live neural network and make sure it's stable and in a functional, working state. Like an operational technology system, it's a complicated system of interactions, thoughts, feelings and worries. I try to minimize the bugs, poorly working scripts etc., and if they appear, my job is to provide updates and fix them and assist the team in dropping the cache in good time, speaking metaphorically.
Why is it crucial to maintain a positive atmosphere in the team?
When the team is in an optimal psychological microclimate, every single member can fully focus on their own job, which is very important. This ensures that every player can focus on their strong sides. As an example, when this is the case, the manager coordinates things well, gives direction and maintains discipline in the team, the players are engaged in their own improvement: improving their aim, game knowledge; the coach can fully focus on improving in-game strategies, development of game plans and be less concerned about psychological aspects. As a result, a good psychological microclimate is complemented by a well-prepared strategic component, which is then complemented by the good individual skill of the players. When all of the system's components work well together, it gives a bonus of sorts, an additional sense of confidence in times of need. Sport, in its essence, is a competition of small details and micro-moments, where during important and critical situations, in my opinion, the quintessence of our previous work, small details, and dedication play a decisive role. All of the aforementioned is later called in-game confidence, perhaps.
Is it possible to create a team atmosphere that has no problems? Are conflicts in a team normal?
I think it's impossible, because development always implies a collision with reality, and to be more specific, how we interpret it. This always produces new thoughts, ideas and questions, and new answers to said questions. Buddha dedicated his life to answering this question, but did he actually produce a certain answer? I'm not sure. However, problems are neither good nor bad, they are simply a given. It's easier to approach them this way, and I'll explain why.
Currently, we are still at the beginning of our team journey, and much like any other team, we regularly face difficulties and various situational conflicts. Simply put, we understand the issues that we have, our weaknesses and from time to time, they make themselves known because we're all human at the end of the day, we're not robots. Any work-related conflicts are an integral part of the process, and it is important to specify a certain thought that we have discussed as a team on several occasions, which is that the actual issues that arise in the team aren't really issues. The issues begin when the collective starts to reject the presence of any issues and starts to avoid the issues due to various reasons because they can cause discomfort at first notice. If these aren't addressed, the team can start to exist in an illusion and develop along a faulty path. My function in these situations is to do my best in legitimizing the issue, essentially making it more open and understandable for the collective and myself as well, and then try to translate it into a mutual task that we all need to solve. It isn't the first time I use this analogy, but in some crucial moments, I'd describe myself as Bran Stark. A three-eyed crow flying and observing; it's like he doesn't exist in the moment, but he is directly connected to the on-goings at the same time. The analogy describes the main principle of acceptance and commitment therapy, which in its essence means that you distance yourself from the negative experiences: thoughts, memories, and feelings, and you simply observe on-goings to make a more deliberate decision. The joke, essentially, is that it's not always easy to understand what he's doing the entire series, but people know he is needed for success. Sometimes, our neural network has its lags and we don't feel well, that also happens and at that point we kind of forget about the Bran Stark analogy (laughs).
Can your work be divided into a list of key functions?
You can break down my role into a few main work objectives. Without diving too deep into the details, then it's three main pillars. First, it's maintaining good, healthy interpersonal relations in the team. This is team building, team seminars, training, team talks and spending free time together; this pillar always involves a lot of work. Secondly, it's assistance in working on personal development with each player individually. This is individual work with players dependent on how necessary it is and how helpful it would be. On occasion, I initiate these conversations with players myself, particularly when I feel that I can be helpful or do something useful for the person; sometimes, the guys approach me themselves if they feel the need. We base the interactions off of common sense. The third pillar is the sporting aspect of my role, so to speak. It's pre-tournament and pre-match conditioning of the players, assisting the players in being able to self-diagnose and understand their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It's also developing their ability to find their optimal combat state and understand what components it is composed of and what affects it. Also, various methods of entering your optimal combat state. As a team, we test various methods, keeping those that work, and do our best in improving them while sharing our experiences and finding new ways of improving.
What experience in Psychology did you have prior to arriving at NAVI?
From the age of 20, I worked for long stretches of time and deep dove into specifics. My professional path as a psychologist started at a psychology/psychotherapy clinic. I worked there for a total of three years. Initially, it involved working with hotlines, then I gradually transitioned to individual consultancy and group psychotherapy. Overall, I was actively involved in the development of the clinic and popularizing psychology, so to speak. Afterward, I became interested in other facets of psychology and other ways of utilizing it. I slightly changed my field of activity from a medically oriented profile towards a business profile. I was working with a company that was involved with online marketing and project development. I specialized in working with difficult clients and was working with employees of the company, assisting the marketing department with psychology-related research. I taught employees the basics of stress tolerance, did seminars and developed negotiation methodologies with our director. Basically I used practical and theoretical psychology in various ways. Now I've come to my third project since starting my path as a psychologist - NAVI.
How is working in esports different from the more traditional background you come from? What are some of the main differences?
There are definitely differences between my previous projects and NAVI, but I would focus on the similarities. The similarities exist because psychology is psychology, and it is present where people are present. Whether it's in a specific clinic, corporate business or in sport, there are certain methodologies and patterns that define the functioning of our psyche - they are always the same. There is no question that in our current situation we're working with a sporting environment, and there are specificities. I went through additional education, consulted various sports psychologists and studied material on the subject. The main point is that there are fundamental principles that can be applied to all subcategories of psychology. I think it is important for any psychologist to learn and apply them. Traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy and, as an extension, acceptance and commitment therapy are exceptional instruments for it. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is currently the conventional standard in psychological correction and support, and various narrow profile methodologies are based on it, be it sport, business or personal development.
Esports are a young man's sports, where a lot of the players are effectively working their first jobs and are in the process of figuring out life while simultaneously having so much attention on them. Did you have to adjust your professional approach with this in mind?
This is a very interesting question and perhaps more interesting than initially perceived, and I'll explain why I think so. We discussed this topic a lot with Andrey (B1ad3), and a couple of months back we even came up with a working theory of sorts. Many have been talking about esports for a while, its evolution into a sport and how we're currently witnessing these changes as esports transition into traditional sports. Evolution itself isn't as important, that's a given, what's important is what naturally flows out of it and gives us an understanding of how to approach the current generation. The specificity of esports is that, initially, the majority of professional players were not trained as sportspeople in the traditional sense. They were gamers who spontaneously became professionals thanks to their talent, whereas traditional sports have slightly different requirements. It's a different environment to playing a computer game from your home or an internet cafe; it's difficult. Paramount to a successful and happy survival is adaptation.
The main adaptation I had to make when working with esports professionals is remembering and taking into account that these are guys who initially had no idea that they would become sportspeople, contrary to the many sportspeople who have been trained from a young age, consistently going through training, maintaining regimens and discipline. They have been mentally conditioned to become sportspeople from the very beginning, while the current generation of esports professionals aged 18-30 are mainly individuals who didn't position themselves as professionals at a young age. They simply enjoyed what they did and became professionals as they progressed. Understanding this assisted me in helping the guys develop a more professional approach to their work. This included paying more attention to their daily regimens, discipline, self-improvement, diet and sleep, and generally all of the factors that play an important role in traditional sports. These are the small details and nuances that can be of significance to them, similar to traditional sportspeople.
So it was important for you to account for the grassroots nature of the esports industry and adapt to its progression?
It's important to consider both its subcultural nature and the transition into traditional sport. Gaming was a subculture of sorts back in the days of its conception, and now it has left its prior status, aspiring to transform into a big sport, which in turn has different requirements for players. The subcultural nature will remain within the genes of esports forever, and that's amazing, it makes esports unique. I grew up in the family of a programmer, gamer and computer specialist, through and through. People who didn't play computer games and consoles in their childhood probably won't understand that experience or esports, seeing as they don't love computer games or Counter-Strike specifically with all of their soul. As a result, all current professional players are forced to adapt to these new requirements. Either they adjust to them and start taking them into account or they'll find it very difficult to continue performing at a competitive level. Because of this, we see youngsters aged 13-16 come into the industry with a completely different mentality, and they are already starting their path in a more professional way because the competition is growing, and this competition has a massive impact on it.
And this surpasses an individual level in that organizations have parted ways with the subculture past, looking to introduce various structures and hiring personnel to assist with development...
Yes, that's correct. We see the addition of professional coaches, psychologists. I think Astralis were the first to add a psychologist in CS:GO, then I think they added a physiotherapist or dietician, or perhaps even both. Now we also see them adding a sixth player to the roster, which some other teams have done as well. What we see is a clear model of evolution, and, analogically, evolution works over billions of years and in the process of adaptation to our environment we became the way that we are.
NAVI is one of the larger CIS-based organizations and for a long period of time there was conversation around signing a psychologist, but it didn't come to fruition until May of last year. In terms of your arrival, do you feel the timing was optimal or would it have been significantly more productive had you arrived at an earlier stage?
I think I'll answer this question from somewhat of a fatalistic perspective, in that I think I was invited to join the team at a good time because, in this situation, things happen as they happen, so to speak. I think this is applicable to this situation because perhaps before that there was a period which in marketing you call the formation of demand. The team was learning through knocks, gaining experience, and subsequently came to a decision. For example, if the management of the organization had it in their plans to sign a psychologist for a while but their roster didn't share the opinion that it was a good idea for whatever reason, then what would be the point of acquiring one? The decision was behind B1ad3 and Yevhen Zolotarov (NAVI CEO), and they made it in a moment when it was most needed. After that, I was brought in, and we got to specific discussions in terms of what we wanted to do. As such, I think I joined at a good time.
The CIS mentality, generally, is quite skeptical towards psychology and its effects. A testament to that is the time it has taken top organizations to hire full-time support staff such as yourself. What was it like joining the team and was there any skepticism directed your way on arrival?
I think you're right in saying that there is certain skepticism in the CIS region around psychology and its usefulness because there were many incompetent specialists in the past. Whether it's sport or business psychology, or individual consultations, people visit at the end of their wit, almost as if they've come in for a confession. Many sportspeople don't refer themselves to a sports psychologist until they've lost all hope. This used to be the tendency, but now, as time goes by, in the past ten years that I've been following the situation, even I see a change. Perhaps with increased access to information and education on the topic, people have started reaching out to psychologists and are taking the topic more seriously. The popularization of psychology in the CIS has also contributed to higher industry standards, producing highly-qualified and specialized professionals in traditional consulting, sports and business psychology. There are new books, videos, channels and everything that has an impact on social tendencies.
As for skepticism in the team, I wouldn't say there was more or less skepticism than usual. I think the players – and this is something that's important to point out – were open to cooperating with a psychologist from the start. In little steps, sometimes large ones, we always worked together and tried our best to continue this, for which I would like to thank all of the guys. I think that even if they did have some concerns or troubles working with a psychologist, then they would be totally justified because it's a very important subject. Some person is trying to help you change your outlook on certain things or find new possibilities within yourself. It takes a certain degree of trust, and trusting a random person isn't easy. The specialist has to show you why you should be able to trust him and why there is a point of working with him. There wasn't any additional skepticism from the team, and I think the guys wanted to gain something from the interaction. Had I been in their place, I would've also likely been skeptical if I didn't know the person that I was going to be working with. As we discussed previously, there have been a lot of unprofessional workers in the CIS region, and not only in psychology. I don't know why, but when you come across a competent professional it's always a pleasant experience.
You joined the organization at a time of turmoil, with lots of roster adjustments taking place in a short space of time. With this in mind, at what point did you see the fruits of your labor? When was it apparent that your input had positively rubbed off on the team?
I think that we're moving along as a progression. We went from bootcamp to bootcamp, from tournament to tournament, and at every bootcamp and before every event we would always, as a team, point out the most relevant questions. We mutually broke down how we would address them and developed schemes as to how we'd go about it, and tried our best to follow the plan step by step. We kept moving, and still are. To say that at a specific moment I saw my influence, sure, there were exciting and memorable moments that are individual to myself and the players. Perhaps I'll share them at a later time, but not today, as for now I'm just trying to focus on the tasks I need to fulfill, and I think the guys are trying to focus on that as well.
So you'd describe it as more of a progression?
Yes, as a team we do our best to discuss what is most relevant for us as a group and individually, and we share this with each other. We mutually develop a plan and have intermediate feedback sessions. Working off of that, I look at the aspects that I need to work on, what needs to be added or adjusted, etc. I do my best to address these.
Zeus' exit marked the departure of a leader in the team, someone that commanded respect from all members of the roster. How did his departure affect the atmosphere of the team? Did it make way for progress within the roster at all?
Yes, there's no doubt that any large changes in the team will have an impact on it, and one can add that the team had time to prepare morally and strategically to Danylo's (Zeus') departure because at the time he advised everyone of the possibility of him concluding his career in the near future. For both the players and the community his decision was not unexpected, as it's natural for an experienced player to decide to conclude his career.
If you had to compare the atmospheres between the roster with Zeus in comparison to the current one, what are the biggest differences would you point out?
It's quite interesting that over the course of my eight to nine months of work I have experienced four different rosters. After just a week on the team, NAVI had its first roster change. At the time I hadn't even had the chance to acquaint with the players. Later, Kirill (Boombl4) joined and we started working with Danylo (Zeus) and Misha (Kane). For a certain period of time, it was a stable roster, and it was an interesting stretch of time in itself and it had an interesting atmosphere. Then Ladislav (GuardiaN) arrived, and that was a different period. It had a different dynamic, but it was also very intense. Parallel to all these changes, the core of flamie, s1mple and electronic, and later Boombl4, who also became part of the core after the initial change, grew alongside these experiences both as individuals and players. It turned out that each of the roster iterations was at a certain point of growth, and as a result, the roster became the way it is now, but previous transformations were inevitable, so to speak.
The current atmosphere the team has is optimal. The main difference is something that was noted by both Sasha (s1mple) and Egor (flamie), who mentioned that the players are the same age and have similar interests, both inside and outside of the game.
You mentioned that the current atmosphere is optimal. Do you think the fact that the players are in a similar age group is decisive? It usually seems to be the case that the team needs a leader who has more experience, which comes with age, but the squad lacks this individual.
The answer actually doesn't go against your theory, because in this specific scenario, the person you outlined as the leader is probably B1ad3. If you look at the game, I think he is an authority when it comes to it. No one questions whether he has a grasp of it at the highest level. The players know this to be the case and know just how deep his strategic thinking is. They know how intense his own professional path in esports was, and most of them played alongside him in the past, something that was underlined in many interviews. He played with Sasha (s1mple), Egor (flamie) and Denis (electronic), and they feel comfortable with him. He is a knowledgeable leader and all the players know this and respect him.
What about the in-game atmosphere specifically?
When we look in-game, we see that things have naturally fallen into place. Why did s1mple become the captain, while Boombl4 is the in-game leader? It's because Sasha (s1mple) is titled the best player in the world, he assumed captainship, while Kirill came in as an in-game leader, and there is no contradiction. We also have Denis (electronic), who has become experienced to a point where he can take initiative when needed. He frequently helps the team better understand the game, and as a playmaker he offers ideas in-game and helps Kirill with calls. Of course, occasionally there are conflicts that come up, but that's inevitable, as we discussed previously. It's inevitable not only in this situation but in any team setting, there are always conflicts. In these sorts of moments, we try to revert ourselves to reality, so to speak, and the baseline reality is that, in the end, we all have mutual goals and dreams. When you realize this, these sorts of conflicts lose their power because they are minuscule in the context of eternity and the context of the team's ambition to write esports history. It's something that s1mple has mentioned on many occasions, he wants to engrave his team's name and his own in history. After these sorts of realizations, you can see how it becomes a little easier to agree during practices as to who throws grenades where and who covers the flank.
It's interesting that you point this out, because as a general theme in interviews when s1mple is asked whether it is important for him to be No.1 in the world, his answer would consistently be that he wants NAVI to be the No.1 in the world more than anything.
Yes, and as a team, we try to always remember the team-wide goals and values. We always try to come to agreements. The players try their best to remember this, and things work out when we do. Of course, when we dissolve and drown in negative emotions and conflicts, and get stuck in them, then our relationships are immediately affected and it has an impact on our in-game results.
From a psychologist's perspective, how do you think it was possible to avoid some serious clashes in the team when the leadership was transferred?
In terms of leadership, as I mentioned previously, we have Sasha (s1mple), who is a very determined and hardworking individual who never allows people to slack much. He tries to keep everyone in tempo, ensuring everyone gives their all and dedicates their best. That's in terms of his general influence as a captain. As for Kirill's (Boombl4's) development as a coordinator and in-game leader, the way I think we arrived at it was after he had worked with Andrey (B1ad3) and on his own. He understood that the lack of experience can be compensated with a single factor: perseverance. He has started working a lot on this, both during training and separately, whether it be with B1ad3 or by himself. When the team sees how hard a person is trying, how much he is putting in and how involved he is in the process, then I think the guys are happy to support him and assist him because they see he isn't allowing himself to slack. They see that he is working on becoming more experienced. As such, I think the key is dedication. When everyone in the team, not just Boombl4, is doing his bit to the maximum, then the whole organism feels well.
In interviews with players, practically everyone mentioned that GuardiaN experienced psychological issues as opposed to technical difficulties within the game. Could you give your thoughts as a specialist in regards to why he was unable to shine while on the team? Why were you perhaps unable to support him if this was the case?
Due to professional ethics, I would prefer not to answer this question because I have had a conversation on the topic with Ladislav directly. If the community is interested, the best answer will only come from GuardiaN himself and I cannot confirm nor deny the theory.
Having spoken with Perfecto at ICE Challenge in London, it was apparent that he had found integration into the roster quite smooth and that he seemed comfortable in his new team. Could you give us some insight as to how his introduction has gone? Have you assisted him at all?
Initially, the best thing I could do for him was not getting in his way and doing absolutely nothing. What I mean by this is that during the initial days, he showed himself. There was a moment when the players were choosing who to play with, and at the time there were various candidates for the role. He showcased himself in the initial practices and matches, and later the guys decided to take him in. We had a few days of online practice, and during these days, I didn't really take any actions. It is entirely his achievement in that he was able to develop initial relationships with his new teammates online, without even meeting them. He gained their trust and alongside their coach, they decided to sign him.
I tried to understand how he was feeling, how he was adapting and how I could help him. I had a few thoughts about how I could do that, and later on, after one of the initial games at ICE Challenge, we had our first one-on-one conversation. This moment served as a starting point for our relationship, and from that point onward we have identified important talking points and started our work.
From a professional standpoint, how significant do you think the community's impact is on players? How do you help your players with both the negative and positive aspects of it?
I think that everyone should remember that every word has its meaning. All the words coming from viewers and fans, separately, can be small sentences, but as a sum, they become a substantial mass that has a life of its own, so to speak, one outside of the volition of those that initially expressed them. It becomes an emotional pendulum that has its own rules that affect players, teams and the industry as a whole. Someone writes posts, the other creates memes, some positive, some negative. Someone records a track, the other creates highlights, and all of this is posted and commented on. The comments are commented on, and it's like a big tree with a lot of branches that start growing outward. Whether you'd like to abstract yourself from it or not, it will have a massive meaning. The more viewers and fans a team has, the more significant the impact. Naturally, it is very important for all of the players to be supported in any situation. Victories are cool, but victories don't exist without losses, because at the end of the day it's a sport, it's life, and anything can happen. People should try to treat each other respectfully and, even if it might be difficult, try to support the players. Essentially what I want to say is that we should create an ecosystem where everyone can develop and learn something interesting, taking in each others' positive energy. I'd like to extend thanks to some of the more outspoken fans of our organization who create blogs and content, and those that, even if making fun of us, do it with good taste and warmth. If it's not negative, then it even helps; players gladly watch the clips and read the jokes if they aren't toxic.
As for how I help out with it, in pre-match or pre-event conditioning, we try to focus on our work and performance through various methodologies. We focus on being entirely engaged with the game and follow our plan round by round. Obviously, when there is some sort of a positive coming from the viewers, it gives confidence and a whole lot of positive emotions.
Do you ever play CS with the team? What's your favourite weapon?
Yes, I'm not bad (LEM), particularly when I'm playing seriously. Sometimes, the guys ask me to play for fun, in matchmaking or Wingman. During these matches, I try not to focus on the result, but on introspection and placing myself in the shoes of my teammates. I study how their words impact me and try to get a first-hand understanding of what it's like being the teammate of a member of our team. It helps me become more effective in my work going forward and to better understand what is going on.
My favourite weapon is the Deagle. The gun illustrates well the idea that in life things can go wrong... The gun also demonstrates how concentration works, as you dedicate all your focus and energy to a single shot, and if you've worked out that it didn't land, you're usually already dead.
Do you feel that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted players and the industry in general?
Yes, we have been significantly impacted by the global situation. Our team is in different cities and countries, we don't have the opportunity to get together at a bootcamp and fully feel each others' presence. Having said that, there's not much we can do and we try our best to adapt to the situation.
From the perspective of a professional, psychologically, why do people perform differently when in a LAN environment versus online?
I think that some players are affected by it and some players are not, but for teams as a whole, it can be a significant difference. In essence, things are completely different. It isn't a coincidence that the industry has developed in a way that all tier-one events have gradually transferred to a LAN setting and almost entirely dropped online play. It's the best way to level the teams' chances and give them an equal environment. In our current situation, as I mentioned previously, we don't even have the opportunity to bootcamp, and, probably, neither do other teams.
I have a lot of thoughts on the topic, but I haven't conclusively answered it for myself yet. I think it's connected with how an individual perceives responsibility in different conditions. Because of this, I think people say that it's easier for the majority of teams to play online. It's quite easy to imagine, as players are in a comfortable environment either at home or at a bootcamp, not 10 meters away from the trophy with the tournament bustle and background music accompanying their entry into the arena. They don't see the admins, they don't feel the tournament vibe, making it easier to maintain composure without the stress factors. It's easier to focus on the game, while for our players, conversely, they find the tournament setting more familiar. Having said that, as we saw upon conclusion of EPL, which was entirely played online, the top six teams could've made it to the top six on LAN as well, and as such, I don't have the full answer to the question. There's no doubt that we prefer to play on LAN, as we've mentioned on several occasions in interviews with both our players and coach. I think it could've had an impact on our end result, but seeing as we're forced to play online, so be it. We'll all continue to work as hard as we always have, and I'm sure it will be just as interesting as before.