Esports teams are defined by their successes, but player scouting in esports and acquiring the right players can be a risky and expensive undertaking. While traditional sports have long-term pipelines, Esports is relatively new and lacks such infrastructure. In this article, a former professional player and coach with 20 years of Esports experience offers insights into the qualities that make a successful player.
Reid “x0tek” Johnson
Reid “x0tek” Johnson began his esports career in 2003, playing in a World Cyber Games qualifier for Age of Mythology. While he was disqualified in this first event due to his young age, x0tek’s later career tells a different story. From turn based strategy games to tactical shooters, x0tek’s nearly 20 years as a competitor would bring multiple world and national titles across a variety of games. With the advent of the pandemic in 2020, x0tek took time away from competition to explore coaching. Since then, he has:
- Coached the first Egyptian team to ever top an international esports professional league, Team Anubis, in CrossFire
- Coached then-Australian juggernaut the Soniqs in Valorant, reaching top-ten in the North American rankings
- Coached Cloud9 White’s game changers roster, winning a national championship and becoming the first all-womens team to break into the top 40 rankings of a major esport
What Will You Learn?
- Introduction Player Scouting in Esports
- Game Skill
- Team EQ
- TL;DR and Tips for Coaches
- Further Reading
Esports teams are defined by their successes. While some look to content as a more consistent form of revenue, ultimately winning breeds fans. And so, when shaping a competitive roster, many organizations look to acquire the best possible players. Whether that means the best players overall, or role-specific titans, orgs will often pay millions of dollars to buy-out the players they need.
However, a key question often remains unanswered – how do you know? How do you know a player will succeed?
Traditional sports resolve this problem by creating long-term pipelines. Young talents are noticed often well before entering secondary school, given coaching and resources and training from their youth. Data analysts and professional scouts take years of information and experience to sift through the thousands of hopeful players.
Esports has very little of this infrastructure. Indeed, many esports titles have been out for less than a decade. And so, organizations must often make these multi-million dollar decisions with far less information. Many teams often recycle the same players at the highest level – it’s simply too risky to invest in an otherwise untested player.
In this article, I’ll use my 20 years of esports experience as both a professional player and coach to identify three primary qualities I believe teams should look for, as well as advice on how they can measure them.
It’s important to note that orgs face many considerations when it comes to players. Visa issues, potential buyout fees, time before an upcoming major tournament…an individual’s reputation or brand. However, for the sake of this article, we will be looking at specifically how to scout players for their ability to help the team win.