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AWF on coaching Talon: "I was taking a shower 3 times a day. Picks are done — I'm taking a shower. Game over — I'm in a shower again, it was so hard to not fall asleep"

Andrii "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko talked about his work with Talon Esports at TI11 SEA qualifier, explained the curcumstances of his hiring, and shared a story of rough working conditions due to the timezone differences. He did that on the Alexey "Storm" Tumanov's podcast with Andrey "Mag" Chipenko.

On TI11 qualifiers

23savage messaged me on social media and said: "I've looked at your Liquipedia, do you want to train us?" I agreed, that's basically it. In the beginning I didn't really want to do it, because I knew that we might have language issues. 23savage said that scrims will begin in 5 days. <...> I learned later that 23savage also asked my good friend about me. He said that I will help Talon. [Mag: Was that Resolut1on?] You are sharp as usual.

Three hours later Talon manager messaged me, offered to check some scrims tomorrow already. He said that it will begin at 09:00 SGT time. And later I've learned that the difference is 5 hours and realized that I will have to wake up at 03:30 Kiev time. With my sleep schedule at the time, I was going to bed around that time. First day was hard, but later I checked the communication during games and realized that players are speaking in English during matches relatively well.

The time difference was hard to work with. <...> We had multiple scrims, that's why they were starting so early. First match was starting at 10:00 SGT, then they had a break, and then four matches after that. I would take a nap for an hour after the first game and feel better.

First few days were really rough. I was taking a shower three times a day. We are done with our picks — I'm taking a shower. We finished the game — I'm in a shower again, it was so hard to not fall asleep. But at least I started going out for a walk in the morning. Before scrims and after them.

Andrii "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko

On his tasks and goals

Before we started working, the players explained that they had issues with their coach not being able to give them what they've asked. I got the rough idea what they were missing. We will see, there is still a lot of work ahead. <...> Our first thing to work on was issue with drafts. 23savage was complaining to me that he was getting blind Bristleback picks, and he couldn't play like that. They had issues of those sorts.

[The team wanted a more structured draft approach?] Roughly speaking, yes. They are all super-players, and they don't want to get distracted by drafting, it's not interesting to them. They just want someone to take responsibility for picking heroes.

Andrii "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko

On TI11 qualifier finals

All games were rough, even with Lilgun, because guys made a lot of mistakes. But they really improved during this qualifier, both as a team and as individuals. I won't claim that it's because of me, because they improved on their own. We won against T1, and I'm watching the game next day and thinking: "Polaris will win, but damn, I don't want to play against them, they are stronger than T1." All in all, it was a rough final. We had a chance to finish 3:1, but Q told me: "Dude, we will counter-pick Lina, it's all going to be all right". I ask: "Are you sure it's all going to be all right?". He: "Yes, yes, we will be running at her on mid". Me: "Are you sure you will be running at her on mid?". He: "Yes, I'm sure, sure". Well, turned out we didn't run at her on mid — 2:2, that's why we had a fifth map. <...>

[Had any feedback from players?] Yes, a lot of it. It was cool, especially when we won. They said: "Thanks, coach, you helped us out a lot".

Andrii "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko

On other candidates

From what I got, they had no other candidates, because they didn't have much time. Talon wanted to try this to see how it will go. Three days later, 23savage started doing some weird shit in scrims that I previously asked him to not do. It wasn't anything serious, but I didn't like it. So I wrote: "23savage, fuck, we will be analyzing this replay". Everyone laughed, and I understood that everything will be ok.

Andrii "ALWAYSWANNAFLY" Bondarenko

ALWAYSWANNAFLY announced his new role in Talon on September 17, after the team won regional qualifier, beating Polaris Esports 3:2. He replaced Lee "Forev" Sang-don, who worked with the team since February 2022. Bondarenko's last team was Natus Vincere, he left it in May 2021 and was mainly working as a streamer and an analyst ever since.

Cover: NAVI social media



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