‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
Karrigan had an insightful interview today with HLTV where he talked about calling structure and how it relates to the in-game leader’s style of play.
“If you lurk and call, you need to have a good second caller who’s in positions where action is happening and who can evaluate the situation and make a call. Without this secondary caller it’s really hard to call and lurk at the same time. Happy was one of the best at that. My style is to be in the mid lane, I get information from my lurkers and make a decision on where to go. FalleN is a great AWPing leader and he controls the game the way he wants to. There are different ways to be an in-game leader and you can’t say that playing one style is right and another is wrong.”
What’s great about this answer is that Karrigan understands the interdependencies between a playstyle and how that relates to what kind of calling structure is needed within a team. This is something that I’ve seen happen across a variety of different games. In League of Legends, Hai was a legendary shotcaller for Cloud9. His style of play had him roam from the mid lane to setup the game for his teammates. What makes this example interesting was that Hai played better when he had to shotcall the entire time, likely because his style of play was bolstered by the constant communication and dictation of action around the map.
In Dota2, I’ve seen this a few times. The two notable examples are EternaLEnVy and the TI-winning Liquid. In the case of EternaLEnVy, he is one of the few captains to have found success while playing as the hard carry. This style was perfect for the lineups he ran on Cloud9 as he was the primary win condition of all of those teams. So calling the entire game around him naturally empowered him to make the decisions he needed to win the game.
As for the Liquid roster, they were the strongest early game team in the world. While KuroKy was the final decision maker, the team often used game flow to dictate which of them was calling. In an interview I did with Heen, he explained game flow as the state in which a player was so far ahead in the game that they could easily suss out what the next move to do is.
While this model is good at examining how playstyles and calling are dependant on each other, it can also be used to explain igl problems. The primary example I can think of is shox. When shox was leading the French super team, the team never found a consistent voice or identity because shox is a mercurial player. He has the ability to play any role or position, so he often switches up what he’s doing and rarely finds himself comfortable playing one style of CS. This along with the natural clash of philosophy he had with NBK meant that they were never able to find a coherent team identity when they worked together during that year.
When considering in-game leaders and shot callers, understanding the importance of how their individual play relates to their calling structure can give us better insight in analyzing teams and lineups.