After Evil Geniuses lifted the 2018 CWL Championship trophy on August 19, completing a remarkable run that saw the 30/1 shot upset the competition, their coach, Embry "Bevils" Bevil received high praise.
EG's captain and now 2x world champion Patrick "ACHES" Price said Bevils "was a huge part of our success". His teammate Justin "SiLLY" Fargo, said having a coach "had the highest impact on us winning champs."
But not all teams have coaches, even at the highest level. In fact, neither of the teams with the most event wins throughout the WWII season - Rise Nation and Team Kaliber - had coaches.
So how much difference does the coach really make? Does it depend on the team, the players and their perceived 'need' for another pair of eyes on their gameplay?
Echo Fox player Donovan "Temp" Laroda, and Rise Nation players Daniel "Loony" Loza and Austin "SlasheR" Liddicoat, discussed the topic briefly following CWL champs and EG's historic victory.
SlasheR: "The whole year coaches weren't doing shit, and now all of a sudden we're going to say coaches did something."
Temp: "tK and Rise won the most events, with no coach. EG went 0-20 in SnD, literally. It comes down to how the players perform at the end of the day."
Loony: "They just played well bro. Yeh, I'm sure the coach is the reason Assault had fucking LeBron numbers."
However, it has been pointed out that four of the top six teams at Champs all had coaches (EG, Luminosity, FaZe Clan and eUnited), so surely this isn't purely coincidence?
FaZe Clan player James "Replays" Crowder, who himself was previously a coach for the organization before returning to playing, disagrees with Temp and co., saying coaches are "super helpful".
Coaches are super helpful. Since RJ we went from T12 and awful at HP to T3 and almost undefeated in HP.
— FaZe Crowder (@JamesCrowder) August 21, 2018
This would align with the compliment SiLLY paid to his coach, Bevils. In a Reddit comment, SiLLY explained how he turned around the team's fortunes, particularly Search and Destroy.
"I think Bevils had the highest impact on us winning champs. We always have good vetos, and no other team has fresh SnD strats for every map. Having someone so intelligent in charge of what you do really benefits a team."
CWL rules do not permit coaches to be on stage during matches, which is different to many other esports.
It wasn't always the case either, and some want the rule overturned, including Bevils himself - and others, including CWL caster Ben "Benson" Bowe, are in agreement.
The rule should be lifted for Vegas. Let coaches talk in between maps and during freeze time. Refs should also enforce the same conduct rules on the coaches to prevent abusive behavior.
— Ben N (@BenJNissim) August 21, 2018
Bevils recently did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit, answering questions from the competitive CoD community, where he explains his role within EG, and how he feels he contributed to their win.
He credits the players largely, for showing him the respect needed for him to get his advice across, and putting aside ego, allowing themselves to be corrected.
"I definitely felt valued and respected by the guys. I can’t give them enough credit for making me feel a part of the team and really valuing and trusting what I would tell them to do in S&D.
[...] The team showed me a ton of respect and that just speaks to their character. They believed in me and trusted in what I was telling them, especially regarding S&D. I really can’t thank them enough for believing in me and wanting to hear what I had to say."
The jury is still out on coaches in CoD generally, but there is no denying that Bevils had a massive influence on EG's success, pushing them to a world championship win.
The talent of the roster is undeniable too of course, but perhaps teams that are holding out on a coach will now reconsider.