Breakout squad nouns talks coach love and role swaps at TI 2023

By Kenneth Williams

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Oct 27, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

nouns wasn’t a popular pick to make the playoffs of TI 2023, but now the squad is five series away from a potential championship.

Shopify Rebellion was thought to be North America’s best hope at The International, but with just eight teams remaining, nouns is the sole representative of the region. The squad is charging into the final stretch with the home-field advantage and is sure to be a favorite at the Climate Pledge Arena.

WIN.gg met up with the team to learn about its role swap strategy, love for coach Filipe “Astini” Astini, and wacky Witch Doctor offlane drafts.

An interview with nouns at TI 2023

WIN.gg: After the Tundra win, the room was filled with cheers for Astini. Aside from the birthday celebration, why so much love for your coach?

Gunnar: He’s the one who does our drafts. You have to go into the games with confidence from the draft, so it always feels good when we can just trust the draft and not worry about what we’re picking. He just does it for us.

K1: Astini is a pretty smart guy.

Yamsun, switching from Position 1 to 5 is a major change. Was it a voluntary swap to make room for K1, or what did that conversation look like?

Yamsun: It was a voluntary swap. After we were eliminated from the Bali Major, we decided we needed to make a change to our primary roster to do better in future tournaments. I basically just did a mental analysis of who was available, and there wasn’t really a large population of 5 players on the market. I figured that Hector would definitely play with us, given the circumstances of the past. We’re all very well acquainted with him.

I had already switched to a support role in the past. It was a different support role that I switched to for a DPC season. Even after that season, I played TI qualifiers as a carry, and I had a lot of new perspectives on the game. I think that, historically, it helped me see the game from a different lens, and I think it was very crucial to my growth as a player to take a backseat and see how other people, in that case, Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao, viewed the role. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but so far, it’s gone very well for us.

I think there are a lot of qualities about myself that make it easy to transition to a new role like this. Especially from a support perspective, I still have a lot to learn, but for the most part, I’m able to do what the team needs from me.

K1, I believe this is your first team where you communicate in English. You speak well, but have there been any funny mixups while playing?

K1: If I don’t understand what they say, I just ignore it.

(Group laughs.)

Gunnar, you’ll be up against fellow NA mid star Quinn soon. Any goal going against him? Maybe a solo kill?

Gunnar: Solo kill? (Laughs.) I don’t really have a goal besides winning the series. I’ve played against Quinn a lot, we have a lot of experience playing against each other… We haven’t really played each other much in the last year since he moved to Europe and is no longer an NA mid player, so it’ll be fun to see what it’s like to go versus him again.

Moo, how did you convince Astini to start picking offlane Witch Doctor in high-stakes matches? Did he see the vision or was there a long discussion?

Moo: Well, we usually win with it. It didn’t take that much convincing.

Astini: That 13-win streak, with the hero in ranked. That was enough convincing to try it in officials.

Moo: Check the win rate! I don’t know why, but it works.

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