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Conflict: How CSL Teams Deal With It

Playing in a team is much different from your regular pubs. In pubs, you’re often ironically fighting against your teammates as well as your enemy. Why? The answer is simple: You don’t know them. You don’t know why they play the way they do, what kind of attitude they have, whether they actually belong in that skill bracket, or even if they really want to win. The people on the other side of the screen are just names. This uncertainty that surrounds players in each game often leads frustration; after all, everyone wants to win, but each player has different ideas on how to do it. This is only strengthened by the fact that each game usually features 4 different teammates. A lot of players think that there’s really no point in explaining or listening why someone did something wrong when you’re only going to be together for one game – it’s simply easier to flame. In pubs, the general attitude seems to be “it’s my way or the highway.” In some extreme cases, players will actually purposely throw or feed because their idea of how to win isn’t working out.

I don’t understand players like this.

On the other hand, a team usually has one main focus: success. This simple piece of knowledge, the fact that everyone wants to win, makes a world of difference. The 4 people who used to be random names become teammates you’re willing to work with – even if you disagree with someone’s play or ideas, it’s a different feeling from straight anger because you know that they’re trying their best. Playing on a team is a great experience that everyone should try once in their esports careers, no matter how good of a player you are.

Even so, being on a team can be stressful. Not everything is a bed of roses; there are times where even the smallest things can lead to major disagreements. New teams often find it hard to mesh with each other, and teams that work well together can still fail to accomplish their goals.

So how do CSL teams deal with this conflict? In the case of last year’s champion, UBC’s coordinator Vivian “bibz” Chung described her experience of watching her team work to find itself rather than emulating last year’s success. “sometimes it can be easy to lose hope when you see a completely new dynamic compared to the previous one… But reminding yourself that getting down about a change is useless, and to harness that change to an advantage is real strength. Just keep swimming!” On the other hand, UIUC’s Patrick “su_blood” Zhou stated that his team dealt with it by playing their own game with an emphasis on improvement, since “it’s not important to win these games; it’s important to be the best when the playoffs come.”

Undefeated teams such as the University of Texas-Austin emphasized the point of not tilting when bad plays happens. Although Texas-Austin hasn’t really had much competition thus far, one such scenario occurred for powerhouse team UC Davis during their series against UC Irvine. After being stomped in game 2, the Aggies were able to shake it off and regroup to take the series. “We’re all just friends who like to mess around,” said Ian “lucky57” Skebba. “We don’t take things too seriously… we just like playing Dota.”


Game Two of UC Davis vs UC Irvine

Meanwhile, last year’s semifinalist Cornell puts things to practice when they disagree about the game. “We walk through the scenario carefully and we watch replays, but much of the time now we just go into a practice lobby and check things out.” By practicing laning scenarios and walking through team fights, teams like Cornell smooth things over before misplays and disagreements can be made.

But perhaps the easiest and most effective ways to deal with conflict when it arises are positive attitudes and communication. Micheal “mobilesuitguy” Lee explains how he deals with the stress: “By trying to understand others instead of getting others to understand our own perspective only. Clear communication, good social relations, and feedback are at the core of our team’s values.” Likewise, Kenny “Swish895” Bisch talked about “try[ing] to have a positive attitude and know[ing] I can always improve so I should never blame a teammate.”

In the end, there’s no set way to deal with the frustration and stress that may arise when you’re on a team, as each person deals with it differently. Whatever works for one person might just not be possible for another. However way you deal with it, it’ll be interesting to see these ideas put to the test during the second half. After all, it’s playoff season.

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