Ask any esports athlete and they’ll tell you one of the biggest differences they experience when they join an organization is having a coach. The value of having someone who’s job is to analyze the opponent, and give you feedback on what you can do improve is immeasurable. Here’s this year’s nominees for best esports coach.

Eric ‘Adren’ Hoag (Team Liquid, CSGO) – Team Liquid had a stellar first half of the year. They won an Intel Grand Slam and dominated the scene for the better part of four months. They’ve experienced a drop off in the second half, although that could be attributed to the resurgence of Astralis.

Nu-Ri “Cain” Jang (Team Liquid, LoL) – Yep! It’s been that kind of year for Team Liquid. Good enough for them to get two coaches on the list of nominees. Team Liquid had another dominant year in the LCS, winning both the Spring and Summer split. They also made it to the finals of the Mid-Season Invitational. It’s no secret they’re one of the best coached teams in the league.

Day 4 at the 2018 World Championship Group Stage at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center in Busan, South Korea, on 13 October 2018.

Fabian ‘Grabbz’ Lohmann (G2 Esports, LoL) – G2 Esports have had an unbelievable year. For the second straight year, a European team defied the odds and made it all the way to the grand finals of the World Championships. Unfortunately, for the second straight year, it ended in disaster. Grabbz definitely deserves kudos for getting his team that far, but they looked unprepared when it came time for the showdown with China.

Day 3 at Rift Rivals 2018 NA vs EU in Los Angeles, California, USA on 7 July 2018.

Kim ‘KKoma’ Jeong-Gyun (SKT1, LoL) – T1 is one of the most dominant League of Legends organizations of all time. And they had a good return to form this year, which took them all the way to the semi-finals. But success isn’t measured in terms of semi-finals for T1, it’s measured in terms of Summoner’s Cups.

Titouan ‘Sockshka’ Merloz (OG, DOTA 2) – His team won The International this year and all became independently wealthy. OG has won back to back Internationals, but Sockshka joined in April of this year. Nevertheless, he got the team to buy into his message and they went on to win the year’s biggest tournament.

Danny ‘Zonic’ Sorensen (Astralis, CSGO) – Astralis is one of the most dominant esports teams ever. Full stop. Any game, any time frame, Astralis is right near the top of the list. Much of the credit for that has to go to superb coaching on the part of Zonic, although having some of the best players ever to play the game doesn’t hurt either.

Who will win – Cain – I think Team Liquid has become the poster child for the LCS, and that’ll propel Cain to victory. No other team has won a split in the LCS since franchising.

Who should win – Zonic – In a year where this is a tough call, I think Zonic deserves the nod. One of the trickiest parts about coaching a great team is not allowing them to get full of themselves. Astralis looks prepared every time they compete. They have a plan, and they execute that plan. That’s on the coaching.

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