Before Aaron “Clairvoyance” Kim became the head coach of BOOM Esports last July, the team had never had a head coach. So what made the Indonesian team hire a coach who doesn’t live on the same continent as them, and can’t even speak the same language?
Clairvoyance has been in the professional Dota 2 scene for seven years, bouncing back and forth between player and coach positions since he first started his career as a coach with Cloud9 .
He’s now been brought on by BOOM to get them to the next level and maximize their chances of making it to the ONE Esports Singapore Major, which will be the first Major of the DPC 2021.
“With BOOM (after TI6 and TI7), they had their roster together for three to four years already,” Clairvoyance told ONE Esports. “They had decent success but not the highest of successes, and they were looking to take things to the next level.”
In 2018, Clairvoyance was coaching fellow-SEA team, Mineski, leading the team to tournament wins at Red Bull Guardians and the AMD Dota 2 Pro Series. According to Clairvoyance, BOOM took notice, saying, “they saw my splash effect in the SEA region, and that’s where it started.”
After failing to qualify for TI9, BOOM Esports finally decided to reach out to Clairvoyance, bringing him in first as an analyst, before officially promoting him to head coach in July last year.
Since becoming head coach, Clairvoyance believes his ‘splash effect’ on the team has already begun. “BOOM’s results have gone up and I was even able to take this roster to a first-place win in the ESL SEA Championship last year.”
Clairvoyance believes the most important thing he brings to the team is strategy.
“My role is very big on strategy,” said Clairvoyance, “I currently draft for BOOM, which means I’m responsible for the strategic aspect of any team I join.”
“Dota 2 is changing every single day, and being up to date with the latest information is what’s important and is what’s going to help make the best decisions moving forward,” he continued.
With Clairvoyance on board, BOOM were also finally able to break their 0-11 losing streak against regional rivals, Geek Fam, beating them 3-2 in the grand final of the ESL-SEA Championship.
Since then, BOOM has managed six runner-up finishes, although Clairvoyance notes, “we still have a long way to go.”
Under normal circumstances, Clairvoyance would be together with the team in Indonesia. But due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, he isn’t able to travel to the Southeast Asian region and is coaching the team all the way from Canada. This means there is a bit of a character and culture difference between him and the players, along with a language barrier.
In fact, Clairvoyance is one of the few head coaches who doesn’t even speak the same language as his players, who mostly communicate in Bahasa Indonesian.
However, he says communication hasn’t been an issue so far. “Even if I don’t understand Bahasa Indonesian, I can tell from their mannerisms what’s going on based on my experience with other SEA teams.”
One major hurdle Clairvoyance has encountered while coaching the team is the time difference. “I’m operating around 3:00 pm to 6:00 am when we play our DPC matches. It’s not easy. It takes a toll on your body. Thankfully through the course of the nine months before the new Regional League started, there’s been plenty of downtime,” Clairvoyance recounted.
For now, Clairvoyance says he’s been coping with the time difference and has been able to work around coaching a team located on a completely different continent.
“So far, I’ve been managing. I’d say I’m satisfied with my situation,” said Clairvoyance. “I do think my impact on the team can be much larger, but I feel happy and blessed that they are receptive to the words I speak to them. I’m in constant communication with the players every day, and always being open to that as well. I got a good group of guys to work with.”