Yet, according to him, the transition has been nothing short of positive.
K1Ng’s entry into professional Valorant began with Vision Strikers, presently known as DRX, in 2020. Their influential presence and dominant performances in the Korean Valorant scene resulted in multiple victories in VCT 2021: Korean Challengers, as well as qualifying for tournaments like VCT 2021 Stage 3 Masters in Berlin and Valorant Champions 2021.
His journey since then saw him join several teams. He played for ESportsConnected in February 2022, and then for On Sla2ers in June of the same year. In October, he finally found a home with Gen.G, along with former ESportsConnected and On Sla2ers teammate, Yu “TS” Tae-seok, and Kim “Meteor” Tae-O from Northeption, a team that had represented Japan in the VCT 2022: Stage 2 Masters Copenhagen.
Throughout these transitions, he’s always been on all-Korean speaking team rosters. However, joining Gen.G introduced him to a new linguistic challenge: taking guidance from an English-speaking coach. In an exclusive interview ONE Esports, k1Ng shares his thoughts on his experience working with Elmapuddy.
K1Ng finds new confidence instilled by a coach who doesn’t even speak Korean
“When an English-speaking coach was first introduced, I felt skeptical. However, as time passed, I found myself placing a great deal of trust in him,” k1ng shared. “He is committed to our players and works hard for the team.”
Elmapuddy, prior to his current role, served as a Counter-Strike coach with the Australian esports organization, ORDER, and Gen.G, before ultimately transitioning to Cloud9.
With Gen.G’s Counter-Strike team, he led them win championships at DreamHack Open Anaheim 2020, and ESL One: Road to Rio North America. Additionally, the team secured a runner-up position at cs_summit 6 Online: North America, a tournament that boasted notable adversaries like Furia Esports and Team Liquid, a team with multiple prestigious CS:GO titles under their belt, including Pro League and BLAST Premier titles.
Clearly the coach was doing something right. When k1Ng first came under him, he noted a stark contrast between Elma’s coaching style and his experiences with previous coaches. While earlier coaches tended to micromanage every detail, Elma provided the players with more autonomy, emphasizing the larger strategic picture over minute aspects.
“When Elmapuddy considers players’ opinions, he encourages us to follow our instincts if we believe we’re right,” he explained.
This change in coaching style profoundly influenced k1Ng’s self-assurance as a player, granting him the liberty to make independent decisions and adapt during high-pressure moments.
“In the past, I lacked confidence in my decisions. I wouldn’t be sure if my actions were correct or incorrect since our coach hadn’t instructed me or we hadn’t discussed it. However, with Elmapuddy’s focus on the bigger picture and allowing us to handle the smaller details, I now feel more self-assured when I playing the game,” he said.