In its infancy, the League esports scene was very different from how it is today. Back then, teams could be formed at any time by a group of five players with a desire to compete. There was no franchising, but instead a circuit of tournaments hosted by a variety of organizers. Even the idea of coaches was niche and beyond that pros had little to rely on in terms of solid infrastructure.
There are a few fans that miss the “Wild West” feeling of seasons 1 and 2. However, most would agree that the development of a proper, standardized competitive scene was a good thing.
Nowadays, the value of a team depends on how many resources it can provide to its players. It is expected from any serious organization to possess a team house and a full staff of coaches. Fans have even begun to give some recognition to these supporting members of the scene: the head-coach is now considered just as important as any of the players of the main lineup.
Among the many new groups that have joined this modern League culture, Analysts are definitely an interesting case. Though often overlooked, they contribute to virtually every aspect of a roster’s performance. Despite this, even avid fans frequently don’t know the names or faces of their own Team’s analysts.
In an attempt to change this, I have reached out to Jose Maria “F1RE” Iznardo, the recently hired analysts for Misfits Gaming. I asked him a couple of questions regarding his life and work and this is what he had to say.
(Keep in mind the answers are paraphrased from Spanish):
Tell me a bit about your journey to get to the position you are in right now. People often think it’s hard to break into the industry as an analyst, is this true?
“My tenure in esports has been very quick. I got in through a vacancy in a team of the Spanish Liga as I was finishing up with school. By working with several people I got better until last year, when I managed to get in Schalke through another public vacancy. At the end of the (2019) season I sent various messages offering my services to other LEC teams and I ended up preferring Misfits because I really liked the staff as well as the projects that they had planned; apart from being able to work with Spaniards again. I don’t think it’s complicated to break into the industry as an analyst, it’s possibly of the easiest positions to get started in, but being a good analyst is complicated and you need to adapt well to all the people you are working with.”
As far as you can tell us, how do you think you contribute to Misfits as a team?
“My work is varied depending on the necessities of the rest of the staff and the players. My general tasks are making complete scoutings of the teams we go up against every week and managing the data of the scrims and soloq of our team. Apart from this, many times I have other specific tasks such as analysis of the meta, checking out other competitions, etc”
Here, F1RE confirms that he must indeed get involved with virtually every aspect of a team’s roster. His job is quite important as it offers the basis upon which the group can work to grow and develop. From the aspects that a player has to improve on, to the strategies to employ against a specific opponent, to the picks that best fit a specific meta, analysts give shape to the efforts of an organization. If the coaches are the brains and the players are the arms and legs, analysts are the blood that keeps everything flowing.
What is the one thing you love the most about your job?
“The best thing about my job is living off of what I love most, data analysis, applying it to a videogame to which I have dedicated a lot of time”
The role of an analyst is far from one that exists exclusively in League. They are in high demand in a variety of fields and activities, especially within the world of sports. Much like F1RE, it is safe to assume that many of the analysts that have chosen to work in League have done so out of love and passion for the game. Just like the fans, they are people that feel a strong connection to the scene and gaming as a whole. For that, they deserve recognition.
What is the one thing you would like people to know about you?
“A lot of people don’t know that, though I love LoL, I would like to work in data anysis for football in the future. But for now I want to finish up my studies and enjoy LoL for a couple more years”
It seems that F1RE is a man of many passions.
All jokes aside, going by the word of coach Jandro, as well as many of the players, F1RE is doing a great job within the team so far, and it is likely he will for the next couple of years.
I would like to once again thank F1RE for taking time out of his (as established in this piece) busy schedule to answer all of my questions in such detail.
I look forward to appreciating the results of his work on the rift!
Featured photo from @FIREGG
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