There are few names in eSports that elicit an emotional response like that of Brandon “Saintvicious” Dimarco. Team Liquid announced last week that Saintvicious will be returning to the organization as their Strategic Coach, bringing an experienced leader and one of eSports most accomplished North American players to a team with their sights set on the World Championships.
He’s brash, with an unapologetic personality that draws a definitive line and forces you to pick a side. One of league’s most outspoken personalities, Saintvicious became well known for his on-stream lessons (or tirades) and his in-game leadership. Shot-calling his way to an All-Star spot as a Jungler, as a player Saintvicious earned himself a spot at the table of the best Junglers North America has ever had.
To those who remember the early day of the League Championship Series (LCS), Saintvicious is synonymous with Curse Gaming. The star player on a team that was loaded with talent and brimming with swagger, Saintvicious led all Junglers in kills in a Spring Split that saw Curse finish 2nd in the standings. Yet after such a promising start, dreams of a spot at the World Championships were shattered when Curse finished the season in a heart-breaking spiral.
After moving to a head coach position for Curse, Saintvicious would go on to lead multiple challenger teams to the LCS, utilizing his understanding of the game and his natural leadership ability to foster new talent. He would eventually go on to lead Curse’s Challenger team, Curse Academy, to their own place in the LCS.
Curse would come painfully close to finally achieving their goal of reaching the World Championships in Season 4. Playing against LMQ for the final spot at Worlds, Curse would win the first two games and hold a lead in the third, only to lose their grip on the third game and be swept in the final three. The Curse of 4th was born.
Curse later rebranded to Team Liquid, finding even greater success with a rebuilt line-up that would reignite the passion and excitement of their fan base. Placing first to end the 2015 Summer Split, Team Liquid looked like the top team in NA heading in to playoffs, but would fail to qualify for Worlds on points after a 3rd place playoff finish. They would be denied again in the gauntlet tournament after a remarkable run by Cloud9 which left Team Liquid heartbroken… and in 4th place once again.
As Curse and Team Liquid continue to be denied their place at Worlds, Saintvicious was continuing to develop himself as a leader and coach. Working with three teams who would advance to the LCS, he garnered a reputation for fostering new talent and producing results from his players. When Apex Gaming (with Saintvicious as their head coach) was acquired by an investment group and rebranded to Team Dignitas, the time was right for Saintvicious to return home.
Last week, Saintvicious was announced as the Strategic Coach for Team Liquid in an rebuild that has overhauled both the players and support staff for the organization. Working alongside Head Coach David “Dlim” Lim, Saintvicious will look to break the 4th place Curse and finally deliver Team Liquid to a spot at Worlds.
“I’m really happy to be working with Steve again. Team Liquid is definitely a lot more structured and I feel that environment not only helps the players, but it also helps myself. ”
Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco
One of the major struggles for Team Liquid last season was their coaching structure and instability it fostered among the players. As highlighted by the documentary “Breaking Point”, internal conflicts were exacerbated by a poorly run coaching staff and an inadequate support system. Saintvicious is the perfect fit for Team Liquid to help stabilize the roster, provide strategic insight, and to help the players grow and fulfil their potential.
Working with star players such as Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin and Chae “Piglet’ Gwae-jin, Saintvicious will look to be the missing piece that brings Team Liquid to that coveted spot at Worlds. By returning home to Team Liquid, Saintvicious has his best chance to cement his legacy in eSports. The man who was the face of Curse, can be the one to break it.