Thomas “SHAS” Lee, a legend of this game called Rainbow Six Siege. The 30-year-old coach can claim multiple trophies to his name. But now following G2’s decision to not renew his contract he’s a free agent. As coach first for PENTA and then later for G2, SHAS collected the following trophies:
- Pro League Year 2 Season 1 – Finals
- Pro League Year 2 Season 2 – Finals
- Six Major Paris 2018
- Pro League Season 8 – Finals
- Six Invitational 2019
- European League 2020 – Finals
We spoke with SHAS about his success, the R6 scene, leaving G2 and more.
SHAS is clear on the question about the secret for the victorious era in PENTA and G2.
“I think the biggest fact to keep us on the top was being humble, because if you remain humble, you don’t let your ego win over your intellect.” He said. “You will only have a foundation to keep succeeding if you're willing to keep working hard and remain humble throughout the stages.”
According to Shas:“This is where I think Brazil got the best, they work the hardest in my opinion.”
He also offered some elaboration on his opinion.
“Brazilians are among the top teams because they embody this. They keep working hard; in recent times I learnt the most from scrimming when we had the opportunity; since they innovate the most out of any region and study the game with as much passion as they have playing it. That’s why I think Brazil has advanced so far in the past year and a half; I think its times for other regions to buckle up and contest them long-term”
“This is where I think Brazil got the best, they work the hardest in my opinion.”
As G2 wasn’t capable of keeping up the same level as before, the team began the process of replacing players who had been part of their successful period. The question is: were the best decisions made in those replacements?
“My opinion is that in Rainbow Six Siege it’s pretty difficult to scout for talent compared to other esports like CS:GO or League of Legends; In those games it appears way easier to scout talent. I think given the resources that we had we made pretty good picks, potentially not the best ones given that I can retrospectively look at the results but given the constraints during a lot of the transfer periods I think we made the best decisions we could have.” SHAS explained.
“I don’t think we made super obvious mistakes given the information that we had.” He continued. “Take the most recent iteration of the roster, where we changed 3 players and moved Virtue to another role. I still see that roster change as an overall success despite Prano leaving because the remaining 4 have cemented together as a good team inside and outside of the server. Unfortunately due to how things are run you’ll have a little over a week to trial and it's simply not enough to fully understand the player & person and how they will fit; so to a degree it's part gamble.” SHAS said.
“A big section of the public will retrospectively scorn us for picking up Prano given how it turned out; I don’t regret the decision. At the time Prano displayed great charisma and will to lead our team; it's just unfortunate how unforeseen conflicts and personal events soured his drive to lead.”
“It was really upsetting because I felt like we had climbed mountains together winning these tournaments. Often back then I was also delivering the news personally to each player as I was also managing at the time; it was never fun although I think change was required as some complacency had set in.”
“I think the most upsetting one was Nic (Pengu) because I felt that I was very close to him, he lived with me in UK for a year.”
SHAS also took some time to speak about G2’s moment in the spotlight, and what went wrong after.
“I think it all comes down to two things: humbleness and being a hard worker. The team needs to embody that ideal; enjoy the victory but not rest on your laurels afterwards. Whenever we would win I would celebrate with the boys but remind them a week after that we were only the better team on that particular day and if we were to succeed again the work must start anew.” SHAS explained.
“It's not good enough to copy other regions or strats; you have to inhabit the META and then work out its counter and keep working in that cyclical manner to stay on top.” He said. “That’s in my opinion what went wrong, we end up having a number of people a little bit too comfortable winning, the ego and the validation that gives.”Said SHAS. “I think this is almost the point that people sometimes thought they deserved to win because of who they were instead of because they were the team working the hardest”
“That’s in my opinion what went wrong, we end up having a number of people a little bit too comfortable winning, the ego and the validation that gives.”
“I think other people surpassed us in the meta, simply because our foot came off the pedal. I feel like overtime we lost the direction and the sharpness on the server that the team was renowned for. Lack of results leading to a lack of validation and confidence in the process lead to the team becoming scrappy and inconsistent.”
Speaking on G2’s 2022 roster, SHAS reflected on the team’s results and capabilities during their run.
“My expectation for that roster was to start putting trophies and serious tournament runs under the bell.” He said. “We were capable at the time but, well, I think the first tournament we qualified was very rushed, we were still learning how we wanted to play as a team so maybe I can forgive that one although I still think we were capable of it at the time.”
But things began to change for the team, including the roster.
“However, at the second (Six Major Berlin) even despite the fact Prano and I were leaving after the event I think we could have won the entire event.” Said SHAS.
If we had passed through Rogue in the semi-finals I believe we would’ve faced FaZe in the final and we already showed we could beat them. However in my opinion it was just the humility post stage 1 that needed to be improved and the egos needed to be ejected to create a better foundation during these 3 months.” Said SHAS, explaining his eventual departure from G2’s lineup. “In the end, the manager decided they didn’t want to keep me on, they didn’t want to renew my contract which was kind of mutual because I was getting fed up with the lack of professionality from the players.”
“All they need to keep winning and consistently reaching top eight at every event is to take personal responsibility for their roles, not only on the server but socially as well. For example Jake is a very mature guy and if he’s taking responsibility ensuring the team remains on target and emotionally in check they will do well.”
SHAS also spoke about his time working Brazilian player Alem4o.
“Actually, working with Karl (Alem4o) was a lot of fun, it’s been a long time since the Pengu days where I could sit down with a player, and I would learn from a player, and he would learn from me.” He said. “We both learnt from each other, it was a lot of fun because we’re both passionate about the game. The only awkward thing about working with Karl, he likes to joke, and he was so joyful and always joking and sometimes you get unsure if he’s joking or speaking seriously. Otherwise, I love Karl and really enjoyed working with him.”
Reflecting further on the current scene, SHAS gave us his opinions about CTZN and his in-game leadership.
“I think Ben (CTZN) can be very capable of leading, he’s very talkative. I think you’ll see way more decisiveness, way more taking action and less stagnation within a round.” Said SHAS. “The IGL doesn’t have to have the perfect plan; and given how flexible and intuitive Ben is I think he’ll only improve with time.” He explained.
But SHAS feels confident there are big things ahead for CTZN.
“His only weakness that I saw was his over abundance of passion and some hesitation being faced with completely new situations on the server; of which experience will only foster his ability.” Said SHAS. “As I said you don’t have to have the perfect plan in all situations but simply have the trust and confidence of your teammates to pull off a hair brained scheme; and trust me Ben has an endless well of them!”
“The only concern, of which I spoke with him about, is just making sure he doesn’t end up frustrated with the players because he’s very vocal and a very passionate person.” He explained. “It’s just to make sure he leads with dignity and doesn’t drop that during the hard times. Otherwise, I think we’ll be a good IGL with the support of a second IGL.”
“In the end, the manager decided they didn’t want to keep me on, they didn’t want to renew my contract which was kind of mutual because I was getting fed up with the lack of professionality from the players.”
There were a lot of factors involved in the drop in G2’s performance and the eventual departure of SHAS from the coaching role. He reflected on the difficulties the pandemic caused to the scene and the impact this had on motivation and performance.
“Unfortunately, I’m leaving G2 without accomplishing as much as I think we could have, which is a bit sad.” SHAS said. “When COVID struck, there were no tournaments, we had also uprooted everybody to Berlin. For me it was a call from my boss saying like I had twelve hours to be in Berlin.” He explained.
“Because of that disruption and that there were no LANs; I do feel it hurt the team and the interactions of the team. I think that is part of the reason there was a period of underperformance.” SHAS explained. “I do feel that we should [have] performed better with Jonka, Hungry and Kayak in the team, just in general we could have better performances; myself included.” He said. “The way I see it is I should lead in the front, embodying work and humility if I expect the team to also do so.” SHAS said. “I feel like this disruption the team had with IGL’s and lack of motivation between Charlotte and Stage 2 really disrupted our ability to set in place good infrastructure for success for the following 3 months.”
Still despite the disruption, there were small victories to bolster the team’s spirit.
“But given the news that I would be leaving I was extremely happy, despite my own situation, that the team pulled together and returned to humble, hard working ethics and started finding success again. I’m a little sad that we couldn’t go all the way in Berlin but given the situation I'm happy that the boys got us to the event.” He explained.
We asked SHAS if there were any hard feelings after his departure?
“I felt a bit upset in the sense that there was a lot of dedication that I put into the job.” He said. “If there’s work to do, I’d wake up, start working like watching vods, revamp the strategies, rewatch the scrims. If there was anything to be done in preparation for a tournament you bet I'd be burning the midnight oil to prepare us for the challenge.” Said SHAS.
“It was a bit frustrating in that sense I felt I was always hampered in the past by the lack of support but we did finally get a full time manager and a performance coach, working on the psychology aspect of the game. I’m happy now that the team has that support. ” He said, before elaborating a little further on the reasons behind his departure.
“As far as I was told, the only reason why the management didn’t want to renew my contract was on the basis that players didn’t respect my authority. The gambit of removing me was effective, and I’m happy that the team is back on track, but in my opinion that's something that can be resolved without me having to fall on the metaphorical sword.” He admitted. “Unfortunately, they’ll be lacking a hard worker and now if we ever face each other on the other side of the server; I have a metaphorical axe to grind.”
“Pengu!” Said SHAS. “He always worked hard off and on the server. I had a long run with him, I respect his drive. Although there were a lot of bumpy parts along the road, I always enjoyed it with Nic because I got to see him grow up alongside me.”
With his time with G2 now behind him. We asked SHAS to talk to us about what’s next for him
“I just need to reset, I’m a complete workaholic so it has been a shock not having anything to do.” He explained. “My next challenge is learning how to chill and be a normal person and not be obsessed with the work. Maybe in a month, if I feel fully refreshed I’ll be interested in coming back and I’ll see the landscape and then come back. I just need some time off.” He said.
In terms of future coaching positions:
“I’m open to joining a completely new team but I only want to join a team knowing my work will be effective.” He said. “If they are fresh and humble I’m interested in and maybe there’s a team in Stage 3 that doesn’t qualify for the Six Invitational that I might be joining.”
And has he ever considered moving into any other games, like VALORANT perhaps?
“I’m seeing the options,” he said, “that’s one thing I want to do during the break, in two weeks or so, look at other games because I kept myself very closed and didn’t look at other games. But yes, I'm potentially interested in other esports…”
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