Sunday, 24 of September of 2017

Coach Review – Quilliam NA Protoss

I interview and review a Masters Protoss coach on the NA ladders - Quilliam.

I first found Quilliam on Reddit offering his coaching to the community for a very reasonable price and this immediately grabbed my attention. In his post Quilliam noted that:

“You don’t necessarily need a pro-level coach to improve your game dramatically, especially for the hourly $ value.” – Quilliam.

Prior to reading this I had been thinking about the idea of beginner-oriented coaching at beginner-accesible prices. So finding this post was very good timing and I promptly contacted Quilliam about his services. 

I decided to ask him a few questions about his coaching:

“How would you describe your coaching style? And, how would you describe your play-style?

First and foremost, as a coach I always try to focus on the underlying reasons behind both our larger strategic goals as well the finer points of play such as building placement, production order, etc. I feel that players are given an opportunity to improve most when they understand why the game plays out like it does. I’ve watched many coaching sessions on the pros’ streams, and have always been baffled at the prevalence of “build this. now build that. no, move that here. now build this.” style coaching. In my experience, this affords no time for the student to actually absorb this information, let alone begin to think about WHY it’s being recommended.

As far as my play style is concerned, I’m definitely a macro-oriented player. I believe I have strong micro, though, so I get my “kicks” by mixing in the occasional risky pressure build! Most of the time, however, I’m obsessively searching for the safest, most optimal play at any given stage of the game.

“I first found you on Reddit offering very reasonably priced coaching for people below Masters level and this piqued my interest. Tell me why you decided to do this?”

I consider there to be a saturation of professional and semi-professional coaches with high visibility, either through reputation, tournament results, or streaming followers. I’m not one of these people. While I remain very passionate about Starcraft, it’s still just a hobby for me. That being said, it’s a hobby that I pour a lot of time and effort into, and I wanted to find a way to pass that on! Am I Grandmasters? No. Am I about to tear up the open bracket of MLG? Not any time soon, but unless you’re in Masters or above, you don’t necessarily need a pro-level coach to improve your game dramatically (especially considering their hourly rates). I’m a patient and thoughtful coach who takes a structured, digestible approach to improving your game, and I get a lot of personal satisfaction from seeing my students improve!

“How do you think coaching can help newer players?”

I’ve often seen this very question posted on several forums. Generally speaking, I believe that anyone with enough motivation and time on their hands (emphasis on time) can become an incredible Starcraft player by poring through strategy forums like TeamLiquid.net, watching resources like the Day[9] daily, and playing a ton of games. Hiring a coach to give you personalized and specific guidance, however, greatly speeds up this process, and, as long as your coach is worth their salt, will result in a much more efficient learning process.

“It takes a fair bit of love for the game to get where you are and to want to teach others, what makes you love StarCraft 2?” 

The best way that I’ve heard Starcraft 2 described goes something like the following: at its best, Starcraft requires the mental strategy of a grandmaster chess player coupled with the dexterity of a concert pianist. I find that Starcraft 2 imbues an obsessive desire to become a better, smarter player into even the most casual of gamers, and it’s precisely that quality which excites me so much about the game. I love the coaching process, and I get immense satisfaction from using my experience to help newer players who feel overwhelmed by the game.

 

Review

After hearing Quilliam’s responses to my questions I was excited to give him a try! I decided I wanted to my worst matchup at the moment – Protoss vs Terran, specifically, dealing with the ‘1/1/1’ timing attack that is so popular on the ladders right now. 

The Session

Quilliam began the session by asking me how I usually begin a PvT. He then had me play a game against to see where I was at mechanically and so that we had a replay to work off. While we watched the replay he asked me a few questions about the matchup. Through this we discovered that my weakness in the matchup is derived from not knowing how to scout the Terran and how to react to what I see. This part of the coaching took no longer than 10 minutes.

Quilliam then jumped into a game versus the AI to show me a solid opening and a few ways of scouting the Terran. At key moments he would pause the game to discuss what could be happening at that moment and how I could react. This was very helpful as it gave me time to think about each situation and to ask questions.

Next Quilliam had me attempt to execute the opening and to simulate a few of the scouting techniques that he showed me. After this I had a few questions which he was able to answer easily.

We quickly jumped into another game to see how well I could identify and react to his 1/1/1 timing attack. Using the techniques he showed me I was able to easily identify the 1/1/1 and reacted well only losing to a very deadly supply block which we identified afterwards.

The hour-long session was very smooth from start to finish and no time was wasted organizing anything.

Coaching Style

Quilliam takes the traditional ‘watch me then emulate’ coaching style and adds in a few very nice touches. Pausing during his demonstration to explain and allow me to ask questions was very helpful. We also spent a good amount of time discussing the ‘why’ behind the opening and scouting techniques. As an analytical player I really appreciated this. As he stated in his interview Quilliam did not simply “bark orders” at me.

Right from the very beginning it was easy to easy to tell that Quilliam has had a lot of experience coaching. He was very well organised and knew exactly how to tackle the problem I was having. It is also worth noting that he was very friendly and good humoured. 

Overall Value

Quilliam does not have the knowledge and experience of a high-level professional StarCraft player but I never felt that this impacted his ability to help me with my specific problem. His experience in coaching and professional style made me forget the notion that he might be lacking in knowledge very quickly.

Unfortunately Quilliam does not offer a video recording of the session like some players do due to hardware constraints but said that he would like to in the future.

At such a reasonable price the value of the hour of coaching that I got from Quilliam was easily comparable to an hour that could be had with a much higher level coach. What I learned in this session has easily saved me 10 hours of practice and study. 

 

Contact Quilliam

For prices, availability and student testimonials you can check Quilliam’s coaching page at SCVRush.com

 

If you’re a coach and are interested in being reviewed on LearningSC2.com please contact me!

 


About the author:

G'day, i'm ZiggyD, founder of learningsc2.com. When I started LSC2 I was in Bronze so I know what it's like to be a beginner. With this experience I hope to make learning Starcraft 2 easier for new players and to assist the growth of eSports. I'm also a fulltime YouTuber as well! For updates of what i'm working on you can follow me on Twitter at @ZiggyDStarcraft



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