A homecoming for one of Oceania’s beloved sons will see former caster Zack “Rusty” Pye join the Avant Gaming team for 2019 as their Head Coach.
The signing of Rusty as their in-house head coach signifies an intent from Avant that the status quo that they had run with for so long may just be a thing of the past. A trip to the promotion tournament seems to have given them the shakeup they need to bring in the kind of big-name talent to make waves in the OPL.
Avant’s 2018 saw their string of first-round playoff exits broken by that disastrous 7th place finish in the second split of 2018. Having passed the stable and consistent voice in the team from Destiny to Triple to Jayke along the way, they now turn to Rusty to be the figurehead of their team from behind the bench.
Avant is an organisation that has visited the international stage prior to the first OPL split but not since, and they’ll be looking to count on the international experience they’ve added for 2019 with Rusty’s unique perspective from the LPL.
Avant were drawn to Rusty through a previous link with the organisation. Avant CEO Wesley “Wez” Collier commented that signing Rusty was an opportunity to “aim high and bring him back home” – a clear sign of ambition that will be well-received by the Avant faithful.
They’re looking to lean on his maturity and experience at the head of their team, Wez cited his “leadership skills, management skills, drive and passion…and his knowledge from the LPL” as key factors that will help Rusty succeed with the new-look Avant squad.
Rusty joins the Avant team coming from a stint on the English broadcast of the LPL, most recently having had the opportunity to move to China to do this coverage. The move back from China was “always about timing” Rusty told us. “I love and always will love the LPL – yet the OPL will always be home to me. Deciding between the two was impossible, so I had to look beyond that to what I gain as a person and the timing on this was correct.”
We are extremely excited to announce our Head Coach for League of Legends moving into next year. Please welcome @RustyLoL to Avant Gaming!— Avant Gaming (@AvantGaming) December 8, 2018
?? Read here: https://t.co/NHKB6UuQio#AVANTARMY | #OPLTrades | @OPL pic.twitter.com/xxAhmc8trm
Rusty started his involvement in the pro league scene as a player who had stints on smaller teams filled with Oceanic stars of yore such as Denian and tgun. He moved to casting at the beginning of 2016 and eventually moved full time to the LPL, following them over to China. His background as a pro player and then covering the Chinese scene provides him a unique perspective as to how to approach League and it’s one Rusty intends to lean on in his approach.
“I’ve very much been converted to a Chinese play-style and mentality as a player and commentator, so it’s something I aim to incorporate to some degree. I hope to become the Chinese aggression squad.”
The challenge for Rusty will be to rally the org forward to emerge from their trip to relegations, and it’s one he’s relishing. “Obviously I’d like to believe I am the person to do it (bring Avant back to the playoffs) alongside my playing squad, and I’ll do everything I can to find that success. It’s a new role for me, so I’ll be learning alongside my playing squad and hoping to forge a bond of trust and respect and with that I think we can do it for sure, it sure as s**t won’t be easy though.”
Avant have their strong leader in place, and now we eagerly await what team Rusty and the org has put in place to hopefully put their stressful end to 2018 behind them.
Keep an eye on the Snowball Esports’ Roster Tracker to be up-to-date on all the latest player movements!