Esports Heaven had a chance to sit down with Youngbuck, Excel's coach and former competitor, on coaching and his thoughts on other players.
It looks like a night and day difference for Excel! Do you think that this is primarily because of the swaps in positions? What is your perspective on why the team was able to turn it around so fast?I definitely chalk it up to the changes. We've been winning a lot more lanes in bot lane with the addition of Advienne. And I think the moment Markoon joined he was really heavy on snowballing through the lanes and being less focused on objectiv. And then was a more objective focused junglers—he was getting us Drakes and Herald's and setting up for it, and really controlling the game. Markoon wants to kill people and dive them. `And also then brought Nukeduck0 into that where Nukeduck was happy to play champions like Azir. But the moment Markoon joined, it was a LeBlanc time, and just winning and snowballing. So it's the two players just strengthened the early game—not just their ability to play the game—but also how they want the game to be played. And we were really happy to conform to them as they were the rookies, but also it just feels like it's the right way to play for us.A lot of people coming into this split were a bit critical of Excel not using the young talent the team had. What was your perspective on the starting lineup when the season started? What was the reasoning behind it and not opting for the younger guys?Well, we analyzed at the end of Spring Split on what the reasons were as to why we're losing scrims and stage games. And out of that came mostly that it was Support related and mid lane related. We did have a lot of scrims throughout the Spring Split with our Academy team. And it was one of two teams that we had a positive win rate against. So we felt no strong desire to change. Now, during the offseason, I lot did happen after we signed Dan and Nukeduck, because even though they try out against the Academy team, and we did fairly well, given the circumstances against the academy team, so we didn't really feel anything was off. But then when the offseason actually began, the scrims were still very poor, similar to Spring Split. And then we started to worry and do some internal scrims where we're actually mixing the teams. And in those scrims, Markoon and Advienne were also two of the stronger players, I would say. The overall level between the two rosters were and the 10 players were extremely close. So for the short term, we just wanted to bank on the experience because we don't expect someone like Markoon and Advienne to just come into the LCS (I think he meant LEC) after four days of practice, beat G2 and Vitality. That wasn't really a scenario in our wildest dreams. But it turns out that they are a different breed when it comes to just adapting to the situation and overcoming stage fright. And what about your perspective on Nukeduck? That was that was a move that a lot of people had many different questions about. But from your perspective, what do you think that Nukeduck brings to the table, as opposed to just bringing a high potential rookie into the team?When you have a problem, you try to sometimes over solve the problem. And that's what we did. And we ended up having a really good result in this scenario. We had some issues with game knowledge in mid lane with shotcalling, with discipline, and then we found in Nukeduck exactly those qualities. So if he had any qualities that we weren't really happy with, we were willing to brush them aside because he was actually there to fix a lot of the problems that we had. And that's why we ended up choosing him. And it just turned out that the small things or the small problems that were there in the try out actually were quite overblown or mainly because he was very rusty. So he was brought in to bring some discipline, game knowledge, more experience to the roster, and just ends up still being a mid laner on a definitely playoff level obviously.How has he adjusted with the younger guys, because a lot of people say that Advienne is someone that's very vocal and takes a leadership role on the team. Has Nukeduck had to take a backseat at all, or how does the team share the leadership responsibilities?I think he's actually been really happy with having more voices in the game. And I would say that Markoon is even more forceful in his communication at than Advienne is. He's, really taken a very active role. But I think that Nukeduck has been quite happy about it and feels happier sharing less responsibility or just being able to focus more on himself and not having to manage multiple players.Excel are a team that have definitely had some struggles over the last two years. In your time is the head coach there, have you had to reevaluate and change your coaching style at all, or is it a matter of finally having all the pieces you want to have a potentially very effective team? What is the difference between your coaching when you began with Excel, and now?I think in-game wise a lot of it is still the same. And I would start off with saying that the roster we have right now is probably the roster we want to have for the long term. We've now landed on a successful situation. And the last few years where I had a lot of learning lessons because I've only coached winning teams before—top two teams. And now you're in a position where you're fighting for playoffs sometimes, just fighting not to be the last place. And it's very different: players have different mindsets, different passions, desires, level of what they can help us out on stage compared to scrims. So I would say there are a lot of learning lessons there. Also offseason, if you're in Fnatic or G2, it was really easy to just walk up to any big upcoming player say "join us" and they would join. So that's been very challenging as well. So a lot of learning lessons that's working with more rookies with players that haven't won a lot yet. But overall coaching style has remained the same, it's just you apply to a little bit different people in a little different ways. So you're building way more confidence, you're more positive by the players, reinforcing good things. More so than just working on the negatives which usually in Fnatic and G2 the players were always like "Stop giving compliments. Tell us what we do wrong, we need to fix that right now."A lot of people are writing off G2, saying that they could potentially not make it to Worlds. With so many of the top teams being comprised of young talent, do you think where in sort of a transitional phase where the old talents are being phased out?I don't know if the teams as a whole will fade out or phase out, but I think some of the players will because they've just been at the top for so long and they've either achieved what they wanted to achieve or they haven't but feel like they can. I think that's what's mainly going on in G2. So I think you might see an offseason one or two changes bringing on some rookies as they can choose anyone they want from EU Masters basically. But because of that we are a bit in a transitional phase because some of these very...like through the players that have been on top the last two, three years they might drop in motivation because they've already achieved everything there is. And there are some very hungry upcoming rookies in Rogue, MAD Lions, Misfits, Excel right now that are just knocking on the doors ready to take their position.There was another young rookie that I would love your perspective on, based on the fact that you were a top laner and also have history with Fnatic. What is your impression of Adam as a player? Do you think that he’s the reason we’ve seen such a turn around for them?When scouting for Fnatic, I felt like the biggest threat came from the bot lane and their synergy with Bwipo. I think those were the main threats. I do think that Adam is a little bit difficult to prepare for because he has such a huge champion pool. And if he brings that out a little bit, he's very dangerous player as well. I think he's just he's so new. I wouldn't say that he's the main reason behind the success because I would be lying. But I think he is a player that is very up and coming and probably in the same role as the Kryze, Advienne Markoon kind of level players that will be top three to five in their positions very, very shortly.If you enjoyed this piece, follow the author on Twitter at @OddballCreator.
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