We’re midway through the League of Legends LEC Spring 2021 Season and UK-based organisation Excel Esports sit in 4th place with 5 wins and 4 losses, tied with Mad Lions and Schalke.
They come off the back of a 4-win streak this evening, having lost to UK rivals Fnatic in a two-game spectacle after the first was remade following a bug.
Is this the Excel roster with the most togetherness we’ve seen so far? Can they make playoffs this season? And how are the new players settling in? We ask Excel Esports head of performance Fabian ‘Fabro’ Broich in this interview.
How would you reflect on the game tonight? A remake, a long night, but you were even with Fnatic in game one and showed fight.
I think it was a very long day, and obviously it’s disappointing to end the week with a loss, but I think we had a really strong showing today, especially in the first game.
We fought toe-to-toe with Fnatic. We had a really strong early game, with the objectives, we were really proactive and had a confident playstyle.
We were previously 1-3 (wins to losses), then got to 5-3 before today’s match and are 5-4 now in the first half of the split. I think that’s promising for the weeks to come.
You’re halfway through the season, with 5 wins and 4 losses now. How do you feel going into the second half of the spring 2021 LEC?
We put a lot of work in outside of the game, and I expect we’ll do better in the second half of the split than the first. So that would mean we would end up with 6 wins in the second half, and I would be really happy with that.
I think with the two additional players and a new assistant coach, we have a really better foundation, a better personality fit, we are working really hard. We have discipline, a really high team spirit – it’s amazing to see the hard work is paying off.
We are where we want to be right now, but want to work on our individual and team goals. That will give us the edge and the wins we want to have.
So yes, the environment is great, but this doesn’t matter because we’re in competitive sport, so you’re measured by your results. This is the best start we’ve had so far, three splits in a row. So the guys should take the day off on Sunday, then we start again with team setup again on Monday.
Would you say the team spirit is the highest you’ve seen at Excel?
For sure, definitely. It feels a lot easier now, we have a good setup outside of the game, and three of the players know each other, and the two new guys knew what they were stepping into.
The team spirit is really high, and the first win vs Schalke… they had ocean soul. We are a team winning against teams with dragon souls. Maybe our early games haven’t been that strong yet, but we’re always coming back into it and winning. The character, sportsmanship and camaraderie we’re building here, we focus on the positives and this is our approach.
Yesterday after our win I was happy, I was looking for one of our players and couldn’t find him because he was already in the gym and focusing on getting better. After the win on Friday, the players were already talking about the next game and what they were going to do. That’s a mindset of always seeing what’s next and willing to get better, so that’s a really good environment we’re creating.
How are the new players settling in, in particular UK jungler Dan?
I think Dan Hockley has a burning desire and is showing how good he is. He’s been in the scene a while now but didn’t have the chance to play in the LEC.
He had not the most optimal schedule so worked really hard on that, he’s demanding on the coaches and wants to know where he can improve. He’s the shot caller and the personality we missed. We’re nice guys but you have to have a leader. He gives direction and this is making a big impact.
Also, it’s great he’s won a lot at the UK level with Fnatic Rising.
Then Czekolad won everything he could win in the Polish League and EU Masters. They came into the team with huge confidence. Obviously there’s things to learn but so do the other players. Czekolad has a bit more of a crazy (positive crazy!) personality and Dan is a bit more strict, and it’s good they’re matching and balancing each other out.
Can Excel reach playoffs this season after missing out last season to Schalke and their miracle run?
There’s storylines saying Excel is the only team that hasn’t made playoffs yet. For me I do not really care about those things, of course it’s important and people have to write headlines, but in the end I don’t want to focus on playoffs. I’m in the league to win it, not just to participate.
It’s not a goal to be just top 6, because if you finish 6th place you are worse than the average. I would not be satisfied with that. I was an athlete and want to win leagues, I was never thinking about top 6. Obviously it’s important to be in the top 6 and reach playoffs, but we want to win every single game.
I don’t think we should anchor ourselves on being top 6, because if you’re psychologically focused on reaching top 6, it’s hard to finish second or first. I want to focus on the games, not this number.
I think we have a mature mindset around this and focus game-by-game.
Thank you Fabian. We’ll run through how the match went now for readers who may have missed it or want a recap:
Battle of the Brits: How the match went and why the remake
By Dominic Sacco
In the earlier match, Patrick got first blood for Excel and, while Fnatic had the majority of the kills, Excel kept the gold split relatively even.
However, a bug in the late game was caused when Upset pulled off an ultimate as Samira with the Guardian’s Angel item.
Excel were offered a ‘Chronobreak’ by Riot – and accepted. A Chronobreak is where the game automatically restarts at a certain point in a match – usually just before the bug occured.
However, there was a problem issuing the Chronobreak and so a remake was offered instead. Excel accepted, but the rematch took place after G2 vs Rogue, meaning the remake didn’t get underway until gone 10pm GMT.
At the point of the bug, Fnatic were 21 kills up to Excel’s 8, with 68k gold to Excel’s 64k, plus they had dragon soul, baron and 9 towers to Excel’s 5.
Fnatic head coach YamatoCannon wasn’t happy with the handling of the situation.
In the remade game, both teams were even on gold at 20 minutes, but Fnatic had three drakes and 10 kills to Excel’s 8 kills.
Fnatic took the infernal dragon soul a few minutes later and claimed the baron shortly afterwards, with a few teamfights going their way. Once Fnatic took the elder drake and established a 7k gold lead at the half-hour mark, they were too much for Excel to handle and went on to win.
Excel sit with 5 wins and 4 losses going into the second half of the LEC Spring 2021 Season. And Excel co-founder Kieran Holmes-Darby is optimistic, despite this evening’s defeat:
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.