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Coach Spotlight: FNATIC's Finlay "Quaye" Stewart

Fnatic is one of the most storied teams in Europe, having won the World Championships in Season 1 and returned to the World Championship stage many other times. Fnatic has produced legendary players such as YellowStar, xPeke, and Rekkles, and has been a long standing fixture in the EU LCS. The 2017 Spring Split has proven rough for them, however, and they currently find themselves fighting for third place in Group A. Holding it all together behind the scenes is former manager and current coach Finlay "Quaye" Stewart, who we grabbed some time with to discuss his career and Fnatic’s journey through the 2017 season.

How do you feel about your series last week against Giants as a manager-turned-coach?

Watching that series was actually fine. In game one we were really confident with what we were doing and it was how we’d been practicing, and we had a comfortable draft for everyone.  Then in game two, it was going really well and went how we’d practiced, everything was fine, but then the team decided they really wanted to lose that game. So in the end we lost it, but we were able to identify the reasons we lost that game and the issues in our mid and late game. Then game three, it was pretty much the same, Caps started solo killing people and Rekkles was hiding bushes and just killing people. Games one and three were really clean, and game two should have been as well, but unfortunately you can’t always get what you want.


How does it feel to be backstage and listen to the team when they’re on stage?

It’s frustrating. I know for all the other coaches it must be the same thing, when you see two inhibs down - mid and bot - and your team is camping in the brush, and you can see that there’s a certain play they should just do. It’s very frustrating, you can be there shouting at the screen “just do this, do this” or shouting “no you’re going to die!” and there’s nothing you can do about it.  It’s something you just have to handle, and I’ve been handling it for one and a half years now as manager, but as a coach it’s a bit more pressure.


What was it like being a manager for one and a half years?

Essentially, when I first started I was just assisting Deilor.  He was handling most of the organizational and team stuff, and I was there to assist with the jobs around the house, errands, making sure there was food in the house, that staff and things were sorted out, and to make sure the players had everything that they needed. I was there to make sure things ran smoothly.

How has your role changed from transitioning to being an interim coach?

Being a coach is difficult. There’s a lot more pressure, and obviously I had to take on more responsibility.  Basically, when I sit there watching the games in scrims and practice I’m thinking to myself “what would Deilor do now? What would he say?”, and it’s become a bit of a meme but I’ve been having some calls with him and other coaches, especially coaches from other regions. I’ve been trying to absorb as much knowledge as I possibly can on being a good coach, and I think my game knowledge is fine but it’s obviously not on the level of a player.  A lot of the time I’m making suggestions and trying to fix communication and habits, and get a good effort going. Other than that I can’t do much right now as a manager-turned-coach, but I’m trying my best.


How does your game knowledge compare to that of Deilor?

Compared to Deilor I think my game knowledge is maybe a little bit better than his, but he also had decent game knowledge.  But he was also very focused on communication, and making the team be greater than the sum of their parts.  So you’d put five players together and the sum equals six, right? I’m trying to emulate that, and focus less on the strategic stuff. I’m leaving that to the players, so when we look at a specific situation and ask “what could we have done here?” we write that down, and then when I see them in that situation we try to make sure they do what they said they were going to do, which sometimes they don’t.  To fix that, the answer is usually communication. It’s difficult, but we’re getting there.

Only two opponents remain for Fnatic in the 2017 Spring Split Regular Season, G2 on Thursday, March 30th at 20:00 CEST and Misfits on Sunday, April 2nd at 19:00 CEST. You can watch both games on watch.lolesports.com.