A new year, a new season, and a new look for Excel Esports – it’s all change for the British organisation, as under the leadership of Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool, Patrik “Patrik” Jírů leaves his post at Origen to become Excel’s brand new AD Carry, pending Riot approval.
2020 looks like a fresh start for the organisation, and after a tough debut LEC season, Excel are looking to learn from their inaugural year and put in place a foundation that can challenge the top teams for Playoffs – and even Worlds.
That’s the plan for YoungBuck at least, but Patrik too feels confident that the new-look Excel can go the distance in the new year. With a fresh new team, we got the chance to ask Patrik a few questions about what he hopes to achieve, and if he’s looking forward to facing a freshly formed Origen line-up.
Excel is a new challenge for you; are you excited to join the organisation? What was it that drew you?
Patrik: I'm definitely excited because there are some people that I know are good, and I've worked with them too. So there's Fabian Broich [head of performance] who I've worked with before [at Origen] and I know he's really knowledgeable, and then there's [Marc "Caedrel" Robert Lamont] as well who I've played before, and I think he's good. So there's there's quite a few people that I want to work with, and I'm excited to see how we get together.
YoungBuck has made a name for himself by helping to turn G2 and Fnatic into top tier teams; do you have faith that he can do the same for Excel?
I think it's hard to judge a coach's ability to do their job basically without actually working with them, because they don't know anything about them from outside perspective. But since he's won so many titles, I expect him to be really good and really smart about the game. So I hope I mostly hope he can just teach us how to play together, since we're going to be a new team, mostly.
“I'm excited to see how we get together.”
Do you think his goals of Playoffs next year, and Worlds within two are feasible?
I think it’s very possible actually. It's over that long period of time, I think we're going to be improving quite fast with our staff. So, yeah, I think it's definitely possible – and achievable.
What have you learned from your time at Origen that you want to take with you to Excel?
I think mostly in the next year I want to take from it that I need to solve issues that we have properly. It's important to point out the issues and the problems that players have with each other early so it doesn't build up and then there's just frustration going on. I think communication is key, but also think it's important to be in an environment where you're not scared to criticise orders, and we also need to be able to take the criticism as well; and work with it.
You’ve worked with him before; what do you think the new head of performance brings to the org?
I think what Fabian brings is very important because players, and not even coaches, don't usually have knowledge about things like healthy sleep schedules, healthy eating, healthy exercise and all that stuff. I think other teams should look into it, and maybe in the next few years, there will be many more coaches like that.
Who are you looking forward to playing against the most in the new season?
It’s Origen. Right now for me, they’re just like any other team. I’m going to do my best and try to win – I'm not really holding grudges against them or anything like that, but they’re definitely going to be a hard opponent to beat since their roster is pretty stacked I think. I'm actually pretty sure that other than G2, Origen's roster looks best right now.
What are your personal goals for next season, if any?
I'm not sure if I have any specific goals coming into the season. I'm just going to do me; I'm going to practice and try to be the best version I can be. I'm not looking into getting some awards or anything, I don’t see this as important. I think some players are heading into the season trying to be a top five maybe, but I think everyone wants to be top five. Everyone has that in their mind, everyone wants to be the best – so I don't think it counts as a goal actually, just something that everyone wants to be.