YoungBuck left Fnatic, joined Excel Esports for surprising reason

By Olivia Richman


Nov 17, 2019

Reading time: 2 min

Newly christened Excel Esports coach Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool has a lot to say about his now-former League of Legends team, Fnatic. 

When YoungBuck first announced his decision to join Excel Esports, it seemed to be a choice he made based on his desire to have more positive experiences. That’s all true, but judging from an interview he did with Red Bull there is a bit more to his decision than that. 

“In the end, it was just a decision based on a project that seemed really promising and also I liked the challenge of bringing a team from tenth place to playoffs. I know I will find a lot of fulfilment in that job because I feel like the players are going to be hungry and teachable and there is a really high ceiling that can be reached with the team,” YoungBuck explained. 

But apparently it was more than just Excel’s potential that led YoungBuck to this change in the LEC offseason. The desire to work with players that were “hungry” and “teachable” stemmed from negative experiences he’d had at Fnatic. For the 28-year-old coach, it wasn’t really about winning, but having a winning attitude. 

Drama within Fnatic’s LoL roster?

YoungBuck admitted that he hadn’t felt fulfilled at Fnatic once the players began expressing clashing philosophies on practice. Some wanted to put more effort into solo queue, while others wanted to focus more on practicing as a team. 

“It also caused a lot of issues. There were issues of players not wanting to play with each other. They’re going to make changes that are necessary to build a healthy team atmosphere, at least one that I align with, so that’s why I decided to move on,” YoungBuck revealed. 

In another interview with EsportManiacos, the coach explained that a “small group” of players “didn’t really care” about team practice at all. According to YoungBuck, they’d put almost no effort into it, refusing to talk or give feedback. 

Although Fnatic may be a better team standings-wise, YoungBuck explained that his goal was to find a team with a better “atmosphere,” instead of focusing solely on winning. He is hoping that, with his guidance, Excel’s young roster will be able to grow. With Excel being the worst team in the LEC at the moment, there’s nowhere to go but up. 

Joining Excel will also reunite YoungBuck with former G2 Esports top laner Ki “Expect” Daehan. YoungBuck explained that he had a “really good connection” with Expect, which aided in his decision to take on the challenge. 

“Winning feels really good, which made the decision really difficult,” YoungBuck explained to Red Bull. “We’re competitors and we’re usually extremely competitively driven. It would have made it easier if we bombed out of Groups and didn’t make it to the quarter-finals at Worlds, but in the end I know what Fnatic are going to do and I’m not fully aligned with it. But I do still think they’ll probably make it to Worlds next year. It’s just that I will find happiness elsewhere.”