EXCEL Reportedly Sign Denyk and Nukeduck for 2021 LEC Summer
Some teams make great use of the off-season period with thought-out and strategic signings (like Team Vitality); others, however, tend to improvise and hope for the best, as is the case with EXCEL Esports and the two players they’ve just signed: Erlend Våtevik “Nukeduck” Holm and Petr “denyk” Haramach.
If you just did a spit take, know that you’re not in the minority. First of all, it’s no secret that EXCEL Esports haven’t been doing all that well ever since franchising kicked in (the sole reason why they’ve even gotten into the LEC in the first place). In fact, they’re one of the few organizations that, in all fairness, present a fairly good case against franchising as we know it. That might be an overly harsh way of phrasing things, but it is by no means incorrect. They have done next to nothing to actually warrant anyone’s benefit of the doubt and have consistently failed to leave a mark no matter what kind of change they went for.
Stuck In Limbo
Characterizing their LEC tenure as a “failure” would be the most apt way of describing it. Still, there was some potential within their 2021 line-up, although most of it wasn’t harnessed all that well (if at all). Patrik “Patrik” Jírů, in particular, stood out in all the right ways but he could only do so much by himself without the right support from his teammates.
Now, though, at the halfway point of the split, EXCEL have decided to sign a seasoned veteran who is by all means past his prime (Nukeduck), and a fairly talented support who never really got the chance to show whether he’s worthy of playing on the LEC stage or not. Will these two players make a difference for EXCEL? Will they push this British organization underneath the spotlight and into the playoffs? Absolutely not. There’s just no other way to put it, really.
Then again, given EXCEL’s M.O. this is definitely in line with what most folks expect from them. They’re not the “bad guys” per se but the moves they’ve made thus far have, at best, been puzzling and questionable beyond measure. Moreover, one simply has to question the logic behind signing these two players specifically. Nukeduck, for one, has been pretty mediocre over the last couple of years, and even though he didn’t exactly have the most stellar supporting cast around him, his individual play still left a lot to be desired (we’re putting it euphemistically here). Denyk, on the other hand, was fairly solid overall during his stint with Misfits, but he was obviously a flawed player who still wasn’t “up to snuff” when compared to his more seasoned peers. He’s definitely worth another shot, but signing for EXCEL Esports at this point in time is basically akin to shooting yourself in the foot — it won’t result in anything good or worthy of mentioning.
According to Jacob Wolf, EXCEL Esports actually tried to make changes a lot sooner — as in mid-split. They had sent their support Tore “Tore” Hoel Eilertsen back home and planned on doing the same with Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik until they realized they couldn’t swap players from their Academy team because the LEC rules prohibited them from doing so (a fact they were entirely oblivious of). As a result, Tore had to fly back to Berlin, whereas Czekolad didn’t even board a plane because he didn’t take a COVID-19 test in time.
Writing a whole paragraph about how unprofessional EXCEL have been would be a waste of digital ink, so it’s best not to even bother. Moreover, their decision to let Czekolad go after just a single split is abhorrent in every way, shape, and form. Czekolad didn’t exactly impress, but he was never set up for success, nor was he given enough time (or guidance) to further grow and develop. And sure, there might have been some sort of clash behind the scenes, but even if that was the case, EXCEL pretty much handled it in the worst possible way.
As time goes on, it’s becoming more and more evident that the ERLs are nurturing homegrown talent most of which then commit “career suicide” by signing for EXCEL, Misfits, Vitality, or Astralis. None of these organizations have shown any proficiency whatsoever at developing young players and have done next to nothing to warrant our trust and respect going forward.
We’re glad that Nukeduck and Denyk have gotten a shot at redemption with Excel, but we’d lie if we said they’ve earned it. In fact, there are so many other players over in the ERLs who are much more deserving of playing on the LEC stage, but that’s a topic for another time and place. All in all, don’t expect much from EXCEL going forward — it’s “Groundhog Day” all over again.