Forge of Champions offered little in terms of surprises last this week. However given the results, round two will be an all-UKLC affair. While many are talking about Barrage’s potential and whether Excel UK can contend for the trophy, Phelan Gaming have announced one of the biggest moves this competition.
Former Excel head coach Furndog has taken the wolves’ reigns for Forge of Champions. The coach was most recently at Barrage in a managerial role. Nevertheless, the lure of joining this splits 3rd place side was too much as he joins the organisation on a short term basis.
He says: “It is important for me to stay coaching, one to stay in touch with current league of legends and also just because I love coaching. Working with hungry players who are eager to learn is my passion and I saw that with Phelan,”
“My side is really strong, they have a good bond that showed in the way they came back from their summer split UKLC defeats to have a great gauntlet run. We have a mixture of rookie and experienced talent and I’m confident we can give any team in FoC a good game. If we are able to rekindle the fire that the team had in the gauntlet and build on that the skies the limit for this team.”
Whilst Furndog is confident in his team’s ability, he knows that his side have a tough task ahead of them if they wish to be crowned Forge of Champions… champions.
“I’m one for being realistic, it still has to be Fnatic, the key for success for excels academy hasn’t been found yet although I do think they have a higher ceiling than Fnatic I think from when we last saw the two teams Fnatic will still be the strongest. I want us to be in a position to give these teams a game though and be really entertaining while doing so.“
The Phelan head coach has been one of the standout ambassadors for the UK Scene in recent years. He helped develop Excel in the UK Circuit and could be considered a factor for their spot in the LEC Franchise system, even coaching them in their first-ever LEC split. Still, it goes beyond that. Since leaving Excel he has been guiding other UK organisations in an attempt to push the scene even more.
Furndog see’s the potential in the UK scene and states that it’s his passion for the scene and coaching in general that keeps him going.
“I think overall yes (the UK scene is improving), and I think the academy teams being in the scene bring both pros and cons. They obviously bring a lot more spotlight to the scene but also create environments in which none of the other teams should be able to realistically match. Most of the other teams aren’t even full time let alone have the kind of infrastructure provided but the academies,”
“I’ve committed most of my league coaching career to the UK scene and it’s my passion. I just aim to pass on my experience to those who want to learn and develop. I care a lot about the scene and just want it to develop into a more professional and competitive environment in which all the talent we produce can flourish.”
It’s fair to say that Phelan’s acquisition of Furndog is a smart move for the organisation. Despite the deal being short term, a lot of people involved with Phelan will surely reap the benefits.
With the ex-G2 Vodaphone coach being involved with the Wolves, can they be considered the underdogs for the competition?
We will find out how they fair next week against Nvison Esports.
By Tom Daniels