Welcome to the ninth LEC preview were we here at Gromp News analyse the backroom and roster changes leading up to the first ever LEC season. In this article, it’s all about exceL Esports, one of the new organisations accepted through the franchising process.
Out of all the teams to have been accepted for the LEC exceL Esports is possibly the least known, having spent all of their League of Legends career in the lower divisions. Most recently in the UK national circuit. Some people in the United Kingdom may know of exceL through other titles such as FIFA and their involvement in the GFinity Elite series. However, this is their first major involvement in what is seen as an Esports powerhouse.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at there backroom staff and how they plan to tackle life in Europe’s top flight.
A very British backroom staff
Considering exceL are selling themselves as the UK organisation, it’s not a surprise that almost all of the backroom members are from Britain. exceL’s staff is comprised of mostly previous employees who have worked with the organisation in the past. Furndog returns to exceL as their permanent head coach having spent December with Danish team Bucks Vipers. The coach was first involved with the team in June 2016. He has also been a head coach for G2’s sister team, G2 Vodafone, twice and Besiktas Esports. However, his home was always at exceL having managed their side three times. Both Furndog and Just Jon (exceL’s performance coach) have been involved with the organisation for so long that it would have been horrible to see them not be apart of their LEC set up. A nice reward for two guys who have put their heart and soul into the organisation.
However, while it’s a nice story to see these two make it to the LEC, they do lack some experience in the top flight of League of Legends. As a result, they may find it difficult adjusting to their new environment. Jarge ( their performance coach) will give their staff some experience as he has worked with the likes of TSM and Team Liquid. Unlimited, who is exceL’s academy coach, is also a brilliant acquisition having recently led Vitality’s academy team to an Open Tour France title in 2018. Unlimited will most likely have a significant role in the first team set-up due to the fact that the British org are utilising a ten man roster (we’ll get to that).
On the analytical side, Mapache and Angel Archer are again two great staff members snapped up from the national circuits. It will be interesting to see how these staff members can cope with the new demands of the LEC. It’s nice to see all these new staff members getting a chance to shine. However, it is certainly a risk as other more experienced employees were available.
As a final note exceL’s structure, for a relatively new organisation in League of Legends, already seems impressive. They have announced their training facility will be at Twickenham Stadium, which is an unbelievable achievement considering the sporting facilities they will have at their disposal. There is a concern that whole roster having is to stay in England instead of housing in Germany. This offers some difficulties, however their facilities available in England compared to Germany outweigh the amount of time it takes to travel. Now, let’s get on with this roster.
Did we mention they have a ten man roster?
Top: Expect / Send0o
Jungle: Caedrel / Taxer
Mid lane: Exile / Special
ADC: Jeskla / Innaxe
Support: KaSing / Mystiques
So, where to start. Firstly we here at Gromp News love the idea of a competitive ten man roster being implemented into League of Legends. It provides the viewers with different line-ups and tactical approaches for each week of the LEC. However, there are some names which will most likely be starting most, if not all, of the games as long as they perform.
Expect is one player we… believe to be in their starting line-up for the whole season. Many would consider the Korean’s arrival to exceL to be a fall from grace considering he was on G2 side winning summer and spring splits in 2017. However, since 2017 he has failed to join a EULCS team and his stock for some reason fell. Since being released by G2 he won the Spring European Masters for Origen in 2018, whilst also being a brief substitute for Fnatic at the end of last year. Now that he is back in Europe’s top division, he finally has a chance to prove how talented he is. This time he no longer has the best players in Europe supporting him, so it’s down to his individual play to succeed. Out of all the roster moves, Expect’s arrival seems the safest. While he isn’t considered as a top-tier player, he can certainly hold his own in lane. If Expect doesn’t perform (which we believe he will), then there is former G2 Vodafone player Send0o who will happily take his place. Send0o is yet again paired up with Expect as they were both involved with G2 in 2017. The Spaniard however, has developed quite a lot since leaving G2’s sister team early last year. He is a returning player from exceL’s national circuit side and clearly the org rate him highly enough to keep him in the line-up for their LEC debut. Can Send0o do what he couldn’t achieve previously and replace Expect? That’ll all be down to how both players perform when given the opportunity.
KaSing is the poster boy of exceL’s line-up. The support is everything that a British organisation can ask for when developing a brand. Firstly, he is British. Secondly, he has a massive fan base and thirdly, he is an experienced player who can lead a team. The former Splyce player is a solid support who has no major negatives in his play. KaSing’s arrival to exceL could have been a result of Splyce’s kindness. The org let their players speak to other teams when they thought they hadn’t been accepted into the LEC. Excel would have been the first team to contact KaSing considering he fits their brand so well. But what’s done is done and KaSing will undoubtedly be happy with his place in exceL’s team. His biggest positive will be his playing experience. He will be able to guide some of the newer players in the line-up on and off the rift. Allowing them to play at their very best as a team. We here at Gromp News do not expect KaSing to ever lose his starting position this season. However, it may be a case that he helps their other support Mystiques develop into a LEC caliber player. The Polish support has shown a lot of potential in the national circuit this year and has previously worked with teams like Millenium, Movistar Riders, and Vodafone Giants. It’s a shame that it may be another season in the national circuits for him. However, we may see him pop up next season or in the summer split.
While KaSing will be the leader of the side, it will probably be Caedrel as the shot-caller for exceL when the later stages of a game are concerned. The former H2K jungler is yet another Brit who is on board with exceL’s new roster. Whilst his time at H2K wasn’t perfect he will be a major factor in exceL’s victories due to his communication skills whilst in game. Nevertheless, the player certainly has a lot of critics to answer to about his jungle ability, having only recently changed from a mid laner in 2018. However, with a year of practising and competing in the role. His performances should pick up and he will certainly guide exceL to victories. If that doesn’t happen, Taxer is waiting for his opportunity. The young jungler remains at exceL after his performances with them in the national circuit. This ends his spell at Danish side Bucks Vipers, a team he was also playing with at the same time. The Dane will most likely play this split if Caedrel doesn’t perform and given his ability, he has every right to be given the chance. Taxer offers exceL more of a stable and safe jungler who could do his job with minimal risk. By having two contrasting junglers it does provide the org with different strategies to deploy when needed.
The most interesting roster moves exceL have made is the acquisition of Exile (previously Exileh) and Special. Exile gives the org yet again somebody who understands how the EULCS (now LEC) works. His performances at Unicorns of Love were sometimes masterful. On the other hand, on some occasions he was the worst performer in the team. If exceL can keep the German consistent then they have a top quality mid laner in their roster. Alongside Exile you have Special who comes from Misfits Academy. Misfits clearly saw Special as a star for the future and they were not wrong. He was the best mid laner in the UK national circuit and certainly deserves the chance to hone his skills in the LEC. The major worry is Forge of Champions is one of the weaker national circuits in Europe. So, undoubtedly the level of competition Special was playing against was rather low. Still, this should not subtract from the players quality. He has the mechanical ability and knowledge of the game to be their starting mid laner if Exile doesn’t perform. Out of all the lanes, the mid lane will most likely be the position which will feature rotation from exceL given Special’s ability.
The final lane sees two young ADC’s battle it out off the rift for supremacy. Jeskla is one of the most exciting bot laners to come out of the Spanish national circuit. The former Movistar Riders player was expected to join up with Movistar had they got accepted into the LEC. So, its happy to see him still get his chance in Europe’s top league. He was Movistar’s best player in the summer helping his side to first in the SuperLiga Orange 2018 Summer regular split. With better and more experienced players around him, it’s the opportunity for Jeskla to make a name for himself in Europe. We here at Gromp News see Jeskla as the starting player for exceL, however, they do have Innaxe as their other potential ADC. The Bulgarian has experience playing for exceL having been their ADC from June 2017 till November of the same year. The player has since been a substitute for Splyce and applied his trade in the Turkish League with HWA Gaming. Innaxe will be a capable LEC quality ADC if called upon. However, expect Jeskla to be the star in the bot lane.
Quantity over Quality?
To conclude, a lot of this roster has yet to be tested in the LEC/EULCS. Those who have been tested are a mismatch of good quality players from mid-table sides last split. This squad is heavily reliant on some of those experienced players regaining the form that they have shown previously. With that being said some of the newer players coming into the league look incredibly promising. Players such as Jeskla and Special, if given the opportunity, could develop into great players. Still, even with those players, we do not know how they will cope with the increased level of opposition that this league possesses. In short what could happen is exceL may find a five/seven-man roster that could perform extremely well in the LEC. But as a result of finding that roster, they may lose some of their early games in the process. The organisation has taken the step in the right direction trusting national circuit players, whilst also adding experienced players to guide the rookies. This split will be more about finding the right side for summer, not their performances this year.
Predicted finish: 9th/10th
By Tom DanielsFollow @TheTomDaniels