ExceL Esports are another newcomer to the League of Legends pro scene. They were considered one of the less likely candidates to have made the cut for franchising. The team’s moves show ambition and there are experienced players on the roster, but we don’t expect them to make it too far in spring.
The exceL organization was founded in 2014, signed its original League of Legends roster in December 2015, and has since played at the British regional scene. Previously, the team hadn’t been much of a powerhouse, spending several years in ESL UK Premiership. This year, they played at the European Masters tournament, reaching the quarterfinals. After they were approved for the LEC franchising, they signed a new set of players for their core team. Despite not having much experience in high-level League of Legends, they have shown they have more than just participation on their mind by opting to have a ten-man roster for the 2018 season. They have also announced that they would have their training facilities at Twickenham Stadium – a famous rugby stadium in London and the home of the governing body of the Rugby Union in England – and even changed their team logo. ExceL likely see their acceptance in the LEC to be a defining moment in the club’s history and are willing to invest the time and effort needed.
The team has two full squads, similar to how many Korean teams try to keep a ten-man roster, but here are the players we can expect to see on stage:
- Top laner: Ki “Expect” Dae-han
- Jungler: Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont
- Mid laner: Fabian “Exileh” Schubert
- Bot laner: Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg
- Support: Raymond “KaSing” Tsang
- Head Coach: Josh “Furndog” Furneaux
The roster is composed mostly of players with a fair bit of stage experience, with the exception of Jeskla – the Swedish AD Carry was seen as one of the stars of the Spanish regional circle where he played for MAD Lions and Movistar Riders. We had last seen Expect on the Origen roster that took the 2018 Spring European Masters tournament. He was since signed as a substitute on Fnatic for the fall, yet considering the form both of Fnatic’s top laners were this year, there was little chance for him to make the stage. Caedrel is coming from H2k-Gaming and has previously played for several other teams, initially as a mid laner and later as a jungler. He was one of the better players there, but despite an okay Spring Split, the team flopped hard in the summer. They only took two games after nearly equaling Origen’s infamous losing stream from the spring of 2017.
The roster has potential but appears mostly cobbled together. Some of the players have shown good performance at one time or another. Caedrel was seen as a very good player held back by a failing team. Both Expect and Exileh had flashes of brilliance in their careers, but have not found much recent success and were seen as secondary players in their own teams. Jeskla is sometimes seen as one of the better “challenger” AD Carries. KaSing is an experienced player who can hold the team together and assist his younger lane mate. However, most of the older players are at the lower end of mid-tier for the LCS: good enough to keep a team out of the bottom of the table, but not exactly Worlds material.
The level of talent and apparent investment from the organization gives exceL good odds to lean towards the middle of the table and possibly get a playoff berth this year – though it would be somewhat surprising if it happens in the spring. It is hard to judge exceL with much confidence, as they could go anywhere from a low-level playoff team to dead last, but the organization’s confidence and the mix of experience and talent push it to at least the eighth place.
Thumbnail image credit: exceL Esports