exceL vs Astralis
For our first match of the day, we have a rather peculiar clash between Excel Esports and Astralis. Now, for all intents and purposes, this pretty much a fight between two bottom-tier dwellers or, at best, two mid-tier gatekeepers. It really depends on the day. Sometimes they'll step foot on the Summoner's Rift and play without reserve or hesitation, awing us in the process; other times, however, they'll fail to mount an offensive and pretty much fumble and fail in the most baffling of ways. That's been their M.O. recently, and by the looks of it, nothing will change any time soon (if ever).
They're fairly capable, is what they are, but they're not cohesive, consistent, or talented enough to maintain such a respectable level of play. When they're all on the same page, they're quite a dangerous opponents, but those moments are few and far between, and there's very little rhyme or reason as to when it happens. And, contrary to all logic, it's not tied to whom they're up against either. Excel Esports, however, have been far more aggressive and successful ever since 2021 began, and it's easy to understand why -- one quick glance at their starting line-up is all you need to figure it out. They're not exactly a top-tier competitive behemoth, but they're definitely a playoff contender, which is commendable, to say the least. With a 5W-5L record, they're sitting just one win away from Fnatic, while also being tied with SK Gaming and Schalke 04. Overall, as far as standings go, they're in a pretty good spot. Their play has also been fairly impressive, albeit heavily inconsistent. Their highs haven't been even remotely as rare as those of Astralis, but there's still that age-old problem for which Excel is so known for: inconsistency. They might come out the gates swinging and get the win in mind-blowing fashion or, conversely, just implode beyond reason. It's always a coin toss.
Astralis, on the other hand, haven't done nearly enough to warrant our benefit of the doubt, despite looking fairly okay with MagiFelix in the mid lane. They're good, but far from great, and they're lacking in a myriad of ways, especially when compared to most of their LEC peers. Still, they can pack a punch (when the stars align) and should not be underestimated. They'll put up a fight, which means we should be in for a fairly competitive (perhaps even entertaining?) skirmish-heavy clash. In the end, however, Excel should be the ones getting their hands raised.