Splyce vs exceL
For our first match of the day, we have a somewhat peculiar clash between Splyce and Excel Esports. Now, this is by no means a top-tier match-up, and if you miss it no one’s going to blame you. Not in the slightest. That said, it is an interesting clash of style, and an opportunity for both teams to either make a statement (in Excel’s case), or to continue building hype and momentum (in Splyce’s).
It feels strange to even highlight such a match-up, but things have changed (at least ever so slightly) and it goes to show just how competitive and even the LEC landscape really is.
But that’s not the only surprise. The fact that we’re seeing Splyce dominate across the board is perhaps equally as strange and unexpected. They were always strong, stable, and well-rounded. But they lacked the depth which was necessary in order to compete with the best the LEC had to offer. That was kind of the Splyce story – always good enough to fight back, but rarely strong enough in order to actually leave a mark.
This time around, they’re entering uncharted lands and it’s a surprise for everyone involved – them included. They’re tied for second place with Fnatic which is basically the highest rank they ever held this late into the split. Could they go all the way? Could they actually be the ones left standing after the dust settles? It‘s still too early to know for sure and we can't really make any concrete prediction before we see them play in a Best of 5 format, but the odds are definitely stacked in their favor, especially if Fnatic continue underperforming to such a shocking degree.
Excel Esports, on the other hand, is in a completely different position. They’re on a somewhat confusing two-game winstreak, and they’re actually entering this week with a fair bit of hype and momentum. As much as a team of their stature can have, of course. They’re currently tied for ninth place which means they’re pretty much a bottom dweller, but they can be deceptively strong and have more than enough power within their starting five-man line-up in order to be competitive – at least for a good portion of the game.
So in other words, no one has the faintest clue on just how strong Excel currently are. Are they good? That’s a given. But how good and how capable they really are is still a mystery. No one’s predicting them to actually upset the LEC status quo, but they’re a solid dark horse. Again, they’re basically out of the playoffs at this point but they still have reasons to fight. At the very least, they have the opportunity to take someone down with them; they have the opportunity to leave a mark and create a fair bit of chaos. Most teams are underestimating them and yet the Excel boys are fully reveling in their underdog status. Does that mean they’re going to win? Not exactly, but at least they have an unexpected amount of momentum and are definitely not going down without a fight.
Now, Splyce are far from an easy fight at this point in time. Even though they’re flawed they're still far better and more dangerous than Excel Esports. They might not be the best team in the region, but they're darn close and they're only getting better with time. On one hand, this game should (by all means) be a quick and one-sided shellacking in Splyce's favor. On the other, Excel's recent successes probably empowered them quite a bit, so this could end up being a much closer game than most people expect. In the end, we simply have to side with Splyce on this one. They deserve our benefit of the doubt after doing so many things right and Excel should only be a negligible block in their road towards the playoffs.