After making playoffs for the first time in the organisation's history in Spring, Excel have come back from their Korean bootcamp looking stronger than ever. They are currently tied for first alongside G2, and were able to do this after a clean 2-0 week. Let's break down of one of their incredible skirmishes against the MAD Lions.
State of the Game
This team fight takes place at 17 minutes, and the gold difference is close coming out of the early game. XL have 8 kills compared to MAD's 1, but they're only leading by around 2k gold thanks to some good CS numbers from MAD.
The play begins with Lucian (Patrik) suspecting he is in danger; instead of pushing the wave, he waits for Volibear (Markoon) and Yuumi (Mikyx) to join him in the top lane. Once they arrive, they proc the nearby Scryer's Bloom to spot out Lee Sin (Elyoya) and Nautilus (Kaiser) in the bush. Knowing they have the numbers advantage, Markoon starts to engage with Volibear's Q:
Once Volibear gets close enough, he flashes to stun the Lee Sin as Yuumi pops her ultimate. Crucially, it's aimed vertically so it can root the Nautilus, Lee Sin, and the Sylas:
With the Nautilus and Lee Sin CC'd, Lucian is free to move forward and unleash his ultimate:
Lee Sin is able to kick the Volibear away with his ultimate, and Lucian doesn't have enough burst damage to kill the moderately tanky Lee Sin and Nautilus. Sylas is also out of range of the Lucian, so MAD have the opportunity to temporarily disengage:
Meanwhile, Gwen (Armut) has teleported onto a lane brush ward behind XL, while Gnar (Finn) has teleported onto a lane minion. Zeri (UNF0RGIVEN) and Ahri (Nukeduck) have also had the time to roam up, making this a 5v5 skrimish. With MAD split and Gwen isolated from the rest of her team, XL quickly turn on her to burst her down:
Gwen is able to survive temporarily thanks to her infamous immune. However, this buys time for Gnar to finish charging his rage bar. Once Finn transforms into Mega Gnar, he uses his E on a minion to extend his jump distance to reach the retreating members of MAD. This allows him to land a phenomenal Gnar ult, pushing 4 members of MAD into the range of XL:
XL use their gold and health bar advantage to clean up MAD Lions, and a mere 3 minutes later, destroy the Nexus to win the game.
This was a beautifully played team fight by XL. Patrik had the intutition to sense he was in danger, so waited for his teammates before pushing. Once XL knew they had the numbers advantage, they were relentless and refused to give MAD the opportunity to escape.
Finn's ult was sensational, and had he not knocked back all 4 members of MAD Lions, it's likely they would have been able to escape. This was another incredible game from XL and if they are able to keep this form up, they may be representing the LEC at Worlds later in the year.