Following a disappointing run at the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, Rogue successfully began their 2021 LEC Spring Split by grabbing a clean win over Excel on the launch day of the season.
They came into this match as the favorites, while Excel are considered one of the underdogs of the LEC after ending both splits last year toward the bottom of the standings.
Excel drafted an unexpected composition, including Ivern in the top lane and Udyr in the jungle. While Udyr has been picked in some LCK series and boasts a 100 percent win rate, he’s far from being a priority pick in the meta with a shy 4.9 percent presence rate in the league. Ivern, on the other hand, hadn’t been seen in the top lane of a competitive match, which put some pressure on the shoulders of rookie Felix “Kryze” Hellström.
Aside from those risky picks, Excel chose a safe strategy with a scaling composition that aimed to punish any of Rogue’s mistakes rather than being proactive and forcing fights. They fell behind in the early game, though, and never got the lead in the game. Rogue executed better rotations in the early game, which allowed them to get more turrets, plates, and minion gold, and then executed some clean fights around neutral objectives throughout the game.
Rogue put the nail in the coffin when Excel’s support Tore tried to ward a bush where his opponents were setting up a trap. He was instantly eliminated and brought his teammates with him to certain death.
The game wasn’t without its hiccups for the 2020 Worlds contenders, though. Rogue’s new support and rookie Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus got caught several times, which halted the team’s progression through the game.
“I felt down at first due to the fact I wasn’t showing up in the best possible way,” Trymbi said in the post-match interview. “But the [teammates] cheered me up and tried to make me as comfortable as possible, so I’m really glad to have such people around me.”
His teammates, on the other hand, had solid performances. Inspired’s Lillia, Larssen’s Lucian, and Hans sama’s Kalista finished the game without any deaths. Inspired showed absolute dominance in the game, enabling his team to shine in teamfights, while Hans sama pierced his way through the opponents with impunity.
Meanwhile, the Ivern pick on the side of Excel didn’t show much promise. Kryze chose to rush the Moonstone Renewer and Staff of Flowing Water combo that’s called Moonstaff.
The two items are becoming more popular over time among AP junglers like Nidalee, even though they were initially designed for support champions. They allow users to serve as a kind of support for the team, rather than dealing huge amounts of damage.
Ivern proved to be strong in a one-vs-one situation against Odoamne’s Kennen, but he fell behind in the early game, which didn’t enable him to show much in the teamfights later on.
Still, the strategy offered by Excel, including Ivern and Udyr sharing the jungle’s buffs, was refreshing. Ivern top might be a pick that will appear in other series this season.
Rogue’s next matchup might be more difficult than this one. They’ll play Fnatic tomorrow at 2pm CT. It’ll be a “challenge,” according to Trymbi, who fears the aggressive playstyle of their bot lane made up of Upset and Hylissang.
Excel, on the other hand, will have a chance to bounce back when they face off against Schalke 04 tomorrow at 10am CT.
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