For the British team of Excel Esports, 2023 was looking promising with their super roster. But the curse of the super team makes a return as they fail to qualify for playoffs.

For the British team Excel Esports (XL), the 2022 season success of breaking the playoffs curse is now nothing more than a faded memory. As despite investing in big talent, the team finds themselves once again at the bottom of the table with no hope of qualifying for play-offs.

2022 XL break the curse of playoffs and head to the top

Although Excel Esports have been active players in the LEC since 2019, it took a long time for them to secure a playoffs spot. So much so that fans created the Excel curse of always being within touching distance of playoffs.

At points coming down to last minute tight matches and missing out by a matter of plays. 2022 saw this curse broken in both Spring and Summer split, to the delight of long term fans and the players themselves.

For the org this was a moment of history.

But was breaking one curse only preparing for another?

The super roster of big talent for XL’s 2023 season

2023 was looking like XL’s year; they even had the slogan of "not this time" as they announced their starting roster. But it looks like that slogan had the opposite effect as despite fighting hard and showing up with key plays, it wasn’t meant to be.

The roster comprising of some of the biggest up and coming stars, in the LEC had so much to offer but fell flat as other teams stepped up their game. Including players such as Vincent "Vetheo" Berrié and Raphaël "Targamas" Crabbé. Perhaps it was the big buy-ins of talent and so called label of "super team" that cursed them this time around.

After all, how many super rosters have been successful in the LEC? G2 Esports with Rekkles? Nope. Team Vitality 2022? Also nope. Alliance 2013? perhaps down the line, but initially, still nope.

Although fans were incredibly excited to see the most recent LEC split winning top laner in Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu, it became clear early on that the team wasn’t ready for the level of competition that the LEC has.

Back to the bottom once more for XL

Having secured one win throughout a total of eight games and under the new LEC format, it was obvious that XL would be returning to missing playoffs. But fans may not have expected for the fall from the top to be quite so great, as XL find themselves bottom of the leader board.

Even below the expected bottom team of last season of Astralis. But being bottom of the leader board came with one more shock. XL find themselves one win behind fellow bottom team in Fnatic; a fellow British org who has also had a rough start to the 2023 season. XL Esports now have one more chance to secure a win, though it will not qualify them for playoffs.

LEC Winter 2023 Leader Board as of February 6
LEC Winter 2023 Leader Board as of February 6

Their match against Team Vitality (Feb. 6) is the perfect opportunity for the underdog storyline to come through once more, and prove that this super roster didn’t just get lucky when they took an earlier win off Team BDS.

What’s next for XL?

With the new changed format for the LEC, XL Esports' only option after their match against Team Vitality will be back to the drawing board. With the plan being to come back stronger next time, and be ready for the ever increasing strength of Europe.

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