After a promising 2021 Summer campaign, EXCEL Esports missed playoffs for the sixth split in a row. And while some pointed towards building around a set few players, the organization opted for a different route, retaining four of their players from the last split while adding CLG top laner Finn to the team. Now, as […]

After a promising 2021 Summer campaign, EXCEL Esports missed playoffs for the sixth split in a row. And while some pointed towards building around a set few players, the organization opted for a different route, retaining four of their players from the last split while adding CLG top laner Finn to the team. Now, as they move forward into 2022, EXCEL is looking to reverse their fortunes and have a breakout year.

In this interview, we speak to EXCEL bot laner Patrik “Patrik” Jiru to talk about his offseason following the 2021 LCS Summer Split, Brokenblade’s Corki Top pick, and his goals for the 2022 season.

EXCEL ESPORTS are involved in three different esports titles. Image via EXCEL Esports.

Let’s start by talking about your offseason. We saw that EXCEL retained the majority of last year’s lineup. What was the process behind keeping the team together? 

XL Patrik: Last summer, even though we did not make the playoffs, I think the team was actually pretty good. Throughout scrims, we would do pretty well and even onstage, I felt really confident with this team more so than before. The only thing I was not happy with was the top, so we did tryouts to find a new toplaner for 2022 to make our lineup a little stronger. We did tryouts with multiple players, and felt Finn was the best performing player, and also fit our team well.

How has Finn been adjusting to this already built-in structure? How does the team dynamic change with Finn on the team?

XL Patrik: I think compared to summer, we gain one more voice in the team’s communication which is really important. He is really good at communication, both in-game and out of the game. His role in the team has been to provide a lot more perspective for the team. But when it comes to atmosphere, he just fits really well with our team. He is a funny guy that really changes the mood. It has been nice having Finn on the team.

Let’s talk about the G2 Esports game. We saw Broken Blade pick Corki and bring it top and do great on it. Was that something you feel caught you guys off guard?

XL Patrik: In all honesty, whenever you play G2, you just expect something weird or crazy to happen. When I think back to pick and ban, I did expect them to pick Syndra or because it is G2, flex the Corki to top. Though, I still did not really fully prepare to see a Corki top in my LCS game. I just think Corki is a really strong champion right now. So if you have the ability to pick him, definitely do that. It beat us so I’d say it worked out for them.

You are the longest-tenured player on EXCEL. How do you feel your role in the team has grown? Are you more vocal and better at communicating your thoughts? What is different now?

XL Patrik: I wouldn’t say I am a leader within the team, I think that type of role just does not fit my personality. Still, I do think that experiencing multiple different variations of EXCEL has taught me how to be a better teammate. I think I am a lot better at being more empathetic to other people’s feelings when providing constructive criticism now. Before, I do not think that part of my game was great. If someone comes up to me saying I am wrong on something, I now put my ego aside to make sure I am seeing something from their viewpoint. I just make sure that I continue to be a good teammate and communicate my thoughts in a way that is more constructive than destructive.

What is your stance on the current LEC teams, and who do you feel poses the most threat to you guys?

XL Patrik: To be honest, I feel weird ranking myself because we have only played one game and it was pretty close. As for other teams, Fnatic is definitively the best team in the LEC. When I look at their lineup, it just feels like every player on that team has a high ceiling. G2 and then Vitality would follow them in 2nd and 3rd. Any team after Fnatic is really close together in the rankings. It will be really close to this split.

Of course, playoffs are the big goal, but I think we can take it further than just the top six. If we can strive for higher while also breaking our Playoffs curse, that would be an amazing benchmark to achieve in spring.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest League of Legends news and highlights.

Sage Datuin - Writer of the Month: June

Sage Datuin

Writer of the Month: June | Twitter: @sagedatuin

Sage been following esports since high school and has remained a massive fan ever since. When he's not working he likes to work out, knit and overthink things..