League of Legends: Promotion to the Premiership

Thu 2nd Apr 2015 - 9:37pm : General


Back when we formally introduced our League of Legends team to the world, we briefly mentioned that they were hoping to qualify into the ESL UK Premiership. Well, this past week saw the guys do precisely that! 

Matching up against TerraCota Army in the Semi-Final, a win here would secure a place in the ESL UK Premiership, with the final itself a crucial factor for deciding seeding within the Premiership's group stages. As if to show their dominance from the outset, it didn't take long for exceL to show off their mechanical skills. An early gank in the bottom lane from TerraCota Army was swiftly countered with the whole exceL team collapsing in perfect unity to steal 3 easy kills in the opening stages of the game. 
Despite a valiant retaliation from TerraCota Army, they never really managed to get their teeth stuck into the game. A mix of fantastic synergy in almost every team fight and great shot calling from exceL saw them methodically wear down TerraCota Army and take the first game to go 1-0.
The next game saw TerraCota Army come out of their base with something to prove, they had to win this game to keep their Premiership dreams alive. Both teams were playing a little more cautiously than before and there was an even trade across the map, neither team able to get the upper hand. Despite this, exceL showed, once again, that they wanted the promotion more. From controlling objectives to pushing towers, exceL put on a master class display of how to wear down your opponent in League of Legends and took the 2nd game, and the series, away from TerraCota Army.
This meant that exceL had definitely qualified for the ESL UK Premiership but there was the small matter of where they would be placed within the next group stages. This would be decided in the final against Ascendance eSports.
Having watched a lot of professional League of Legends over the past few years, I've seen my fair share of close match-ups, yet very few come to mind that can match this final. In a BO3 series that saw it go to the wire, rarely have I seen games go back and forth with the frequency in the match between exceL and Ascendance.
In the first game of the series there was very little to separate the two teams, when one side attempted an action then it was either countered or responded to in kind. Like a well choreographed tennis rally, the action, and marginal lead, went back and forth right the way through the early stages and continued almost until the closing stages of the mid-game. Despite answering everything that Ascendance could throw at them, and asking some pretty damn harsh questions of their own, exceL began to fall behind. A succession of team-fights, mere moments between them, saw Ascendance pull ahead. Unfortunately, exceL couldn't quite get their momentum going again and Ascendance took the first game.
Game 2 saw exceL rise to the challenge, determined to gain the best placement possible in the Premiership group stages. Ascendance came out with all guns blazing and the desire to snowball their way to victory was clear for all to see. The early stages saw Ascendance take a small early lead but exceL rallied themselves with some truly inspirational teamwork. Led by Vedius on a hulking Cho'gath, they took the fight to Ascendance and came out on top of almost every team-fight. Proving they deserve to be in the top flight of professional gaming, exceL gradually rose above their opponents, denying them objectives at every turn and never overextending their reach. The two teams were so evenly matched in their mechanical ability, it was always going to come down to who had the better shot calling. This one went to exceL.
The final game was upon the exceL boys, entrance to the Premiership was already theirs, but they wanted to go in whilst kicking the door down. A win over Ascendance would definitely give them the entrance they desired.
By now both teams had the measure of one another and a complete stalemate grew in the early game. At 15 minutes in, neither team could pull ahead, the stats from each side looking like a mirror image of each other. Rarely do you see two teams so evenly matched, knowing that the only opening will come when someone finally makes a mistake. That time came when exceL took down the Dragon but were expertly collapsed upon by Ascendance. The following team-fight would take place up and down the whole length of the river with Ascendance coming out on top. 
Sensing that the win could have just slipped out of their grasp, exceL mustered every ounce of skill and concentration they could find. Over the next 10 minutes they dug deep into their own ability and with a methodical grace began to pull back into the game. Without showing any signs of panic, exceL proved that one of the things they do best is control objectives. Every Dragon in the game went their way and both jungles were almost completely under their control by the closing stages of the mid-game. With a closing team-fight deep within the heart of Ascendance's base, exceL closed down the series in explosive fashion and make their way into the ESL UK Premiership, heads held high.


exceL eSports

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