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The tournament will feature the top six teams from the three tournament splits of 2023: Winter, Summer, and Spring. G2 Esports won both the Winter and Summer splits, allowing for another lower-ranked team to be included in the tournament.
All matches are BO5 contests, and the top four teams from the tournament will qualify for direct entry into the 2023 World Championship.
Excel Esports and Fnatic will face off in the lower bracket of the opening round, and the winner will face the winner of Team BDS, who already lost their opening match, and SK Gaming for a spot in the upper bracket finals.
Oddsmakers have Fnatic listed as nearly 3 to 1 favorites for the upcoming match. While this could be due to several reasons, we believe it’s mostly because Fnatic finished the Spring and Winter Splits of the LEC ahead of Excel, despite both teams being neck and neck on paper. We believe that this contest is much closer than it is made out to be on paper, but Fnatic is a safer pick since they have been in slightly better form overall.
Comparing the two teams’ past performances against each other allows us to have some indication of how this upcoming match may go. In all their past meetings, Fnatic has won 11 matches while Excel has won only 5. In the last 30 days, Excel Esports has won 1 match and lost three, while Fnatic has won three and lost 1.
Excel Esports and Fnatic faced off in the Regular Season of the LEC Winter, Summer, and Spring Splits. In the Winter Split, Fnatic won 1,0; their meeting in the Spring Split would go 1-0 in Excel’s favor, while Fnatic would win their next meeting in the Summer Split. While the above results aren’t indicative of much, it goes to show that while Excel can pull off the upset, historically, Fnatic has been the higher-level team overall.
Looking into both teams’ individual performances over the last three splits of the LEC can give us more clues into why the oddsmakers have rated Fnatic so highly when the two teams seem to be neck and neck on paper.
The last Winter Split of the LEC was one of Fnatic’s weakest performances in recent times. The team scored only two wins and seven losses for a win rate of 22%. They dealt an average damage per minute of 2275 and drew first blood in 11.1% of their games. In the Winter Split, Fnatic had an average of 9.9 kills and 16.1 deaths per game, for an average kill/death ratio of 0.7, with 2.2 assists per kill.
Fnatic did marginally better in the spring split, scoring four wins and five losses in the regular season for a win rate of 44%. They dealt 2358 damage per minute and scored 14.7 kills and 15.2 deaths per game, for an average kill/death ratio of 1.4 with 2.2 assists per kill. They drew first blood in 66.7% of their games and acquired 1794 gold per minute.
Fnatic then went on to experience a surge in form and rack up seven wins and two losses in the recently concluded Summer Split of the LEC, scoring a win rate of 78%. They dealt an average gold of 2373 per minute and drew first blood in 66.7 percent of their games. Fnatic also got 17 kills and ten deaths per game, for a kill/death ratio of 2.5, with an average of 2.5 assists per kill. Notably, they had a win rate of 85.7% when ahead at 15 minutes.
Excel Esports began 2023 with a poor showing at the Winter Split, with only one win to eight losses in the regular season. Despite the high losses, they dealt an average of 2460 damage per minute and drew first blood in 55.6% of their games, although they were only able to manage 11.6 kills to 18.7 deaths per game, for an average kill/death ratio of 0.6, with 2.4 assists per kill.
Their shaky form would continue into the Spring Split, where they won 2 and lost 7 of the opening games. They drew first blood in only 22.2% of their games and dealt an average of 2068 damage per minute, with 9.9 kills and 15.3 deaths per game, for a kill/death ratio of 1, with 2.2 assists per kill. However, they could only manage to acquire 1656 gold per minute through the season, and it would not be enough to get them far.
Excel had an uptick in form during the Summer Split that allowed them to finish in second place eventually. While their surge in form could be attributed to several reasons, one stands out the most: the arrival of Korean star player Peach, who took over Jungler duties from Xerxe. Over the season, they would have five wins and four losses for a win rate of 56%, the highest in 2023 so far.
Despite drawing first blood in only 11% of their games, Excel Esports dealt 2177 damage per minute and scored 13.4 kills, 11.2 deaths, and 2.5 assists per kill for a kill/death ratio of 1.7 per game. The team acquired 1826 gold per minute and won 75% of their games when ahead at 15 minutes. It remains to be seen whether this upward form will continue or whether it will be enough to beat Fnatic, who have been operating at a much higher competitive level for longer.
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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