Caedrel sat down with GGRecon during the Neosurf cup to talk all things Excel and the LEC.

18:00, 17 Jan 2020

Excel Esports has picked up some momentum before the League of Legends European Championship gaming (LEC) even kicks off as the 10-man squad completed an impressive comeback against Misfits to lift the Neosurf Cup at Twickenham Stadium.

The ground has seen a lot of change in the last couple of months as Excel’s new-look team has completed its bootcamp and is now in Berlin preparing for the new season. With hopes of bouncing back from a last-place finish in Summer Split 2019, Marc “Caedrel” Lamont spoke to GGRecon about Excel’s new additions, his returning teammates, the Season 10 changes and more.

Starting off with the Neosurf Cup, it must be satisfying to return to competitive games and play a game on stage once again, especially with the new meta.

It's more something for fun, the offseason is just boring for me because we finished in August so it's been four months. Having something to play for early on is nice but obviously it's only two weeks before the LEC so we can't show or do that much. Even before Christmas or after Worlds, something like the KeSPA Cup would be nice but that usually runs into Christmas so it's difficult for Europe to have a preseason tournament.

With the new signings and Youngbuck coming in as coach, you must be really excited to get redemption for last year and show what Excel are capable of.

I think Patrick and Tore are a super-strong bot-lane, Patrik was second place in Spring and Tore went to the quarter-finals of Worlds so they have a lot of experience between them plus they're really good memers so they fit in pretty well. And Youngbuck is... Youngbuck, he's the six-star general. I've learnt so much from him already it's really nice to work with him.

Can you tell us a bit more about Youngbuck and how he's changed things?

Well, Youngbuck is really, really smart about the science of the game if that makes sense? He knows the micro and macro really well, he trusts the players to know their match-ups and limits whereas he can give you the science behind the game itself and what the best outcome or play of every team-orientated play-style is. That's what he helps a lot with and it's really nice to have.

Touching on last season, it was always clear that the potential was there with Excel. The team had a lot of amazing performances but would always falter at the last stage of the game. How would you sum up 2019?

Last season was a bit of a sh*tshow, we have six or seven roster changes last year so it was never easy to adapt to one playstyle. I think you're right, we had a lot of games we could win, if we were 1% better we would have had six or seven wins instead of four or five. We had so many games that were won and yet we fell at the last hurdle. I think Patrik and Tore's experience will help with that as well as Mickey's confidence coming back, he was a bit shy at the start but now he's comfortable, I think those three factors and having Youngbuck pushing us will make us stronger.

You touched on Mickey there, everyone at Excel speaks very highly of him despite criticism he receives from outside. What is he like as a teammate?

This whole flying to Korea thing is untrue, whoever said that is lying. The true story is completely different, there was a lot less toxicity in it and was a joint decision in a sense. People just overexaggerated the story, I don't know who it was who came up with it but well played to them for ruining his image. Mickey is the kindest, smartest and most open-minded guy I've ever met. His mechanics are incredible, he does have his moments of over-aggression but everybody has those so I try to keep him on the same page as me but he really likes going in and I love his playstyle.

Also jungle and support duos seem to be pretty important in the game at the moment, how have you and Tore been getting on.

I've been friends with Tore for like four years now since Schalke, we get along really well and it's really easy to criticize each other. There's no fighting like he can say I inted here and I can say the same back to him. I think he's really talented and smart so it feels really good to play with him.

Moving into in-game content, what are your thoughts on the Season 10 changes and how has the jungle role been impacted?

It didn't affect the role itself that much, the Dragon changes only come into play at about 15 to 20 minutes if you're good or a little bit later if the Drakes haven't been taken. It's more of a team change in general, I think it's a lot easier to get deep vision on a normal map when going for Nash. When it's an Infernal map with the bushes down it's really difficult to get vision for a defensive set-up for Nash or Elder on both sides. The elemental maps change how vision works with bushes growing or being removed, that's the biggest change.

You sort of hinted there that Drakes on their own aren't that strong at the moment. Is it the case that Drakes aren't as important until one team is close to gaining a Dragon Soul

Yeah the Dragons individually aren't great, I think the only useful one is Cloud - that's really nice to have no matter what. Dropping the first two Drakes doesn't do anything, it's way better to go for gold and towers. It only gets complicated when it's the third Drake because if you give that you have to fight the fourth no matter what so you usually want to fight the third most of the time. And if you do give the first two Drakes and then get the next four, you get four stacked Drakes like four Infernals or Oceans which is way better than having one of each. Giving up Drakes early is fine now whereas last season if you gave up two Infernals or Mountains the game was pretty much over.

What about the Rift Herald changes with the buff itself being weaker but can now spawn twice?

It doesn't change much, it just means you can get mid tier-two easier I guess. It's another objective to fight over before Nash which is nice to have I guess. But if you can trade Drake for Herald early it's really good, you can run top with Herald and you have way more tempo so the enemy team can't do anything, instead they're going to get like 6% magic resist or 4% AD which does nothing. If you think about it, if you have 100 AD, the extra 4% is only an extra 4 AD so it doesn't really matter.

Jungle tends to be the most difficult role for players to learn, as someone who roleswapped from mid to jungle what is your advice for someone who wants to start junglng?

I would start off by taking every kill, don't leave kills for your laners. Play carry champions and invade as much as you feel like. I think the way you learn League of Legends is trial and error. In school for example, you get taught what you have to do, whereas in LoL you have to get hit in the face 1,000 times to learn 1,000 things. So my point in that is if you're a jungler or a top-laner and you just all-in and die, it's fine because you now know your limit on all-ins on those two match-ups. If you do that 1,000 times with 1,000 different champions, you become the best top-laner in the world and it's the same with jungle. You can just walk into the enemy jungler and if you fight them 1v1 and die, it's fine because now next time in that situation you know if you can go for it or not. The way you learn is doing that over and over again.

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