When Chronobreaks Go Wrong: An Interview With Excel Esports' Dan
8.25 PM CET
Excel Esports win a Baron fight, losing only one member, and secure a substantial gold lead over Fnatic. Elias "Upset" Lipp uses the Recall spell to return to base and upgrades his equipment, including the purchase of a Guardian Angel (GA), which resurrects players when they take lethal damage, giving them stasis for four seconds and recovering varying amounts of resources.
Daniel “Dan” Hockley was confident heading into this grudge match in Fnatic, recalling in my interview with him that night before that despite being a substitute for Fnatic in 2019 and being on their academy throughout 2020, he had not yet played an LEC game - “I need to prove to them why they were wrong, so I’m really looking forward to winning tomorrow.”
The game so far had been promising. Despite a massive kill lead for Fnatic, Excel were able to trade effectively and collecting the Baron from under the noses of Fnatic’s players gave them a key advantage, that was until calamity struck a few minutes later.
8.30 PM CET
“At 34:43 [a few minutes ahead of the game as shown on stream], Excel reported a bug in-game, League Officials have confirmed the bug and are communicating with teams now.”
The twenty words striking fear into the hearts of every League of Legends player worldwide had been uttered. The spaghetti code that plagues all programs had revealed itself at the worst possible time for League.
8.40 PM CET
“League Officials have confirmed the bug and offered Excel a chronobreak which they have now accepted.”
Chronobreaking is the process of restarting a game from a point in the history of that game. More technically, the Server Network Recording, which tracks keypresses, match settings, and configurations for the entire game is replayed on a server up to the point at which League Officials decide they want to restart the game. Players then leave the old server and connect to the new game server.
8.55 PM CET
“There was an issue which caused Samira’s ultimate Inferno Trigger to not get cancelled when entering the revive state from Guardian Angel during a teamfight. Instead, Samira kept channel her ultimate without players being able to interact with her.”
Under normal circumstances, a chronobreak, when executed successfully first time, takes no longer than five minutes to be completed, however, there can be complications...
9.25 PM CET
"Unfortunately, in this circumstance, a chronobreak was not able to be successfully executed. As per our rules, the League Officials hence offered Excel to remake the game, which Excel accepted. To give teams adequate time to prepare, we will be moving the remade game with the new picks and bans to the end of this broadcast.”
After 55 minutes, League Officials gave in. One can only guess what the issue was but Elias “Upset” Lipp’s very early Guardian Angel purchase (Bloodthirster is traditionally built fourth, after boots, but Upset built GA fourth instead) may have complicated restarting the game - there had already been two minutes of broadcasted gameplay between the purchase and the pause.
Fnatic players were livid, off-stream they had secured the ocean soul, granting them ungodly amounts of healing and had just killed the Baron, meaning they had flipped the gold lead and had acquired a long list of buffs for the next few minutes. Several took to Twitter to express themselves...
The match of the week between G2 and Rogue paled in comparison to what was now a grudge match to die for. From the outset Fnatic played aggressively, landing blow after blow on a tired Excel side. After 33 minutes and 42 seconds, 61 seconds before the pause was called in the first game, Fnatic tore down the nexus to claim victory in what is for sure the most controversial game of the split so far.
Want to hear the rest of the interview with Dan? Check out the full video here:
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Images via Riot Games