G2’s New Faces, Familiar Friends Roll Past Excel in Opening Game of Lec Winter Split

Excel and G2 Esports faced battle in the opening match of the 2023 LEC Winter Split. In just over 30 minutes, G2’s revamped roster defeated the highly anticipated Excel team. Today’s game served as a landmark for the G2 organization, as it was the first time in 408 games that the team’s tenured veteran Jankos was not featured in the starting lineup. The All-Pro jungler and G2 parted ways this past offseason, marking the end of a five-year run. In his stead, G2 picked up rookie replacement Yike, who came out of the gate swinging in today’s contest.

The 22-year-old LFL product immediately made his presence in the game (and in the LEC, for that matter) known by carrying G2 with a striking 8/1/3 performance on Graves.

In the bottom lane, the team introduced its new AD carry in European veteran Hans Sama, while reintroducing its one-time support Mikyx, who played for G2 between 2019 and 2021. Mikyx played for Excel during the 2022 season, so today’s contest was a bit of a “revenge game” for the well-traveled support.

In the end, Mikyx and Hans Sama combined for a total scoreline of 4/6/15, with their Ashe/Heimerdinger bottom lane contributing to G2’s crowd control and sustained damage-focused team composition.

As for Excel, the team replaced four/fifths of its starting lineup this offseason, signing solo lane powerhouses in Odoamne and Vetheo, while also making a G2-centric swap at the support position by bringing in Targamas. Unfortunately, the shiny, new roster lined with one-time All-Pros and MVPs got off to a sluggish start and faced a 3,000 gold deficit at the 15-minute mark of this game.

Since the new format of the LEC season will only feature a single round-robin, G2 and Excel—who are both favored to make deep playoff runs—cannot meet again until the postseason, at the earliest.

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