I don't believe in jinxes.
This year is the year, I've seen enough. EXCEL are going to playoffs, and there's nothing you can do about it. They've finally got a coherent team with multiple carry threats, a dynamic jungle/support duo and a stable midlaner.
While Finn was unfairly maligned for one playoff run - lord knows he's not the first player to get clowned by Wunder, eh Alphari? - he's a very, very good carry player who is capable of filling in as a weakside player when needed.
He is nowhere near as bad as people liked to make out, and was set up for failure when he was made to play weakside every game. The guy was a Kled one trick, for crying out loud, he's not made to sit under tower and farm.
Year of the Duck
— Erlend Nukeduck Holm (@Nukeduck) July 29, 2021
While Nukeduck has never evolved into the swiss army knife super carry we were sold, he's now become a very solid, stable midlaner. He never gets blown out, but he's rarely getting massive advantages. He's sort of become the EU PowerOfEvil - and yes, I realise that sounds weird - where he picks a scaling mage and survives. Or sometimes picks Leblanc and does nothing, but that's fine.
But EXCEL don't NEED a super carry in the midlane. They've got Patrik and Finn who are willing to be played through, and though Patrik is probably the better player, EXCEL looked better playing around Finn in their final game of the week.
The top lane pool in EU is... iffy at best, and Finn has shown a desire and an ability to carry through the top lane. With a stable midlane and one of the best ADCs in the league, he's able to have freedom to do what he wants and get Markoon and Advienne up there to dive the poor top laner who is left against him.
That's kind of where this team is at; previously, EXCEL had glaring weaknesses every year that eventually came home to roost, and League of Legends is a weak-link game.
But finally, EXCEL have no glaring weaknesses. Their weakest players are still very serviceable, and Patrik is an elite late game teamfighter to fall back on.
Astralis, Vitality, BDS, SK and Misfits all have question marks over parts of their team. BDS are a completely new team with Adam, who is a bit of a wildcard himself. Astralis just don't have the players to outfight anyone, while Vitality are an omnishambles with no clear direction or gameplan. SK's ADC is Jezu, who is one of the worst players in the league, while Misfits are struggling to find a real carry in their team.
EXCEL don't have these problems, and should be eyeing up a 5th place finish.
I'm sure they'd *take* 6th, though.