Three young summoners got the chance to face xPeke 1v1 on League of Legends’ Howling Abyss during an event hosted Saturday at IEM Katowice by tournament sponsor Gillette. All three ended up falling to the master’s precision moves — but the battles were well-fought, and closer than you might expect.
Rose, the first challenger, won over the crowd by picking Lee Sin, the classic 1v1 aggressor (nearby, on the big screen, H2k’s Jankos was playing his own Lee Sin).
Unfortunately for Rose, xPeke also went with the blind monk. She initiated from the brush with a successful Q, getting in solid early damage. Perhaps a bit on his heels, xPeke pulled out his classic technique — luring his opponent into a false sense of confidence, kiting, and reengaging at very low health. Rose was toast. Still, she felt happy at the opportunity to face off against him. “It was so cool,” she said. “Amazing! Maybe I could have beaten him if I had a second chance.”
Next up was Tomek, who chose Quinn into xPeke’s Ryze. Tomek’s play was aggressive out of the gate, but soon he was pushed back to tower. Undaunted, Tomek went for an all-in. Xpeke accepted the engage and finished off his challenger within a hair’s breadth of the turret’s aggro radius. GG, Tomek.
Asked how it felt to go all-in against xPeke, Tomek just shook his head, which was clearly going over the complexities of the game. “I almost had him!” he said. “[xPeke] was so close to turret aggro! But he got the better of me.”
The final challenger, Patrick, chose Jayce into xPeke’s Gangplank. Patrick made use of Jayce’s superior poke abilities, keeping even with xPeke’s CS and wearing him down slowly. Patrick gave the crowd its biggest thrill of the afternoon when he caught xPeke in the bush with a blind skill shot, initiating a 1v1. However, he made the fatal mistake of trying to back out of the fight once it had begun, and Gangplank showed no mercy.
After the match, xPeke was gracious in victory, admitting that he had gotten a bit lucky. Asked why his fan had tried to disengage from a very winnable fight, his answer was sympathetic: “He was nervous!”
Asher Ross covers arts and culture for a variety of publications. He has also proudly mained Xin Zhao in Bronze for five seasons.