Monday Morning Mid-Laner: xPeke of Fnatic
Coming off of the European LoL Regionals this weekend at Gamescom, I didn’t have a great deal of difficulty selecting the player to profile for my first weekly e-sports feature. The performance of Fnatic’s mid laner Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez this week decisively solidified his team’s place as the number one team in Europe, and xPeke himself is the tip of the spear that Fnatic has driven into European LoL in Season 3.
But for xPeke, success is old hat. As one of the two remaining founding members of Fnatic’s League of Legends team (the other being his jungler, Cyanide) xPeke carries with him the legacy of being the original champions of Season 1, beating out Against All Authority back in 2011 to be the first team to claim the Summoner’s Cup and achieve complete dominance in the LoL scene. While the team struggled in season 2, failing to qualify for the world tournament entirely, they’ve been on the rise again ever since, and are currently poised to become the biggest European threat to the Asian dominance of the LoL scene with xPeke at the forefront .
THE INCREDIBLE SPLIT-PUSHING MID
Of course, it’s impossible to mention xPeke without discussing his peculiar playstyle and the maneuver that shares his name. xPeke is the one of the more “split-push” oriented mid-laners in the LoL scene. With split-pushing, xPeke tends to utilize a style that revolves around detaching from the rest of his team and creating pressure in another lane. By pushing a lane singlehandedly, xPeke forces the enemy team to choose between detaching from a teamfight to stop him, or moving to engage 4v5 fight against his team while xPeke destroys the structures in the lane uncontested. Generally in doing so, xPeke will choose either the Teleport summoner spell or a champion who can function similarly, enabling him to act separately from his team but still teleport into a teamfight at a moment’s notice.
The extreme end result of a successful split-push is what’s called a “backdoor”, which refers to sneaking into the enemy’s base and destroying their structures and eventually Nexus when they’re occupied with other members of your team elsewhere on the map. For reasons that will quickly become evident, this is also referred to as “pulling an xPeke.”
The most famous example of a back door in League of Legends history came during the group stage of the IEM Global Challenge Katowice in January of 2013. Fnatic and xPeke were up against SK Gaming and had just come off on the worse end of a teamfight when the incredible moment happened. xPeke managed to, using the teleport spell, warp back in behind the triumphant SK and destroy their open Nexus while deftly dodging all attempts to stop him and surviving with a scant amount of health. From then on, anyone who manages to sneak in and destroy the enemy Nexus is referred to as doing “an xPeke,” with shoutcaster Leigh “Deman” Smith even going so far as to refer to it as doing “a Peke on Peke” when the technique was used on xPeke himself by Evil Geniuses.
The final game of the European finals highlights why xPeke’s strategy is so devastating under the proper circumstances. In game 4 against Europe’s number one seed Lemondogs, xPeke picked up the champion Ahri, an ability power champion heavily oriented around strong minion clearing and extremely high mobility. While the split pushing role is normally reserved for top lane champions like Shen (who can escape attempts to stop him and teleport into fights with his ultimate), xPeke is one of the few who really secures the split-push advantage on the AP champions like Ahri.
The advantage that he gains by split pushing with a mobile AP mage champion is the ability to go 1v1 with people who come to stop his split-push. This was especially evident in game 4 against Lemondogs, where Lemondogs’s mid-laner nukeduck attempted to stop xPeke’s split-push top lane with Twisted Fate only to be easily outduelled and obliterated by Ahri’s burst casting. Rather than having to teleport away or escape, xPeke was able to force out a duel with nukeduck and annihilate him in the 1v1 under Lemondogs’s own tower. This advantage let him continue pushing, while forcing Lemondogs to have to send multiple people to stop him, leaving them vulnerable to the rest of Fnatic.
xPeke ranks with the best as one of the longest running and most iconic players in League of Legends. From the Season One championship up to the Season Three European Regionals, xPeke is poised to drive Fnatic to international dominance. With his strong split push, high dueling prowess, and an average Gold Per Minute rating that is virtually unchallenged in EU, xPeke will be a force to be reckoned with as the lynchpin of Fnatic’s chances on the international championship stage.
Photo credit to Leaguepedia.