Team Vitality: The rise and fall

With postseason on the line, can Vitality make it to the top of the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split? Or will they crumble under the pressure?

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(Image Credit: Exilexi)

It’s been a crazy Spring Split for Vitality. They smashed everyone’s expectations during the initial weeks of the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split and cruised to first place, with just one loss to their seven wins by the end of week four.

However, Vitality hit a rough patch towards the middle of the Spring Split, and suffered a four-game losing streak in weeks five and six.

Although Vitality have turned their luck around, they now stand at joint third with Splyce at the end of week seven, with eight wins and six losses.

The question on everyone’s lips now is whether Vitality can claw their way back to the top of the EU LCS leader board, or whether their initial winning streak was just a fluke?

Has Vitality really turned around since 2017’s Summer Split?

Can Vitality recreate the magic?

Expectations were not high for Vitality at the start of the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split.

Their roster, comprising Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet in the top lane, Erberk “Gilius” Demir in the jungle, Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro in the mid lane and Amadeu “Minitroupax” Carvalho and Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzynski as ADC and support in the bot lane. It comprised mostly of rookie players, as only Cabochard remained from the original Vitality roster. The remaining four players moved from Giants Gaming, who secured promotion into the EU LCS last year.

Although Vitality’s team synergy was good from the get-go, it quickly became clear that there was one standout rookie amongst the team: Jiizuke, the first pro-Italian player in the EU LCS.

Time and time again Jiizuke pulled plays out of the bag that pushed Vitality to victories, especially on his incredibly impactful Ryze. During those initial weeks, Vitality stuck to a simple, but very effective strategy – try to dominate the early game, feed Jiizuke, and snowball the lead to secure the win.

Other EU teams however recognised this pattern, and consequently shut down Jiizuke at every available opportunity. As Vitality struggled to produce any other carries on their team, this meant that they increasingly struggled in games and conceded losses.

Vitality’s losing streak was compounded by the fact that they are a very emotional team, and no doubt they keenly felt the pressure of being top for so long, and their subsequent losses. Even Gilius admitted that weeks five and six of the Spring Split were not great for Vitality, and that his play was poor during those weeks.

If Vitality want to pull things back, then not only will they need to adapt their gameplan to focus on the later game, but other members of Vitality will also have to step up and perform to help carry them over the line. 

Eyes are on playoffs

Vitality broke their losing streak during week seven when they took home a win against FC Schalke 04. However, they also lost their match against Fnatic, proving that they are still struggling to press their advantages and perform at the same level as they were during the beginning of the Spring Split.

But with eight wins to their name, it looks highly likely that Vitality will secure a place in the playoffs provided they can find a win during one of their final four upcoming games against Unicorns of Love, ROCCAT, Splyce, and G2 Esports. Once in playoffs, the pressure will be on for Vitality to perform in a best of five format and take on some impressive teams, likely comprising Fnatic and G2 Esports.

Do you think Vitality could still win the 2018 EU LCS Spring Split? Let us know in the comments below!