This is the third week of LEC play in the season, and Vitality had another rough weekend.
Reviewing Week 3
Versus Origen Gaming: 3-1
Vitality came out of week 2 worse for wear, having faced a strong opponent in Rogue Gaming and an always dominant G2 Esports. In addition, the winless start for Vitality meant that beginning to turn the season around was something largely on the mind of the members of Vitality. Against Origen, however, that turn was not attainable by the team.
Due to a combination of a gank on the Vitality top lane and a failed attempt by Vitality to gank the Origen bottom lane, Origen picked up three kills before the five-minute mark, setting Origen in a confident position very early on. Shortly after, though, Vitality picked up two response kills to somewhat recover the slack and keep them in contention in the game. From there, the game became a matter of skirmishes throughout the rest of the early game, with kill exchanges happening between the 14 and 15-minute marks.
The turning point came around 22 minutes, where a stolen dragon was exchanged for four kills to Origen, and from there the outcome was largely decided. For example, Lucas “Saken” Fayard died at the 28:30 mark due to missed skill shots, with Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzynski dying shortly after him. Finally, after a few minutes of relative peace on the rift, Origen took a third dragon, and at the 37:40 mark took the Baron and aced Vitality for the win.
Player of the Match: Though the game could be summarized as a game of questionable engagements, Markos “Comp” Stamkopoulos had the most consistent performance of Vitality. Going 3/5/1, his gameplay was still the most consistent on the team given their difficult circumstances, and though the team lost his contributions on Aphelios should not go unnoticed.
Versus Excel Esports: 2-3
Losses are never easy to come back from, as the team’s mentality after one is difficult to recover from. However, Vitality’s performance versus Excel showed remarkable strength and optimism, especially in the early game.
A top lane gank by Vitality at the seven-minute mark gave them first blood, and set them off strongly on the right foot. A bottom lane engagement five minutes after that gank was 3-1 in the favor of Excel, and left the scoreline at 3-4 in the favor of Vitality, due to other picks in between these engagements. From there, Vitality seemed much stronger moving into the mid-game, with Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet providing split pushing pressure for the team on his Gangplank. This pressure allowed Vitality to take the second tier bottom turret shortly after the 18-minute mark, leaving them knocking on Excel’s door and in a dominant position.
Unfortunately, moving into the later parts of the game, a couple key moments proved to be Vitality’s undoing this game, centered once again around their midlaner Saken. Saken was taken by the Excel jungler Marc Robert “Caedrel” Lamont in a solo kill effort at 22:30, putting Vitality on the back foot after an otherwise solid performance to that point. Cabochard kept pushing throughout the following minutes and applied good pressure through the bottom lane, but not long after the 29-minute mark Saken was killed again as Excel took the baron, which set Vitality back. Due to this shift in momentum, Vitality was put on the defensive instead, and after one final team fight later Excel Esports took the win at 34:25.
Player of the Game: This performance showed that Vitality should not be underestimated, and this sentiment can be seen due to the contributions made by the top laner Cabochard. His multiple instances of split pushing kept Vitality in a strong position through most of the game, and in other circumstances, such pushes might have led to a victory. Given better reinforcement, his split pushing abilities could very well be the method through which Vitality break their losing streak.
Previewing Week 4
While many may joke that Fnatic’s performances are characterized by “coin flip” performances, particularly by their top laner and support, they are nonetheless still one of the top teams in the LEC. In the position they are in, Vitality should use this point in the season to try and turn things around and work their way back to at least one victory.
Vitality should look to capitalize on these performances and punish plays by Fnatic that overextend their lanes. If they can pick a composition that can weather the storm and get them to the later game where they can flourish, Vitality may have a chance. Furthermore, with the strength of Cabochard’s lane pushing, punishing the top lane and using it as a win condition would ideally be the way to go.
Player to Watch: As evidenced by the game against Excel, if Cabochard is given an opportunity to split and split hard, Vitality ends up in a dominant position. Look for a repeat performance, ideally on a dynamic pick such as Gangplank, and hope that the aforementioned “coin flip” goes in the favor of Vitality.
Prediction: Fnatic wins
Despite being dominated by Fnatic and beaten cleanly by Rogue, Misfits have still shown they can be solid performers, as evidenced by their 4-2 record. Their consistency is what has given Misfits an edge, but against a team like Fnatic their drafting was easily their downfall.
Vitality should look to win through the draft against Misfits. Counterpicking as best as they can will give them a way to push back against the Misfits consistency, and hopefully yield a victory in the end.
Player to Watch: Despite being picked off a few times, Saken has still shown himself to be a playmaker when the need calls for it. With the right champion pick, look for him to step up and be the dynamic lynchpin Vitality need.
Prediction: Vitality win
Have thoughts about Vitality and the LEC? Sound off and let Niko hear it @nms_tgh
Images courtesy of Team Vitality, Origen, and all respective sources.
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