Welcome to the third LEC preview here at Gromp News. Now that All-Stars is finished it’s time to focus again on the new European Franchise system next split. If you haven’t seen the previous two articles then basically we will be going in-depth into all ten teams who will be participating.
As more and more rosters start to be announced, unless your SK Gaming, the picture of who are the top teams is starting to shape up. With roster-mania running wild in League of Legends, we are seeing teams rebuild their squads completely. Well… unless your Vitality.
So let’s have a look at the very familiar, Team Vitality!
YamatoCannon remains at the helm of Team Vitality for the upcoming split. Given his performance for the organisation in recent seasons, it seemed like a no-brainer to keep the former Splyce coach in charge. After taking a team of misfits (but not THE Misfits) to worlds in a couple of splits is remarkable. This isn’t saying that the players themselves weren’t considered LCS (now LEC) quality at the time. But, more the fact that they were relatively unknown and inexperienced unless you’re talking about Cabochard. YamatoCannon can arguably be considered one of the best coaches in Europe if not in the west. So, his contract expiring at the end of Worlds must have worried a few Vitality fans. There is no doubt that he would have had offers to coach elsewhere. But, he remained faithful and stayed with the team for the foreseeable future.
One minor change that did occur backstage is the announcement of Leggifant as the team’s new team manager. Little is known about Leggifant and the move comes slightly as a shock considering he hasn’t been in a managerial role for an organisation this size before. However, you may have seen his face around as he was a former LCS Referee before making the move to Vitality. It will be interesting if the dynamics behind the scenes change, as previous manager LeLfe has moved to Head of Scouting. Vitality has famously been an organisation which thrives off finding hidden talents. Their academy team proves that as they won the French national circuit last year. To conclude on the staff changes, while these names appear new to us at Gromp News, you have to trust the organisation’s decisions to bring in a new Team Manager for now and YamatoCannon’s re-signing should get rid of those nerves. But, despite their decent backroom staff, are the players any good?
New season, Similar team
Mid Laner: Jizuke
With four members of Team Vitality last split remaining with the organisation, they have made the least roster moves in the LEC. Given their season last year it’s not a surprise that they have decided to keep things going the way they are. Before we talk about the new kid on the block it’s important to note how vital it was for the French side to keep hold of Jizuke, Atilla and Jacktroll.
These three last split took the world by storm. Their constant aggressive nature and willingness to take on the biggest sides like G2 and Fnatic was a major factor in their success and performance at Worlds. Despite not making it out of groups, Jizuke was one of the best performing Mid Laners in the west and possibly was wanted by a few teams in EU and NA. At the end of it all, he decided to stick with essentially the same squad in 2018. Atilla (formerly Minitroupax) and Jacktroll are going into their third year as a Bot Lane partnership having played together for Giants Gaming in 2017. Each year it seems their synergy grows and keeping the duo together is a smart decision for cohesion and stability within the roster. With Jizuke, Jacktroll, and Atilla being clearly a three-man package throughout their professional League careers, they may be able to keep their form going against less cohesive teams. And then we have Cabochard.
Or should we say Mr. Consistency. Cabochard is the heart and soul of Team Vitality having joined them way back in 2015. Throughout the reincarnations of this side, he has remained the constant player in the starting lineup. This shows his importance to the side on the rift and off it. In fact, he is the third longest serving player for a current team in Europe’s top league, having joined in the same year as Perkz for then Gamers2 and Rekkles’ second stint at Fnatic. What he holds in experience he also backs up with his in-game skill, making him constantly one of the better Top Laners in the league for quite a while.
Last split was a difficult time for Vitality’s Junglers. Gilius failed to live up to his spring split potential and Kikis was only seen as a short-term option over the summer. Even though Kikis fully deserves his recognition for his performances with Vitality. He appeared outclassed on an international stage. It seems that the French side also believed that yet another change needed to happen in the jungle. So when in doubt, buy a Korean and that is what they have done with Mowgli. many would consider Mowgli to be the substitute Jungler for Spirit at Afreeca Freecs. Still, he did play in the LCK last split rotating with his fellow jungler. Much like many Koreans, his mechanical ability is insane. The main issue will be the communication and language barrier. Junglers are generally regarded as one of the shot-callers in a team. However, this acquisition clearly shows that players like Jacktroll or Cabochard will be leading the sides calls. We here at Gromp News do not know how good of an English speaker Mowgli is if he speaks any at all. Still, even with these reservations, they have signed a young Jungler who will certainly be willing to prove why he should have been given the opportunity to represent Afreeca at worlds, not Spirit.
Is Vitality playing it safe?
Possibly. But, that could be the smartest thing in what will be a season full of new players who have never played in the league. While Mowgli is certainly their risk. The fact that they have four players who know the org and their team inside and out gives them a huge advantage over some of the teams, who will still be getting to adapt to each other in the Spring split. Overall, this side, much like other teams in the LEC is solid. If Jizuke can continue his form from Worlds, then Team Vitality could certainly be dark horses this season.
Predicted finish: 4th/5th
By Tom Daniels