Going back to work for an extra day is never easy, but if you’re Team Vitality, you enjoyed every single second. Team Vitality was the breakout team of the second half of the Summer Split and smashed the tiebreakers on Sunday, earning themselves second place and that coveted bye week. For FC Shalke 04 and G2 Esports, it’s back to the drawing board. Both teams have to play in the first round of the Playoffs.
Coming into the weekend, S04 had the upper hand with their matchups. While Vitality and G2 had to play each other, S04 just had to beat Splyce and H2K to secure the second place spot. However, H2K had other plans, and made the H2-16 meme come true. Vitality secured their sixth straight win with an evisceration of G2, and Misfits continued their freefall, forcing a three-way tie for second place.
Clearly, Fnatic and Team Vitality are the top dogs heading into the Playoffs. Everyone has heard about Fnatic. They have some great synergy and really just have one challenge to thresh out over the next two weeks: integrating Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Rekkles adds even more styles for the first place EU squad, allowing the team to confidently play ADCs in the bottom lane.
Team Vitality is the biggest surprise of the Summer Split. The squad ended the season on a 7-1 run, beating every team but S04. The surge coincides with the addition of Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek in the jungle position. Kikis hasn’t wowed with mechanics, but seems to have given Vitality a renewed sense of confidence. The team’s calling card is its early game. If Team Vitality find any lead, they snowball to victory, smashing every single lane and using pressure around the map tremendously well.
While mid laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro hasn’t had an outstanding Split, ADC Amadeu
“Attila” Carvalho has been fantastic. Attila has performed on almost every champion he has played and found ways to stand out even in losses. Attila has positioned incredibly well and has really been a breath of fresh air for Vitality. Even if the team cannot smash the early game, Attila is ready to answer the call in the late game. The second place squad is really never out of a game and looks like a completely different team from the first half of the Split.
In all honesty, there is an argument to be made that Vitality are the favorites to win the Summer Split. The team is peaking at the right time and is playing with an extreme confidence. Unlike Fnatic, they really know who they are and who they like to play around. Only time will tell, but both teams are incredibly scary and peaking at the correct time.
Luckily for Misfits and G2, one team actually gets to move onto the Semifinals. Both teams have struggled in the second half of the Summer Split and limp into the Playoffs.
Misfits look like one of the worst teams in Europe. After a 9-0 start, the team now sits and 11-7 and finished with the same record as H2K in the second half of the Split. The team’s singular problem is well known: they have an inability to win the late game. With the changing meta, Misfits haven’t been able to snowball games and find any sort of success in the late game.
The team just looks completely lost, even subbing in assistant coach Jesse “Jesiz” Le in the support role. Misfits don’t seem to know what to draft and can’t execute in games against any competition. The team is in dire need of a jolt and a confident boost. Time is running out.
Even with G2 struggling there is a silver lining, the team knows who to play around. Luka “Perkz” Perkovic has been on form the entire year and has done everything in his power to carry G2 to victory. However, the rest of the team hasn’t been up the task. The meta shift to tank top laners has hurt Martin “Wunder” Hansen and Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski has looked lost in the jungle.
G2 should be the favorites heading into the round. G2 have always performed against Misfits and while they went 1-1 in the Summer Split, it was G2’s only loss to Misfits since 2017. G2 always has a way of turning it on in the Playoffs. Expect Misfits’s free fall to continue and for G2 to move onto the Semifinals.
The Late Game Kings
There are plenty of similarities between S04 and Splyce, but two main points stand out. Both teams are carried by their mid laners and both teams love to take games into late game. However, S04 are the more well-rounded team and have shown more ways to win.
Splyce are quite straightforward: if the games goes late, they have a chance. The team plays around their mid laner, Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer, and relies on Raymond “kaSing” Tsang to make plays around the map. Top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu has his moments, but Nisqy is the true carry. Look for S04 to target mid early and often.
S04 rightfully earned the third place spot in the playoffs and could have had a bye if it wasn’t for H2K and the surging Vitality. Erlend “Nukeduck” Vatevik Holm has gotten much of the accolades for S04 and it is all deserved. Nukeduck boasts a massive champion pool perfect for the meta and can still outplay in a counter matchup. The bot lane of Elias “Upset” Lipp and Oskar “Vander” Bogdan are a steady force, but Vander rarely leaves his ADC’s side. Top laner Tamas “Vizicsacsi” Kiss has been incredible all Split, especially on Poppy. However, the team’s boost in play has come from the addition of Maurice “Amazing” Stuckenschneider. Amazing has given S04 another voice and a veteran presence. While he never carries a game, he is a consistent force that controls vision and does his job well.
S04 can win in the early game and still makes great shot calls in the late game. If anyone is going to challenge Vitality or Fnatic, look to S04. In the summer split, S04 dispatched Splyce with ease, winning both matchups. Simply put, S04 is a superior version of Splyce. It will be a tough task for Splyce to pull of the upset.