Coming fifth place in a league as competitive as the LEC is nothing to complain about. However, for the players on Team Vitality, a team that went to the World Championships and came so close to making it out of the “Group of Death” in 2018, losing to Fnatic 3-0 in the playoffs is not good enough.
“I want to win the Summer Split and go to the World Championship again, and I’ll do anything it takes to make that happen,” says Amadeu “Attila” Carvalho.
“I thought our performances, mainly in the latter part of the split and in playoffs were quite poor, and not even close to the form of the middle part where we were having a battle for first place with G2 Esports. We definitely have seen many errors and we’re going to do our best to make Summer Split the split where our team will take over.
“I am constantly on a personal goal to keep me hungry and motivated to compete at the highest level possible."
This is a hunger shared by the rest of his team too, of course. Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzyński says he wants to work on his consistency and believes that if he is on top of his game, he can compete with the best in the league.
“We had many problems on many layers and we were stuck at some point,” he says. “We weren't fast enough with resolving them during the season, and a lot of that comes down to the work and training ethic. First of all we need to improve the quality of our scrims.”
Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro had a good split overall, putting in several Player of the Game performances, however, he isn’t happy with how the split turned out either, and wants to improve for summer.
“I’d like to have my first EU final and go to Worlds again, removing the memory of the disappointing split we had. We failed as a team and I also failed individually due to my health issues."
It is certainly frustrating to briefly lose a top player due to health troubles, but coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi believes there’s a lot more to their performances than just that.
“We had a lot of struggles outside the game, health and others that held us back, and we have learned a lot from the process,” he tells us. “The health of the players comes first, and we are more prepared to face unexpected issues. We had a hard time adjusting to the meta and this is something we must work on. We still have our vigour and stamina when it comes to playing the game, and that is a massive strength that is hard to teach.
“We are looking to get better. I still have full faith in the players and we share that value amongst each other. Adjusting to the meta and mastering the basics is something we must continue to strive for and is something that has been difficult for us in the Spring Split.”
Luckily for Vitality, YamatoCannon thinks that what they’ve learned over the split will carry forward into the next one.
“I doubt the meta will change too much,” he says. “Champions will filter in and out but in the end the game has become very open. Everyone kind of plays everything everywhere, so as long as Riot does not overbuff a class of champions the meta should stay in a rock-paper-scissors fashion that encourages strong engage champions and strong laners and junglers.”
It appears most players are fans of the current meta. It encourages a wide champion pool in most positions, and everyone gets to see some interesting team compositions at work. One Vitality player in particular is very happy.
“I think the meta right now is really wide for supports,” says Jactroll. “There are some tier one picks, but I wouldn’t say there is any god tier support right now. A lot depends on counterpicks right now, and I like it that way.”
And while he is remaining tight-lipped on his plans for the next split, Jiizuke assures us that he is excited to be able to break out some surprise pocket picks in his upcoming games.
So what next for Team Vitality? They’ll be watching MSI 2019 knowing that with a few changes, they can get back to that international level. Last year they went to Korea for a bootcamp around this time, this year, they’ll be going to China before the start of the Summer Split.
“We’re going to China soon to train against the best teams in Korea and China,” Attila tells us. “It is a unique situation where we can profit and learn from two dominant regions and improve on our play style to come back stronger than ever into the next split.”
“One year ago when we went to Korea for training purposes, our progress from Spring Split to Summer Split was immense,” says Jactroll. “At least for me, I’ve improved a lot during that time.”
That work and improvement has already begun for Attila: “I’ve been fixing the flaws that I had in the last split, making myself a more complete player. I’ve taken a short break as well to make sure I am going to be at my best level when it’s needed.”
“I am sure Vitality will have a refreshed image of how the team works and plays, and will do much better than the last time,” he says. “We’ll make it to the World Championship, no matter what it takes.”