Team Vitality vs SK Gaming
For our first match of the day, we have a pretty interesting clash between Team Vitality and SK Gaming. Now, had this clash happened in Spring, we would've been a whole lot more excited. This time around, however, there's not much hype overall. Or any at all, rather.
This is basically a fight between a playoff contender (SK Gaming), and a team that had a seismic fall from grace (Vitality). But before delving deeper into the clash itself, let's take a closer look at each competing team.
Vitality were coming into the 2019 Summer Spit with a fair bit of hype. They were a Top 3 team for the majority of the most recent Spring Split, but for one reason or another, they were unable to maintain their position and ultimately ended near the bottom of the playoffs. The meta changed and so did their chances of attaining victory. Cabochard was no longer able to dominate seeing how Urgot wasn't as potent of a pick, Jiizuke had a couple of health issues, and their bottom lane was as inconsistent as humanly possible.
Still, they retained much of what we loved about their playstyle, and even though they ultimately failed to leave a mark in Spring, everyone knew they would be back in Summer looking for redemption. Everyone knew they would prepare and dominate from the very get-go.
And yet everyone was wrong. Perhaps that's even an understatement. Vitality entered the split looking like the worst and least capable team in the region. And that's really saying something. But seeing how every other team upgraded across the board -- even the likes of Excel Esports and Rogue -- Vitality really didn't have anything new to offer, regardless of the current meta. They were slow, passive, always second to react. They were scattered across the board, their team fighting was abysmal, their target selection awful, and their individual play left a lot to be desired as well.
Perhaps that's the one thing that shocked us the most. The fact that they simply couldn't win on an individual level even though we know just how strong and mechanically gifted most of these players are. We've been watching them play and (mostly) dominate for quite a long time now, and yet this felt like a completely different team.
They're currently sitting at a staggeringly bad 1W-4L record, and even though they could improve over time and perhaps even get back to their prior form, they're in no position to challenge for the playoffs and are currently regarded as a bottom tier team. That's shocking, in and of itself, but it's the reality.
They are, however, coming into today's match after a dominant showing against Excel Esports, so they at least have something going for them. That's not exactly much, nor does it build any hype or momentum, but again, it's at least something. They've broken their losing streak and should be able to slowly improve over the next couple of weeks.
SK Gaming, on the other hand, haven't skipped a beat ever since the Summer Split began. They're currently rocking three wins and just two losses, and seeing how they had quite a challenging strength of schedule up to this point, that's highly commendable, to say the least.
They've just dismantled Misfits gaming in incredible fashion. It was a slow game but SK always made the right moves at the right time. They were in control and never let up. Their aggression was fantastic, and they made almost zero mistakes. For a team that is still so young, that's an incredible achievement. They played around their team comp and executed their win condition to a tee. Even their new top laner Sacre played out of his mind and is slowly becoming a real threat as far as LEC top laners are concerned. Now, whether or not SK has what it takes in order to challenge the status quo still remains to be seen.
But one thing is for sure -- they're exceptional in many facets of play and are deceptively strong right now. Everyone is considering them as a lock for the playoffs and with good reason. While they don't have a unique playstyle per se, the way they move around the map, the way they set up objectives and fight for every inch of the map is a breath of fresh air. They're a fantastic team filled with and promising players, and they're all fighting to make a name for themselves.
In the end, we simply have to side with SK Gaming on this one. They have more tools to work with at this point, they've done more over the last three weeks and they deserve our full benefit of the doubt. Whether or not they end up dominating Vitality is a completely different matter, but the odds are on their side, and with good reason.