Team Vitality came out alive and victorious against Excel in today’s 2022 LEC Spring Split Playoffs matchup. In the first series to go to five games, the two teams battled it out in evenly matched clashes, with several tables turned during the games.
This is the first match to mark a team’s farewell from the LEC Spring Split Playoffs. Excel were the first to bow out of the competition after their debut on this stage of the European competition. However, they didn’t go down without giving Vitality a few heavy blows first, shattering the heart of a team that came to the lower bracket fearless.
Game one saw both teams fighting for the first point of the series with all they had. The gold lead was very low throughout the game despite the high gap in kills for one team and neutral objectives collected for the other. However, Excel began creating impressive plays thanks mostly to their win-condition bot lane formed by Jinx and Lulu. They also stunned Virality opponents with a phenomenal performance from both Markoon and Finn, which installed a slow but steady domination in the Rift. Showing mechanical excellence and impressive team cohesion, Excel took their first win in the LEC Playoffs by destroying Vitality’s Nexus in the first game of the series.
However, Vitality were not intimidated either by the first victory in the hands of the opponents or by the advantageous early game Excel had in the second game of the series. Despite Excel’s vast map control—thanks to their jungler’s tangible impact that in the game—Vitality snatched every neutral objective and the upper hand in the game. By turning every mistake and slip made by Excel into an advantage for themselves, Vitality took game two, bringing the series score to 1-1.
Similarly to the second game of the series, Excel stepped into the Rift for the third game confident of their abilities, gaining control of the early game thanks to the huge impact of their jungler and their effective roams throughout the map.
Vitality again turned the tables in the mid-game, getting kills and gold leads on their opponents. This time, though, Excel didn’t let victory slip through their fingers, fighting for every bit of advantage they could find on the map and preparing for a decisive fight. Annihilating the entire Vitality team in one strike, Excel melted the structures defending the opponent’s base, collapsing the Nexus and getting their second win of this series.
The game that could have decreed a victory for Excel only highlighted Vitality’s presence in these LEC Playoffs. Although Excel once again gained great advantages in the early game, Vitality had become accustomed to the strategies of their opponents and crushed them easily in what was the shortest game of the series, ending in Excel’s base at only 27 minutes.
The notes of Silver Scrapes sounded in the Berlin studio, marking the first game five of the 2022 Spring Split. From the beginning, fans and players were aware that this game was do-or-die for both teams. But the prospect of elimination became much more concrete at the start of the fifth game.
Vitality didn’t delay a bloodbath to stay alive and got the first blood in the top lane as result of a clear and well-executed gank. Unlike the previous games, Vitality were very aggressive in the early game, trying to limit the possibility of scaling the late-game composition of their opponents. Their tactics brought results: Excel started making mistakes, aiding their opponents in creating and extending their own leads. Although Excel got their first neutral targets on both sides of the map, Vitality struck them hard, constantly rotating into bot and top lane and performing hefty combinations to damage their opponents’ structures.
At the 20-minute mark, Vitality had both a gold and kill advantage and widened the gap between them and Excel after each teamfight. The massive damage difference between the two teams was evident in the final phase of the game, concluded after an exhausting siege at Excel’s base.
Despite the defeat, Excel held their heads high in their first appearance in the European Playoffs, nearly snatching the series against the team who went into the season as one of the superteams to beat.
Vitality’s hopes remain alive. Thanks to this win, they will move on to the next match in the lower bracket. They will face G2 Esports on April 1, who lost their match in the upper bracket to Fnatic 3-1 yesterday. Although they advanced to the next round, this victory from Vitality exposed the vulnerabilities of the team that will now have to face a team that is far from new to the playoffs of the European scene.
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