This week the EU LCS opened up with Elements vs. Team Vitality. Coming into the 2016 Spring Split, these two teams had polar expectations. Each team is newly created, with rosters that need to figure out what works. Also, it’s apparent from the cultural diversity of these teams that organizations are unique in philosophy. Team Vitality pulled together many individual talents to complete their roster, with a focus on the bottom lane. Each of Team Vitality’s players comes from a different nation — a French top laner, Dutch jungler, Norwegian mid laner, Swedish marksman, and British support. Elements (in the spirit of their name) took four of their five players from different nations. The Elements roster features a Danish and Swedish bottom lane duo, two French solo-laners, and a German jungler.
Team Vitality had their way with Elements in this match. VIT drafted an interesting composition of Champions against Elements. Season 6’s meta-game has dictated that teams begin experimenting with marksman Champions beyond the bottom lane. Jungler marksmen have risen in popularity tremendously in the past few months, and the competitive scene is where it’s most prominent. Graves and Kindred are high priority, and that still leaves Quinn available. Gangplank was left open following the banning phase, which put Team Vitality in tough position after Elements first-picked the pirate for Steve to play. Team Vitality countered by putting Lucian in the top lane against him. Lucian does well to evade Gangplank’s poke damage from barrels because the Lightslinger passive makes disarming Gangplank’s barrels much easier than usual. Lucian can also reposition himself to avoid the large area of effect they have. Steve died to Cabochard’s Lucian as Gankplank for First Blood, and Team Vitality never looked back.
Coming into Week 4, I set my sights on a couple of things; the biggest of which was this match because it featured KaSing versus Strattel, a less mechanically prevalent support player. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the breakout match for Team Vitality that I thought it might be. A soon-to-be-declining Elements teams, I figured, would lose a bloody affair to Vitality. Nonetheless, the result is the same. Team Vitality has been growing quickly. A 1-1 opening week was very fortunate for Team Vitality because a loss to Roccat in the team’s first match left fans unsure of what to believe, but Day 2 provided a great opportunity to for Team Vitality to show what they’re capable of. A victory against Fnatic on Day 2 showed that Team Vitality is not to be overlooked.
It’s been a minute since there’s been a KaSing sighting. KaSing was once one of the most exciting players that the LCS offered, particularly from the support role. However, KaSing hasn’t been himself in several months. He isn’t the play-maker of previous seasons, and hasn’t been since the move to Team SoloMid that fell through resulting in YellOwStaR’s arrival. KaSing still has it in him; the 0/0/15 match was a great example regardless of it being against the under-performing Giants.
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Champion picks are playing the biggest part in hampering KaSing’s production in 2016. KaSing made a name for himself playing Thresh, and his Thresh numbers this Split are solid in his first 3 matches (played against Roccat, Origen, and Giants earning a 5.40 KDA overall). However, the match against Giant heavily skews the reliability given the small sample size. Playing against Giants is becoming a meaningless fixture in the schedule at this point, less than halfway through the Split. When Thresh is picked against KaSing, it denies him any opportunity to play freely because the meta dictates heavy protection with two marksman in a team composition. KaSing has been left to play Morgana, a backline mage. There’s limited play-making potential there.
I’ve said a lot; none of this is to KaSing’s discredit. Team Vitality are 5-2 going into Day 2, and he’s done very well contributing to that. If you watch Team Vitality often, you’ll notice that Hjarnan is always in position to carry matches throughout both the mid and late game stages. KaSing’s effort is prevalent in that. I have, on the other hand, noticed that KaSing is not a pleasure to watch at the moment. That needs to change back before Team Vitality can be a true European contender. When KaSing gets back to peak form, if he gets there, it should enable Team Vitality to finish within playoff position. That was his preseason goal.
Week 5 will be a tough one for Team Vitality, with matches against G2 and Origen. G2’s bottom lane shows signs of disconnection at times, but Origen is a team that’s always looking looking to put gold into their ace marksman, Zven. How might Week 5 go for Team Vitality and KaSing? Tweet @SheenSah to begin discussion.