After the “LEC Superteam” failed to make the Summer Playoffs this year, it appears that Team Vitality are looking to make some major changes for 2023. Consisting of Alphari, Perkz, Carzzy, Labrov, Selfmade, and Haru, Vitality’s superteam missed the mark by margins similar to that of Team Liquid in the LCS.
The Superteam That Couldn’t
With Selfmade as their starting jungler, the team narrowly made the Spring Playoffs with a 9-9 record. Unsurprisingly, they were eliminated in the lower bracket by G2 Esports, who went on to become Spring Champions. Identifying Selfmade as their weakness, Vitality released the former Fnatic star and signed Bo and Haru from the LPL and LCK respectively. Haru earned the starting spot for the Summer Split and accomplished about as much as Selfmade. The team once again went 9-9; however, they lost their tiebreaker against Excel and failed to make the Summer Playoffs.
Although Haru performed much better than Selfmade, the team as a whole lacked the coordination and consistency to compete with the likes of Rogue, G2 Esports, and MAD Lions at the top of the table. Left out of the Summer Playoffs, Team Vitality were afforded an early, albeit unwanted, start to the offseason. Given this head start, Team Vitality have crafted a very strong roster for their 2023 redemption tour.
Headed into 2023, Team Vitality have wasted no time undoing everything they had built in 2022. Although it is not clear if every one of their moves was motivated by underperformances, Alphari’s departure has been confirmed to be of his own volition. Stating that he had lost motivation and had experienced burnout during the 2022 season, Alphari opted not to join a team for Spring 2023, and to instead embrace the offseason until at least Summer. Outside of his exit, Team Vitality released three other players: Carzzy, Haru, and Labrov.
Fixing the Jungle Problem
Once again building their roster around multi-regional superstar Perkz, Team Vitality are hoping to silence their jungle issues once and for all. After being benched in favor of Haru, Bo will finally be making his LEC debut as the starting jungler for 2023. Bo had briefly played as a starter for FPX in 2021; however, his time in the LPL was cut short after he was plagued by allegations of match fixing. He proceeded to take a year off from professional play before accepting a position with Team Vitality last Summer. Although his time in the more competitive LPL was cut short, Bo reached rank 1 in the European server in just 32 days. This level of performance has left many people with the impression that Bo will make a tremendous impact for Team Vitality in the LEC next year.
Promising, but Proven, Young Talent in the Bottom Lane
Despite acquiring one of the best ADCs in the league from 2022, Team Vitality had a very obvious problem in the bottom lane that became obvious as the 2022 season came to a close. Alongside a rookie support from one of the German ERL leagues, former MAD Lions ADC Carzzy failed to perform at the same level as he had in 2021, when MAD Lions won back-to-back championships in the Spring and Summer Splits. Alongside Labrov, who made his LEC debut last season, the two made for a poor combination that could not effectively produce leads for their stars in the middle and top lane.
Despite the failure of this same approach last season, Team Vitality are once again doubling down on a young bottom lane; however, both of their new bottom laners proved themselves in the LEC last year.
Defying all expectations last year, a young and overlooked Misfits roster managed to make back-to-back playoff appearances over teams like Vitality and MAD Lions. This young core placed 3rd and 4th in the Spring and Summer Splits, respectively, and demonstrated much higher levels of play than were expected from such inexperienced players. As a result, Vitality have acquired former Misfits ADC Neon to lead their bottom lane in 2023.
Alongside Neon, Vitality looked to sign a qualified and proven support that was not going to break the bank. Realizing the potential in the Summer 2022 First Team All-Pro LEC Support, they signed Kaiser to help guide Neon in the bottom lane.
Gambling On An Import Rookie Top Laner
Once again gambling on younger players, Team Vitality have signed one of the best top laners from the LCK’s Challengers scene: Photon. Photon has been playing professional league since 2019, when he signed with Gen.G Academy, the academy team of one of the strongest teams in the LCK. After a year with the team, he was promoted to the Challengers league, where he signed with Liiv Sandbox Challengers. Although his team was not very good, he was a top performer, garnering the attention of T1 Challengers. After earning a spot on the Challengers team for the most accomplished and prestigious organization in League of Legends history, Photon became the best top laner in the league.
With the second-highest KDA in Spring and the highest KDA in Summer, Photon showed enough promise to capture the attention of Team Vitality. Although he likely received offers from weak LPL and LCK teams, Photon chose to sign with Vitality for the 2023 LEC season.