Vitality 2022 LEC Team Breakdown: The Biggest Spenders
Team Vitality will enter 2022 with one of the best and most stacked lineups in LEC history. That, however, doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to dominate or etch their names in history — far from it. On paper, they have all the right tools and weapons to mop the floor with the vast majority of their peers and leave a lasting mark, but things aren’t always as simple as they might seem.
Superteams rarely pan out. We know that for a fact and have more than enough empirical evidence to back up such a claim. The explanation as to why often varies wildly. Whenever a bunch of top-tier players (nay, legends) are assembled under one roof, things tend to get out of hand. Most of them have vastly different ideas on how the game should be played. They all want agency, priority in the draft, ample resources, and — if possible — jungle attention. Playing the weak side and getting carried doesn’t come easy on the ego, even though such a role is of the utmost importance in competitive League and is often undervalued and overlooked by the uninitiated.
Vitality wanted the absolute best players they could get and, to their credit, they’ve succeeded admirably. This, for all intents and purposes, is a superteam, a line-up of immense depth and talent, and also a team that could, by all means, go down in history should everyone get on the same page and execute to the best of their ability.
With that being said, one could argue that there’s perhaps a bit too much hype around Team Vitality, and not all of it is warranted. On paper they’re absolutely sublime, but what have these players done lately to deserve such momentum?
Far From Perfect
Luka “Perkz” Perković had an uncharacteristically shoddy 2021. A few stellar games aside, he’s been fairly mediocre — and the insane amount of money he got for his efforts obviously didn’t do much to motivate him. He was by no means the best performing mid laner in North America and, frankly, we all expected more from the Croatian legend. Was the transition from EU to NA too much for him to handle? Or is he past his prime? Maybe he’s burnt out after so many years of absolute dominance — what else does he have to try hard and fight for?
This is an important thing for one to ponder, even though there’s no definitive answer in sight (not yet, at least). In any case, it isn’t a good look. Signing, say, Marek “Humanoid” Brázda would make a lot more sense at this point in time — he’s only now starting to peak and still has a few exceptional years left in him before (potentially) declining. He’s not as hype a signing as Perkz, but the odds of him delivering are much higher.
We simply cannot consider Perkz as a Top 3 mid laner upon his return. We’re not doubting his talents or ability to compete at the highest of levels, but he first needs to prove himself before getting the benefit of the doubt.
And, frankly, much of the same can be said for Barney “Alphari” Morris. We know he’s an absolute laning behemoth but his stint with Team Liquid left quite a sour taste in one’s mouth. A good chunk of it (presumably) wasn’t his fault, but his play nonetheless deteriorated as time went on. Whether that’s because he was no longer motivated to compete or because of something else still remains to be seen, but he didn’t end the 2021 competitive season on a high note. Far from it.
Will Perkz and Alphari step up and deliver? The odds are definitely on their side, but it might not be as big of a home run as Vitality is hoping for.
A Lot of Potential… Obviously
It doesn’t take a genius to notice that this 2022 Vitality line-up has a metric ton of potential and could, by all means, ascend the LEC throne. And, well, if everyone “clicks” and gets on the same page, we might not have to wait long to see them get showered in confetti.
With that being said, they’ll face some pretty stiff opposition. Fnatic and G2 Esports will be their biggest and most threatening adversaries and, well, Vitality is not guaranteed to come out on top (even though they undeniably have more hype than their peers).
You can already sense their M.O.; they’ll start aggressively posturing from the very moment they spawn on the Rift. They have incredible mechanics and more than enough talent — and they know it, too. They’ll look for plays, dive whenever possible, and look to set up as many skirmishes as they possibly can all in the attempt to create an insurmountable lead early on and then snowball out of control. They’re the Team Vitality of yore but on steroids. They have more game knowledge, more experience, they’ve played on the biggest of stages and have already achieved great things, both regionally and internationally as well. They’re not as one-dimensional as their forerunners and have a much wider gamut of playstyles and strategies they can utilize.
But much of the same can be said for Fnatic as well. They’ve upgraded in all three positions and have managed to retain one of the best bottom lane duos in all of Europe. Who’s better pound for pound still remains to be seen, but one simply has to give Fnatic the slightest of edges. As for G2 Esports, it’s still a bit too early to talk about their potential, but one thing’s for certain: they’re all but guaranteed to put up a fight and challenge for a spot at the top.
Vitality is one of the biggest favorites to claim the LEC throne in 2022, but we nonetheless need to temper our expectations. Just because they’ve landed three phenomenal players doesn’t mean success will follow by default. In other words: they’re not the only ones with a fighting chance; last but certainly not least, Team Vitality doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to player management and that’s something worth keeping in mind.
The LEC returns to action on January 14, 2022, so we’ll get our questions answered (and doubts potentially alleviated) in just a few weeks!