The LEC offseason between the 2023 Winter Split and the Spring Split continues. Team Vitality has revealed a change in its bot lane one week before the next leg of the competition starts. Matúš “Neon” Jakubčík, who joined the team for the 2023 season, now sits on the bench. In his place, Vitality has signed former Fnatic bot laner Elias “Upset” Lipp.
In the brief announcement, Vitality states, “We have just finished the best regular split in our history in which Neon has been a major contributor to our success. Throughout this time he showed us an exemplary work ethic and showed us his worth as a player in the roster. Nevertheless, Upset’s profile has imposed itself on our team to bring in better balance and more adapted performance. We believe that our journey to victory involves these kinds of tough decisions that a club must take.”
Mixed results in the LEC
Vitality makes the swift change after a tumultuous start to the LEC year. In the best-of-one stage, Vitality clutched out a few close games by playing explosively. It put the team in a position to contend for first place in the Round Robin—a place they eventually conceded to MAD Lions.
In the subsequent Group Stage, Vitality faltered. They managed to win a close best-of-three series against Team Heretics in the first round. Then, reigning LEC champion KOI exposed the team’s flaws and sent Vitality to the lower bracket with an 0-2 score. Bad turned to worse, as Vitality was eliminated by SK Gaming in yet another 0-2 series, and the team dropped out in fifth place.
Throughout the Winter Split, Vitality’s bot lane was subjected to a lot of criticism. In a bot lane-focused meta, Neon and his support player Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser seemed to struggle a lot against the opposition. Kaiser later commented on that, saying, “I think we had some really rough games, for sure. Part of it is that we’re not really comfortable in the meta. We have some champions we are really good with, but those are not champions you can pick in every situation. We should have practiced more of the meta champs, I think, and stick with them.”