Team Vitality took the first step towards escaping the promotion tournament on Thursday when they slammed the Mysterious Monkeys in a 2-0 victory to begin Week 8 of the European League of Legends Championship Series.
Both teams sit comfortably in the bottom of Group A, but with the victory, Team Vitality (4-5, 9-11 match record) needs only to look up the standings to see Splyce (4-3, 8-8 match record) tied with Vitality, but also has two fewer games played. For the Mysterious Monkeys (2-7, 4-15 match record), on the other hand, this defeat is tantamount to the last nail in the coffin. They now need to win every match remaining in the season and pray that both Splyce and Team Vitality lose all of their upcoming matches, or it'll be doomed to face relegation in the promotion tournament.
The series was one that hinged on the fundamentals, as neither team opted into a strategy any more complex than simple teamfighting. Team Vitality proved far stronger in such a game, however, as it has overall stronger laners and better communication, which proved to be a decisive advantage that the Monkeys simply couldn't match. While the Monkeys certainly had its moments -- an early gank and tower kill in Game 2 made it look like the Monkeys had a shot at a Game 3 -- it simply couldn't keep pace with the more experienced Vitality. When push came to shove, it was always Vitality that came up on top, no matter how well the Monkeys set up its plays ahead of time.
The MVP of the series was, to the surprise of few, Team Vitality's mid laner, Erlend "Nukeduck" Vatevik Holm. In both games he not only handled his opposite number, Sofyan "CozQ" Rechchad, in lane, he also managed to out-damage every other player in the game. Considering he played a poke champion in both games -- Corki in the first, and Jayce in the second -- his high damage output wouldn't normally come as a surprise, but when you consider that Game 1 featured a hypercarry AD carry on each side of the Rift it become a bit more impressive.
Team Vitality will face H2k-Gaming Friday at 11 a.m. ET, a match that will be crucial for Vitality's efforts to break into the top three of Group A. The Mysterious Monkeys will face its next test much sooner, however, as it takes on the Unicorns of Love at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday.