After a last place finish in the League of Legends European Championships spring split, Team Vitality revamped their coaching staff, bringing in Mateusz “Tasz” Borkowski. The Vitality Bee Academy team coach, who hadn’t yet gained LEC experience, was thrown straight into the action as new players signed to the team. When asked about becoming Vitality’s head coach, Tasz said it happened fast. He’d just finished from the EU Masters and then jumped straight into the summer split.
“Generally it is quite difficult to make significant changes from spring to summer,” Tasz said “since many contracts are still in place and you need to look mostly at ERLs when looking for new players and coaches.”
However, the support Tasz received from Team Vitality helped the fast transition. He also got the freedom to make decisions on the people he works with. The choice to pick Louis-Victor “Mephisto” Legendre and Andre “Realistik” Ruse as part of the coaching staff was because of his belief that he could form a strong coaching unit with them. Also, the fact that he knew Mephisto for several years made him confident in becoming Vitality’s head coach.
Managing the Vitality offseason hype
Vitality entered the summer split with arguably one of the best offseasons, given the roster changes they made. They garnered a lot of hype surrounding the mid lane- jungle duo of Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov and Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek. Tasz noted that he also felt the ceiling for the team was very high but they needed to work more.
“There was a running joke when the roster was announced that we would either be last or make Worlds,” he said. “One of the steps I took towards pushing the team forward was acquiring Realistik from mousesports.”
Realistik was already familiar with Selfmade and Juš “Crownshot” Marušič from his time in SK Gaming. Moreover, after just finishing a split with LIDER in mousesports, having him with the player made perfect sense.
Why the Szygenda- SLT Swap?
Team Vitality’s decision to swap top laners in mid split did not sit well with many in the LEC community. Some felt it was a rushed decision on the organization’s part. However, Tasz explained that he felt confident that Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen was ready to return to the LEC.
When Szygenda was sent to the Vitality Bee team, the plan was for him to improve. Tasz’s decision on this swap was based on interviews with other players and staff members, spring split research and watching VODs and scrims. He also previously worked with Szygenda in AGO Rogue and believed that he could fulfill the expectations of playing the LEC.
Furthermore, he stated that Enzo “SLT” Gonzalez was a hardworking rookie with huge potential but needed time to develop. They provided SLT with a positional coach and additional attention from Realistik to ease his transition to the LEC. Besides this, SLT also played 1v1s with Szygenda to learn about certain matchups.
However, Tasz stated that it wasn’t possible for him to expand his skillset in time and build team synergy. Nevertheless, he still believes in SLT’s development and a strong return to the LEC stage.
On whether the swap was permanent, Tasz said, “There is always the potential of making changes. However, with the game schedule ahead of us, we want to make sure we put full focus on Szygenda and give him the tools he needs.”
Getting past inconsistency in the LEC
While Vitality have caused upsets in the summer split, they still remain out of playoffs contention. This inconsistency, and their positioning in games, is something Tasz also hopes to overcome with the roster.
“As a team, we have high highs and low lows,” Tasz said. “And we have shown both in the majority of games we played so far this split. We are currently doing everything we can to make sure we work on specifics.”
On the poor team fights positioning, Tasz stated that they had they had the habit of getting ahead of themselves and skipping key game setups. This flaw resulted in fights with numbers, disadvantages or bad positioning.
LEC playoffs are Vitality’s goal
Heading into the final week of the LEC summer split, Vitality hope to secure the last spot. However, they face an uphill battle with Astralis, SK Gaming and Excel fighting for that same spot. Also, after their loss to Excel Esports last week, their fate is no longer in their hands. Regardless of the situation, Tasz remains positive for the games to come.
“It’s now all about putting everything we have learned into practice and making sure we can reliably apply them when it counts,” he said.