Team Vitality spent the 2021 offseason building a League of Legends “superteam” that could win any domestic championship they wanted to on paper. But to open the 2022 LEC season, Vitality had to get through the back-to-back defending champions in MAD Lions first.
The star-studded Vitality fell short, though. MAD Lions began their LEC title defense today with a 32-minute win over the most talked-about team of the League offseason.
Just 21 minutes into today’s opening game between the LEC’s reigning champs and the on-paper champions of free agency, MAD Lions had made a statement over Vitality, claiming a gold lead of nearly 10,000 before the mid game ever had the chance to kick off. Just over 10 minutes later, MAD Lions closed up any loose ends and were knocking on Vitality’s Nexus, claiming their first win of 2022.
Largely, MAD Lions seized victory by making the most of a simple yet efficient draft, placing jungler Elyoya and rookie mid laner Reeker on a tried-and-true combination of champions in Diana and Yasuo. The two posted a combined scoreline of 12/2/18 to open the season, with Elyoya already beginning his 2022 LEC campaign with a near-perfect KDA of 18.0 after one game.
On the other side of the Rift, Vitality’s lineup of stars failed to gain any momentum in the early-game portion of today’s season opener. One-time LEC All-Pros in top laner Alphari and mid laner Perkz—both of whom made their return to the LEC stage after playing the 2021 season in North America with Team Liquid and Cloud9, respectively—struggled against the effective topside lineup of MAD Lions from start to finish.
Perkz, in particular, finished the game with a less-than-optimal scoreline of 0/6/4. Today’s loss marked the first time in his career that Perkz has dropped the opening game of a regular season, regardless of which team he’s played for or region he’s played in.
Additionally, Vitality’s fresh-faced AD carry Carzzy played his first LEC game not wearing a MAD Lions uniform today. After bringing his now-rival organization to back-to-back League World Championships in 2020 and 2021, Carzzy was unable to match MAD Lions’ tempo in the later stages of today’s contest.
Tomorrow, MAD Lions will look to extend their early-season winning ways in their second LEC game of the season against SK Gaming. Vitality, on the other hand, will be put to the test once again in a matchup with another title contender, Fnatic.
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