Vitality managed to create a huge fanbase for themselves after their latest showing at Worlds. Despite not advancing out of groups, the aggressive playstyle and unorthodox picks that the utilized made them a fan-favorite and their short run at Worlds is definitely a historic one. Many hoped that the team would stick together but it’s very rare for a team to go completely unchanged, and the same goes for Team Vitality.
The team will be welcoming a new jungler, replacing Kikis, and I think that many fans are quite happy with who the new jungler is. Lee “Mowgli” Jae-ha of the Afreeca Freecs will fill the empty jungle position for the Vitality organization.
Importing Mowgli is by many League fans considered to be quite a surprising move. First of all, he’s a successful Korean jungler and Europe is not really a region with a history of important successful Korean players. They would mostly import Korean rookies as European LCS lacked the financial resources that the NA LCS or LPL have. Secondly, Team Vitality relied a lot on the synergy between the players in order to perform. They were never the best tactically but the players mashed so well that they would come out ahead in situations where that really shouldn’t be possible. Importing a foreign player often jeopardizes this synergy.
However, the import is actually not that surprising at all. During Team Vitality’s stay in Korea, they closely worked together with the Afreeca Freecs. They scrimmed together quite a lot and Vitality, reportedly, stayed at the Afreeca Freecs’ gaming house. The Afreeca Freecs’ players have also stated how much they liked Vitality both in game and in person. Furthermore, Mowgli’s English is quite good compared to most Korean players and thus the language barrier will be less of an issue than that it normally is for imported players.
Overall the transfer is like a match made in heaven. Mowgli’s playstyle will probably fit Vitality’s playstyle very well and he is already familiar with the players. Hopefully, Mowgli will also be able to bring a bit more consistency to the team as this was something that they occasionally struggled with in the past.