Team Vitality announced Wednesday that Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema will be returning to the team’s starting lineup at the jungler position, replacing Min-su “Mightybear” Kim, a new signee for the team.
When Vitality formed before the start of the 2016 EU LCS Spring Split, it did so with a roster strong enough earn the reputation of being a “super team,” bringing in star players from H2K, ROCCAT, Gambit Gaming and Copenhagen Wolves and finishing in third place in the regular season.
After a disappointing early exit in the playoffs, Vitality made two roster changes the following offseason, bringing in Korean imports Mightybear at the jungler position and Hyeong-gi “Police” Park at AD Carry. That meant benching former starters Shook and Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss (the latter of whom Vitality said wanted a break from the game).
Fast forward four weeks into the season, and Vitality is in sixth place, with a disappointing 1-5-2 series record. The team has shuffled between Police and young Danish prospect Victor “Reje” Eriksen at AD Carry, and while some of the individual parts have looked good, the team as a whole has lacked the cohesion that the teams at the top of Europe’s table have shown.
Vitality hopes the move will help the team’s overall play as it pushes for an outside bid at Worlds. Mightybear will remain with the team as a substitute.
From the release:
Shook, who started to train again with the team, comes back to his starter position within the squad. His desire to compete again in the League of Legends World Championship is intact. His time spent playing the game with the majority of the team is also a non-negligible part. We therefore hope that adding a new piece in the puzzle will allow Vitality to take a new dimension in the regular season.
Mightybear’s 2.6 KDA ranked seventh out of 10 European junglers this split. While he is tied with Jankos for first place with a 50 percent First Blood participation, he has also far trailed behind his European rivals in warding, ranked seventh in wards placed per minute and ninth in wards cleared per minute.
Vitality will face FC Schalke 04 and Splyce this week, the two teams directly above them in the European standings.