Splyce takes down Vitality in third-place match

Members of Splyce stand on stage before facing off against Team Vitality in the European League Championship Series third-place match. Provided by Riot Games

Team Vitality fought tooth and nail but ultimately fell to Splyce 3-2 in the third-place match of the European League Championship Series spring split on Saturday.

There were two constants throughout this neck-and-neck series. The first, oddly, was that the two teams remained on their respective sides the whole series, with Vitality opting for blue side and Splyce preferring red. The second was the outstanding performance of Splyce's mid laner, Yasin "Nisqy" Dincer. Despite taking a backseat in Game 1 to Vitality AD carry Amadeu "Minitroupax" Carvalho, Nisqy's Zoe went 5/1/1 (kills/deaths/assists) for perfect kill participation, a sign of things to come.

When Vitality opted to drop its Cassiopeia ban from the previous game, Nisqy pounced. After receiving first blood in a gank from jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir on Skarner, he proceeded to single-handedly take over the game. Nisqy found kill after kill, including two solo kills onto Vitality mid laner Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro's Taliyah, to go 6/0/0 in Splyce's first seven kills in just 15 minutes. Even when he gave up one of his team's two deaths in the game, Nisqy found two kills for himself in the 1 vs. 5, allowing his team to push into the base and end in 23 minutes.

Nisqy's commanding play continued into the early part of Game 3 on Azir, as he overtook Jiizuke's Taliyah in creep score, a lead that only increased as the game continued. Jiizuke, however, found a rare chance to strike back and landed an immaculate three-man Seismic Shove on top of Unraveled Earth to grant Vitality the Baron at 30 minutes and the win in 36. When Jiizuke finally pivoted off of Taliyah and onto Azir for Game 4, Nisqy couldn't find a farm advantage but used Zoe to find picks for his team in both the early and late game that forced a deciding Game 5.

Vitality gave Cassiopeia back to Nisqy for the closing game, and while he didn't have the same early game as before, the champion was deadly in teamfights. A back-and-forth mid game left things close at the 30-minute mark, but the damage of Nisqy and AD carry Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup on Tristana, backed up by the shields of Xerxe's Ivern, granted Splyce teamfight wins and multiple Barons. Desperate to come back into the game, Vitality approached the Elder Drake at 42 minutes, only to have Splyce backdoor, using Tristana's tower-killing prowess to take the series.

For Team Vitality, a fourth-place finish represents something of a disappointment -- meanwhile, Splyce will likely be content with third place and a spot at Rift Rivals.

--Brendan Hickey