The quarterfinal series of the European League Championship Series went to five games, and it was the upstarts of Vitality who clinched a spot in the semifinals Saturday by defeating H2k Gaming.
It didn't take long for Vitality to jump out to a series lead, as it knocked down its opposition in 27 minutes to win Game 1. The quick start was thanks in large part to jungler Erberk "Gilius" Demir, who found two successful ganks in the first four minutes of the game to set his team up for success. As a result, his Trundle would pile onto the assault, participating in each of Vitality's first five kills. That enabled mid laner Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro to effectively roam on Taliyah from Level 6 onward, making plays in the bottom lane multiple times. It was Jiizuke's triple kill in the final fight that enabled Vitality to earn the win, finishing with a 6/0/4 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) and 11,800 damage.
H2k attempted to counter the aggressive offense with a slow and calculated approach in Game 2. While the contest lacked action, the highlight came when H2k managed to steal the Baron near the 27-minute mark, using the buff to open up Vitality's base. Effective split push from top laner Lennart "SmittyJ" Warkus' Camille pulled Vitality around the map, and a second Baron secure near the 35-minute mark essentially ended the game from there. AD carry Patrick "Sheriff" Jiru was H2k's most dynamic player, participating in 92 percent of the team's kills, while dishing out 37,300 in damage on Jhin.
Game 3 was a back-and-forth affair as Vitality dominated the opening 20 minutes, with H2k coming back in the mid game. It wouldn't be until the 45-minute mark before either team gained a resounding advantage, with Vitality coming out on top after taking Baron and Elder Dragon in succession. With both buffs in hand, Vitality marched down mid lane, picked up two kills, and rolled through H2k's base to take down the Nexus and put themselves within one map win of a playoff victory.
But the back-and-forth nature continued into Game 4, where H2k would gain a quick edge. Thanks to a quadra kill from mid laner Marcin "Selfie" Wolski's Kassadin -- which eventually turned into an ace near the 18-minute mark -- H2k would immediately take Baron. The writing was written on the wall, as H2k charged through Vitality's base just minutes later for the quickest map win of the series.
With the series on the line, it was Vitality AD carry Amadeu "Minitroupax" Carvalho, on Tristana, who stepped up to help his team claim victory. On the back of a 7/2/3 KDA, Minitroupax repeatedly paid dividends in teamfights, scaling to dangerous levels before the 30-minute mark. It would take two Baron buffs, one near the 23-minute mark and another closer to 30 minutes, before Vitality could finally crack into H2k's base.
Vitality will square off with Fnatic next Saturday at 12 p.m. ET, with a trip to the spring split finals on the line, while H2k will begin preparations for the Summer Split.