AoD Stages Competitive Comeback, Will Start for Vitality

by James Bates

(Photo: Team Vitality)

To those whose attention is limited solely to the LCS, the name Baltat "AoD' Alin-Ciprian may be an unfamiliar one. Has he not chosen to drop competitive League of Legends in the interest of advancing his education back in 2014, that may well have not been the case. At the time he was the starting support for a team that was considered a shoe-in for the LCS and that quickly became a mainstay at the top tables once it got there. That team was H2k-Gaming, a team that has gone on to competitive fame in the intervening years with back-to-back trips to Worlds. Many wondered why H2k looked so out of sorts when they first ascended to the LCS, and AoD's unexpected departure along with that of Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten for Fnatic was the source.

Now the Romanian support will have an opportunity to prove what might have been, as he will take to the rift today in the silver and black of Team Vitality, a team who has found it's fortunes waning this split after undershooting their potential for all of last year. No one has a particularly clear idea of what we can expect from AoD, as the last time he took to the rift in a competitive game of League of Legends was all the way back in 2014, and the game has changed quite a bit since then. Imagine, the last time AoD played a competitive game was before the introduction of the gold generating support items that now serve as a keystone of every support's itemization. That's how long it's been since we've seen AoD.

While his fan's expectations are high, a dose of skepticism might be called for here. AoD is taking to the stage on a team that's been struggling mightily this split, and the struggles don't seem to be entirely shotcalling related -- a problem that bringing in a new support player is often intended to fix. While it's quite possible that he might prove to be the miracle cure that KaSing was for H2k so many years ago, but this story rarely ends up playing out that way. He will be a stable and hopefully talented addition to the roster, but it's unlikely that he'll enable Vitality to compete with teams like G2 anytime in the near future. Vitality's eyes should still be set simply on avoiding relegation and improving as much as possible.

You can see Vitality's release on AoD's status here.

By James Bates

A wanna-be novelist turned coach turned journalist, James is living proof that you never know where you'll end up. He's in love with narrative-heavy games, which he proves by spending his days writing about a game with less lore than Doom. His greatest regret in life is not having his name in the credits of Life is Strange, and it's galvanized him to truly pursue developing games that don't begin in packed taverns and use D20s.