Team Vitality’s CEO explains why he’ll never give up on League of Legends

Carver Fisher
Vitality CEO not giving up on League of Legends

Vitality’s League of Legends team has never been able to match the success this prestigious French club has enjoyed in other esports, and CEO Nicolas ‘Nico’ Maurer is looking to change that this year. Dexerto sat with him for an interview to ask what’s gone wrong in recent years and why 2024’s LEC roster could be the one that brings success to the org.

Creating a good League of Legends team is really, really hard. It isn’t enough to just round up the players with the best hands out there and put them on a team. Money can’t buy a good roster, and Vitality is an org notorious for showing what can happen when you spend a ton of money on a so-called ‘super-team’ that can’t produce results.

Vitality fans have been understandably disappointed in the team’s results of late, especially in the past few years when they invested so much into a roster with superstars like PerkZ and Upset. For other orgs like Astralis who couldn’t break into the top of the LEC, selling their slot was the best choice the org could make. But Vitality is determined to stick around despite never managing to make it past third place in Playoffs.

In an interview with Dexerto, Vitality CEO Nicolas Maurer told us the biggest lessons he’s learned from the team’s time in the LEC, why Vitality can afford to keep investing in the pursuit of an LEC title, and why he thinks 2024 could be the year they finally make it to the top.

Living with no regrets

“In hindsight, it’s easy to say we would have done things differently,” Nico said when talking about their LEC failures over the past few years. “Obviously, when you invest a lot of money into big names and you fail, it’s easy to say that was a bad choice or whatever. But we would probably do it again, in the sense that we wanted – and we still want – to build the biggest esports team in the world.

“For that, you need to win the big trophies, the ones that help cement your legacy. And that means winning a CS:GO major, winning the LEC. And, to get there, you need talent. Taking that huge gamble, assembling those talents, signing huge contracts to get there and raise that LEC trophy for the first time was the goal. And we took a route that ultimately didn’t function, but we don’t have any regrets.”

Back in 2023, it seemed like Vitality had finally built their superstar roster. In the Winter split that year, the team went 7-2 and appeared to be at the top of the region, only to bomb out when it was time to perform in the Playoffs. And, while Spring went a bit better for them, Summer saw the team end their 2023 run in dead last.

So, it was back to the drawing board. They kept Daglas and Photon as talent they wanted to develop, but wound up grabbing Vetheo, Carzzy, and Hylissang.


Carzzy and Hylissang are well-established players worth building around, while Vetheo has always been a bit of a wildcard with a ton of potential. He’s a very hot and cold player, but he’s been red hot on Vitality so far. With Vitality’s mid/jungle being a massive highlight for the team, it’s clear that they’ve finally landed on a roster that works.

Combined with picking up Mac and Pad, members of the coaching staff from MAD Lions’ glory days, Vitality finally feels like they have a game plan for how to win other than just relying on tried-and-true talent from other teams to perform in a new environment.

“Now, in the new world we live in, we have to take a different approach, build with longer term timeframe in mind, develop more talent,” Nico explained. “And that’s why we switched to a coaching staff that is expert at doing that, detecting new talent, nurturing them, and making them shine at the biggest level. So that’s a change of strategy, but no regrets in trying to assemble a super team that would dominate the scene. It didn’t work, but, to us, it was worth trying.”

Building the next top-tier LEC team

Despite Vitality’s massive investment in their League team not working out since they entered the league, Nico went as far as claiming that profiting in esports is “easy”, and claimed that the key to Vitality’s success is that they’re laser-focused on winning and putting together the best teams.

Looking exclusively at their history in League of Legends, this may sound surprising. However, Vitality’s success in other esports like Rocket League and Counter-Strike makes their LoL history a bit of a sore spot. But that doesn’t discount the fact that their strategy has put them on top of other esports. Nico attributed much of the org’s long-term success to staying focused on the players.

“We choose to go for performance model, not an influencer model. Which means building the brand with the teams’ successes, investing heavily in players. We we are spending less than others on huge influencers, huge marketing investments, and more around marketing based on our performance in different teams. A different approach, but one that could only work with the right level of monetization. because it’s easy to be profitable.

“I won’t name any names, but some orgs have [that influencer model]. Short term? It’s good. You don’t have the same spending, you pay players low salary, and you assemble a mediocre team. But obviously, after one, two years, it has a huge negative impact on your brand. So, we didn’t want to do that.”

Nico explained that Vitality was more focused on long-term investors than venture capitalists when rallying for funding as far back as 2018, and that they’ve got an approach to esports that’s more about long-term success and building a dynasty than paying to get wins fast or piggybacking off of content creators.

And, while there’s some degree of this pitfall present in the way Vitality approached their LEC super teams in recent years, it’s hard to imagine they could have predicted just how catastrophic things would go in 2023. Considering their strong showing in their first LEC 2024 Playoffs match against SK and just how much their investment in rookie Daglas has paid off, Vitality has clearly learned from their mistakes.


Despite the LEC’s best teams being notoriously difficult to dethrone (looking at you, G2), Nico is still hopeful that this roster is the one that’ll do it. He doesn’t plan to pull back until Vitality gets that LEC title.

“At some point, we need to find ways to succeed [in the LEC]. We know that this year, we won’t be instantly be a top team. It will take a while, it’s a big process. But, we have the right coaching staff and the right pieces to get there eventually. So, hopefully it goes faster than we can expect, and we have huge success in 2024.”

Nico concluded, “How long will it take? How difficult will it be? I don’t know. But we certainly have the right pieces to be a top LEC team.”