The KOI defeats Vitality in a convincing sweep, becoming the first team to reach the LEC Winter playoffs

The KOI defeats Vitality in a convincing sweep, becoming the first team to reach the LEC Winter play ...

In today's match between Vitality and KOI, the first berth in the LEC Winter Split playoff stage was on the line, and KOI wasted no time sabotaging it up. With two quick victories, KOI cracked their record and became the first team to advance to the next round of the LEC's shiny new playoff bracket.

The LEC completely revamped its structure this past offseason, and the changes have already paid off. Despite the fact that each best-of-three series featured fewer players, the "group stage" of the Winter Split has had a playoff feeling to it.

Plus, the addition of best-of series in the regular season allows teams who may have failed in the best-of-one round-robin portion of the schedule to bounce back in a different environment. In KOI's case, they went 4-5 in the first stage of the split—a departure from their run to the LEC championship last summer as Rogue.

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Today, KOI looked like they had been all season, especially in the second game of the match, which appeared to be all but a formality for them after they jumped out to an exponential gold lead just a few minion waves into the game. Game two saw KOI earn three quick kills in the bottom lane prior to the five-minute mark, allowing them to snowball their lead way out of control in the mid-game.

The prospect of looming elimination makes every game feel that much more intense. Following their defeat today, Vitality will drop into the losers bracket of Group A, where they will face the winner of next week's Heretics/SK Gaming match in a dire advance-or-go-home series.

Another playoff qualification match will take place later today between the top two teams in Group B: MAD Lions and G2 Esports.