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  • Lukas DeWitt

BLAST Spring Series Preview: Vitality



Vitality spent three-quarters of the year with Nathan ‘NBK’ Schmitt before replacing him with shox. His arrival did not net much overall change, but the team did end their year on a high note by winning EPICENTER. Their wins over Na’Vi, Heroic and Mousesports came from shared production compared to the usual ZywOo carry we were used to. Perhaps their final showing of 2019 is proof that Vitality has turned the page and are ready to become true world-beaters in 2020.


ICYMI:


The team goes 16-14 at big events before winning ECS Season 7 … After ECS, the team drops in form bringing shox in … The new lineup goes 15-17 at the next three big events before EPICENTER … Finals victory over surging mousesports ends Vitality’s year on a high note.


Lineup:


Cédric ‘RpK’ Guipouy | .95 RAT, .60 KPR, .66 DPR, 65.6 ADR

The tank is a veteran presence in the server but did not offer much impact in 2019.


Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire | 1.01 RAT, .65 KPR, .68 DPR, 75.5 ADR

Average production is the only consistency from him.


Richard ‘shox’ Papillon | 1.02 RAT, .67 KPR, .66 DPR, 71.2 ADR

Brought in to be a difference-maker but his impact has yet to be felt.


Alex ‘ALEX’ McMeekin | .98 RAT, .64 KPR, .68 DPR, 69.7 ADR

A bright tactician in the game and the most impactful player behind ZywOo.


Mathieu ‘ZywOo’ Herbaut | 1.29 RAT, .82 KPR, .61 DPR, 85.3 ADR

The best player in the world. He is good at everything.


Three keys:


ZywOo logs in: Whenever ZywOo is on the server, Vitality are never out of a game. He can control a game unlike any player in Counter-Strike. His impact is unmatched, and he can offer an impact in nearly any situation inside a round. As long as he is in the Vitality lineup, they are capable of winning.


Strong Support: RpK and apEX will not blow you away with their plays and they definitely cannot carry a team. Both players are brought in to fulfill supportive tasks for the team, so things are easier for the star player. Both serve a purpose, but they struggle to accomplish these goals consistently which leaves ZywOo in tough situations. Neither of them has to completely change as a player, but refining the mechanics to sure up the mistakes would help create for success.


The shoX-factor: shox was brought in to be the player who would tip the scales in favor of Vitality. He certainly has done that at times, but not with a level of consistency that Vitality can feel comfortable with. He looked uncomfortable at times last year and has yet to reach his ceiling. Everyone knows shox has the talent, and if Vitality can help him return to form, they will see massive benefits from it.


Player Spotlight:


apEX - apEX was previously sharing entry duties with ZywOo in 2018, but he took a dip in attempts last year. ALEX taking reps from apEX as entry is problematic, seeing as that is what his talents are best suited for. It is fair to assume Vitality has a gameplan in mind for all five members of the team, but he often finds himself unable to pull that weight. If he lost his primary entry duties and cannot find a way to impact other facets of the game, then the team will have trouble beating top teams. In a world where Vitality makes a change, apEX is surely first on that list.


The Bottom Line:


ZywOo by himself will keep this team competitive, but they do not want to just be competitive, they want to be winners. If they want to beat other teams with consistency, the riflers are going to have to step up immensely. ZywOo will hit his averages, but the team will live and die off the performance of the supporting players.