Just one series into the first CS:GO event to determine the 2021 Regional Major Rankings, fans have already been treated to a shockingly one-sided upset. The Double Poney roster, a team of French players sidelined or released by other organizations, have knocked off Team Vitality 2-0 in the first round of Flashpoint 3.
Vitality entered the series with the No. 1 ranking in Europe based on the 2020 Regional Major Rankings, on top of having the game’s consensus best player in Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut. DBL Poney had to qualify via an open qualifier and then an additional closed qualifier just to get to Flashpoint and were met with one of the world’s best teams in the opening round.
But DBL Poney showed no fear with former Vitality player and benched OG member Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt leading the charge. As great as he played, though, he was second behind Thomas “Djoko” Pavoni, a relatively unknown player on the international stage who went toe-to-toe in a duel on Nuke against ZywOo of all people. Despite the two-time player of the year’s effort on Nuke, he didn’t have much help from the rest of Vitality. DBL Poney dominated their T-side and only gave up the pistol round on the CT-side to take map one with a commanding 16-5 scoreline.
Both Djoko and ZywOo took a backseat on Inferno. But while again no one stood up and fragged out for Vitality, both NBK and Aurélien “afro” Drapier put up huge numbers for DBL Poney. Vitality failed to put any pressure on the underdogs and allowed DBL Poney to take Inferno as well with ease, 16-7.
Despite their No. 1 ranking from 2020, Vitality have looked like a shell of their former selves in 2021. This is one of several embarrassing 2-0 losses they’ve had this year, which has dropped them from a top-five team in the HLTV global rankings to outside the top 10. All is not lost for them at Flashpoint, but now they can’t afford to make any more mistakes down in the lower bracket. They’ll face the loser of the Astralis vs OG match that follows. DBL Poney will take on the winner in the upper bracket’s second round.
Vitality sit at the top of 2021 Regional Major Rankings just based on their points earned in 2020. But the lower their placings are at Flashpoint 3 and future events, the more at risk their current Legend Status is.