During an appearance on the HLTV Confirmed podcast, Team Vitality’s in-game leader Dan “apEX” Madesclaire acknowledged that six-man CS:GO rosters are “the future.” But he also believes that it was “impossible” to use with the Vitality lineup.
The decision to remove Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom from his sixth-man role was based on logistics and strategy, according to apEX. Valve’s decision to penalize teams that sub out players at Regional Major Rankings circuit events meant that Vitality would be at a disadvantage while trying to qualify for the Stockholm Major.
Additionally, the issue of role distribution came up and apEX said the team needed to keep Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier in the game as much as possible. Because of misutaaa’s position as an entry fragger, Nivera would have to fill that role when subbed in—and that’s not a role the Belgian rifler plays well, according to apEX.
Vitality were one of the first teams to use the sixth-man trend starting back in October when they brought in Nivera. His impressive performances on specific maps like Inferno and Dust II helped propel Vitality to wins at IEM Beijing EU and the BLAST Fall Finals. Teams like Astralis and Natus Vincere have followed suit as well and the trend is even branching into VALORANT.
Unfortunately, the RMR points penalties for subbing in players forced the team to step back from the six-man lineup. And according to the team’s leader, a player like misutaaa provides more overall value.
Despite a good overall 2020 season with a great ending, Vitality have had a slow start to 2021 with poor showings and early exits at BLAST Spring 2021, IEM Katowice, and ESL Pro League season 13. Their next test comes at the Blast Spring Showdown.