Vitality break Gambit’s Vertigo streak, advance to ESL Pro League season 14 semifinals

Is Vitality back?

Photo via ESL

Following a fiery hot performance from Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut on Inferno and an impressive all-around showing from the team on Vertigo, Team Vitality stunned Gambit in the quarterfinals of ESL Pro League season 14 today.

Vitality came into this CS:GO series fresh off a close but still convincing win against a short-handed Complexity lineup in the round of 12. After what had been a relatively quiet event toward the end of a down year for ZywOo, the two-time reigning player of the year put on a masterclass on Inferno.

It was a battle of superstar AWPers with Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov’s impressive 15-kill first half just slightly outdone by a crisp 20 from ZywOo. Sh1ro had another solid second half on the T-side, but had little to no help from his teammates against a stalwart Vitality defense. Vitality took care of their own pick of Inferno, 16-11.

The Vitality side had a big ask on Gambit’s pick of Vertigo, a map they hadn’t lost in 16 straight games since April to Heroic. Vitality hung in there for most of the map and the two sides traded strings of rounds to start out. Vitality led 3-1, then Gambit fought back to lead 8-4, then Vitality tied it before Gambit jumped out to a 13-9 lead that seemed insurmountable with Vitality on the T-side.

But while ZywOo did the heavy lifting on Inferno, Vitality got some huge rounds from apEX, kyojin, and especially misutaaa. Vitality won seven of their next eight rounds, with misutaaa notching 12 kills across those final eight, including some stellar multi-kill rounds. By handing Gambit their first loss on Vertigo in nearly five months, Vitality also knocked Gambit out of ESL Pro League contention.

A 2-0 win against Gambit in the playoffs is a huge stepping stone for Vitality, a team that’s played far below expectations this year. This victory ensures a top-four finish in the ESL Pro League playoffs, just their third top-four finish of the entire year, which is stunning considering how great the team looked in 2020, particularly in the final months. Vitality will have a day off before facing their semifinal opponent in OG, who are fresh off their win against Ninjas in Pyjamas.

Gambit have finally cooled off after an incredible hot streak throughout almost all of 2020. Their consecutive results at IEM Cologne and now in the ESL Pro League are just two of three times this entire year that they’ve placed outside the top four of an event. They have a chance to lock in their spot at the StarLadder Major in the IEM Masters XVI CIS event coming up at the end of September.