After a less than ideal start to their 2021 campaign, Team Vitality’s CS:GO roster got a much-needed confidence boost today with an impressive 2-0 win over the No. 1 ranked Gambit in the upper bracket of IEM Summer.
Vitality’s toughest challenge in the series came during the first map, Dust II, their own map pick. Gambit went on a run starting in the second half and were up 13-8 while on their CT side. But Vitality fought back, with superstar Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut stepping up along with Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier. They won eight straight rounds, including a massive clutch from misutaaa that tied the game at 13 rounds apiece. He ended with 28 kills and Vitality came back to secure their pick, 16-13.
The series turned to Overpass, with Vitality getting to start on the CT side. They jumped out to an 11-4 lead on the shoulders of another great ZywOo performance, who was lights out holding down the A site with the AWP. That lead increased to 14-4 before Gambit started to string together a few rounds, but a poorly-timed technical pause came in as multiple Gambit players crashed out of the match. Vitality claimed victory in the first round after the pause, taking the map 16-8 and the series 2-0.
At Flashpoint Three, Vitality narrowly avoided complete disaster after an opening-round loss to DBL Poney. They were able to win a few series in the lower bracket and got their revenge against the orgless team, but that revenge came in the seventh-place match, well below the expectations for a team of Vitality’s caliber. This finish came after some dismal showings in the first half of 2021 at DreamHack Masters Spring, IEM Katowice, and ESL Pro League.
The young Jayson “Kyojin” Nguyen Van is still adjusting to playing against world-class talent and ZywOo hasn’t looked like the world’s best player this first half of 2021. But this win could be a big momentum builder for the world-class superstar and the rest of Vitality. This victory secures Vitality a spot in the playoffs, and if they win their next match against the winner of G2 and FPX, they’ll get a bye to the semifinals.
This was a rare loss for Gambit, who are the reigning IEM Katowice champions and are coming off a win at EPIC CIS League Spring. Their road to the playoffs of IEM Summer will now be a little tougher since they have to win their next two lower bracket series to sneak into the quarterfinals.