The Team of the year for 2020, has finally lifted their first trophy of 2021.

After a year full of ups and downs, Vitality has ended the year on a big upswing with their win at IEM Winter and a solid resume of top placings. Despite all the rumors of Vitality being a dead team, they have gone and completed a full marathon.

Map 1 – Inferno – ZywOo’s Playground

Sometimes, you just watch greatness manifest itself and all you can do is stare in awe. On Inferno, that seemed like all NIP was doing too. While the scoreline is close and REZ, plopski, es3tag all showed up well, this was a Zywoo map.

The superstar Zywoo was on fire throughout the map, posting 29 kills and a massive 1.74 rating. For context, the closest was es3tag with 19 kills.

Combine ZywOo’s strong showing with hampus and phzy evaporating with only 9 kills apiece, this was an easy victory for Vitality even if the scoreline shows a 16-10. The best play by far was a Zywoo-Shox special where they combined for an insane 2v5 clutch.

Shox and ZywOo pulling out a 2v5 clutch.

Map 2 – Dust2 – Everyone Steps Up for Vitality

The game started off with Vitality taking the economic lead and going up 3-1 before NIP got into the mix with a few rounds of their own. The key moment in the half however, came in the 12th round where NIP on a broken buy put an AWP into the hands of their young AWPing stand-in phzy. And the youngster delivered 3 crucial kills that led to NIP completely breaking Vitality’s money to give NIP the lead in the game.

phzy’s AWP eco breaks Vitality

The T side was classic Ninjas In Pyjamas. They stayed true to their style and won 1 round total. Absolutely outclassed, NIP had no way into the game as the Vitality economy was impossible to break.

Map 3 – Nuke – Vintage Shoxie

2-0 up and playing Nuke, the map where they beat NaVi’s 20-0 streak recently. While this was by far the most competitive game from NIP, it seemed like Vitality’s Trophy was inevitable. They kicked off the map with a 5-0 lead, winning both initial gun rounds. NIP answered back with 3 of their own before the two teams went blow for blow to end the half out.

In the second half, Zywoo was quiet. Well, that surely means NIP close this out. Right? Nah Shox just rolled back the years and with his mate apEX decided to dominate the game. With the two veterans combining for 30 kills, the map was close but it felt like a done deal. Even Kyojin had his rounds, in particular, his Deagle 3k showed his immense mechanical skill.

ZywOo’s First MVP of 2021

The back-to-back best player in the world, ZywOo has had a tough year. While he has put up a 1.29 rating for the year, something that’d be a career-high for a normal player, for the French has remarked in interviews that he has been having a bad year. Without many deep runs in the first half and S1mple’s sheer dominance, this event was the first proper shot ZywOo got at an MVP.

He may not be the best player in the world, but when it comes to LAN, ZywOo is still one of the greatest. With the future of Vitality looking uncertain, ZywOo’s solid performance still show that whatever happens to the team, he will remain the superstar we know him to be.

With this Vitality have also picked up the first event in the Intel Grand Slam Season 4. As they will be maintaining 3 out of their current roster in the new year, they have a shot at competing for the Grand Slam next year after being at the losing end twice already.

Vitality will come into Blast World Finals hot after a win here at IEM Winter. Will they be able to deny NaVi’s era? Or will the CIS Giants ascend to the top. Stay tuned to esports.gg to find out.

Arnav Shukla - Writer of the Month: July

Arnav Shukla

Writer of the Month: July | Twitter: @xL_csgo

I am a hardcore Counter-Strike fan who loves to watch and write about CSGO. A student of the game's history and a bad player in game.