Vitality find their groove against ENCE, set up Movistar Riders rematch at IEM Cologne cover image

Vitality find their groove against ENCE, set up Movistar Riders rematch at IEM Cologne

With Magisk and ZywOo putting up massive numbers, Snappi’s troops failed to stop Vitality.

After a less than stellar Play-In, Vitality has kicked the IEM Cologne group stage off well, as they beat world number 3 ENCE. The team is just 1 win away from reaching the LANXESS arena. Will they be able to exact revenge over Movistar Riders? ENCE on the other hand has a tough journey ahead to reach the playoffs. Now relegated to the lower bracket, they will face G2 to stay alive in the tournament.

ENCE is a good team right now. They've shown for a long time that they are a stable top-five team. So it's going to be a tough match, they have really good individual players. I think Snappi has shown himself to be a good in-game leader. It's not going to be easy but with good individual plays and team plays from us just like in BLAST we showed that we can beat them. Of course if we show that today we believe we have a good chance of winning. 

Emil "Magisk" Reif in the pre-match interview

Map 1 - Nuke - Vitality shut down ENCE's attack

ENCE's T side on Nuke has been one of the standouts of 2022. By far their best map, the team looked like they had cracked the code. But Eternal Fire showed that there's one way to beat every strategy. Shoot faster. İsmailсan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş did that spectacularly for the Turkish side, and Magisk took that role for Vitality.

ENCE had no issues breaking into sites, but Vitality beat them at every step when it came to post-plant retakes. Ending the half at 12-3, the game looked all but over. But Lotan "Spinx" Giladi carried his stellar form into the second half and put up an almost unbeatable defense on the A site. Eventually, though, Vitality finally cracked the Upper site defense, closing the game 16-10.

Map 2 - Dust 2 - dycha the destroyer

Kicking off Dust2, ENCE's close-fought pistol round win, snowballed into a quick 5 round lead for the international squad. Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut eventually showed up in his true form. But at every step, dycha matched the two-time world number 1 to perfection. ENCE put up an 11-4 defense, setting themselves up for success.

The second half saw Vitality get a good start, but having such a large deficit made it nearly impossible for them to handle the pressure. ENCE beat Vitality and took the game to map 3 with a 16-12 score.

Map 3 - Mirage - Vitality's Defence strikes ENCE again

The map started with rounds being traded around, till Vitality broke through with a smattering of deagles. That set off the 11-round streak of domination where they dominated ENCE's T side once again. Coming out of the break, ENCE picked up the pistol round conversion, but Danny "zonic" Sørensen's boys closed the game out 16-7, sending the world's #3 team to the lower bracket.

Can Vitality take revenge on Movistar Riders?

Vitality will now face Movistar Riders in the Upper Bracket semifinals of IEM Cologne 2022. After beating ENCE, they come in as the definite favorites for the game, despite their last match going the Spaniards' way. With ZywOo and Magisk putting up big performances, the team should be able to dispatch the Riders with ease, but Movistar keeps shocking everyone.

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