There's a lot of pressure for the team to perform.
It’s been six months since Vitality added the former ENCE CS:GO superstar Lotan “Spinx” Giladi to help ZywOo, dupreeh, and Magisk in the fragging department. The once-all-French team won ESL Pro League season 16 in October 2022, but that was it in terms of real deep runs.
Vitality had the chance to reach the semifinals of IEM Katowice last weekend, but an incredible choke against Team Liquid on Overpass ended up costing their life in the $1 million tournament. Now, the No. 1 priority of Vitality is to be on top of their game for BLAST Paris Major in May 2023. They can’t afford to simply qualify and have a mediocre performance as they did at IEM Rio Major last year, in which they failed to reach the playoffs.
In addition to the usual pressure for results that affect any team at the top level, BLAST Paris Major is more important for Vitality than it is for any other team. Vitality is based in France and two of its players, ZywOo and apEX, are among the most regarded players in the country. There has never been a Valve-sponsored tournament in the country and it’s impossible to imagine ZywOo and apEX not taking part in it.
“I think the only struggle we have right now is the time in terms of being ready for Paris,” Vitality’s head coach zonic told Dot Esports after the elimination game against Liquid at IEM Katowice. “Of course there is pressure and we’ve been talking with the boys a lot. You can easily just go in as a coach and just say ‘yeah, we just have to treat this tournament like any other,’ but that would be a big lie because the organization expects us to do well and there are obviously the French guys, it’s more important to them.”
Although zonic admitted there’s pressure to do well at the BLAST Paris Major, he also thinks the pressure isn’t entirely negative as this is exactly the reason the Vitality players are competing in CS:GO. Players like ZywOo, Spinx, Magisk, dupreeh, and apEX play to be on the big stage and face the best teams, according to zonic.
Vitality will take part in ESL Pro League season 17 between February and March 2023 as the reigning champions. The $850,000 tournament will be their last tier-one event before they attend the RMR for BLAST Paris Major in April and try to qualify for the first Valve-sponsored tournament of the year.