He's doing it alone, but for how much longer?
While he’s by consensus considered at least a top-two CS:GO player in the world, the still somehow only 22-year-old Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut has been regarded as someone who starts slow in the new calendar year.
Early into 2023, though, he’s put up absolutely elite numbers, dominating the competition when it comes to K/D, overall player rating, and impact at BLAST Premier Spring Groups and now IEM Katowice. But while his numbers have been steady and consistent, his Vitality teammates have been anything but.
Back at BLAST Spring, it was as great an overall team showing as you could ask for if you’re a Vitality fan or a member of management. ZywOo and teammate Spinx were amazing, veteran legends Magisk and dupreeh were more than solid, and the team only lost one map en route to a first-place finish in their group.
But now in Katowice, the team has reverted back to being overly reliant on ZywOo yet again, at an alarming level. While his numbers have been spectacular, to say the least, the rest of the team has just not shown up. He’s been called upon to bail out the team at a higher rate as well. At BLAST Spring, he faced four solo clutch opportunities and won all of them across seven maps. But in Katowice, across only five maps, he’s faced five already, including an astounding one-vs-four win against Fnatic.
Looking at the past few events, ZywOo’s Vitality teammates can be described as consistently inconsistent; they have been absent in Katowice, splendid at BLAST Spring, missing at BLAST World Final and the Rio Major, but great at ESL Pro League season 16.
Their trophy lift at ESL Pro League is exactly what you’d want to consistently see out of Vitality; an elite performance out of a consensus great like ZywOo, and a strong support showing out of one or two teammates, as we saw from Spinx and magisk. But outside of that trophy, Vitality’s victories have been few and far between for a team that sports a top-two player, two legendary multi-time Major winners, an accomplished IGL, a talented rising star, and one of if not the greatest coach of all time.
Despite his teammates’ inconsistencies, ZywOo has dragged Vitality into a guaranteed playoff spot at IEM Katowice. But against teams like Heroic, FaZe, NAVI, and G2, will he still be able to win almost entirely on his own?