Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom

Vitality's Nivera substitution leads to BLAST Premier win

Nick J. November 1, 2020

Team Vitality won a close match against BIG with the most effective substitution fans have seen so far in pro Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Map substitutions are the newest addition to tournament level CSGO, with organizers starting to allow teams to substitute players in between maps for the first time in the game's esports history. In Vitality's close series against BIG at BLAST Premier, it seems to have made a huge difference. Dust 2 came up as the series first map, and Vitality chose to sub in Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom for the second series in a row to augment their play on this particular map. Nivera came up huge, giving Vitality a fantastic performance in place of Vitality's Kévin "⁠misutaaa⁠" Rabier.

Nivera's solid substitute performance could mean more CSGO subs in the future

Nivera is quickly becoming Vitality's secret weapon on Dust 2, and that's an impressive feat considering the team also has one of the best players in the world on its roster. Even with Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut in the lineup, Nivera was absolutely dominated Dust 2 with a 1.33 rating against the German team. It wasn't just on Dust 2 either. He's also giving Vitality an edge across the board. He continued to sub in on Inferno, leading the team with a 1.45 rating and helping Vitality take the series 2-1. 

ZywOo continues to be Vitality's star player, as shown by his team-leading performances throughout BLAST Premier.

But over the course of the maps played in BLAST Premier, Nivera led Vitality with a 49-31 scoreline to go with an impressive 80.4% kill participation record and a 1.39 rating. The stats were enough for him to beat out ZywOo and his own world-class skills, meaning that fans are more likely to see substitutions like this much more often.

As these substitutions start to take the place of tryouts and benchings, CSGO has turned a corner. WIth tournament organizers giving teams the opportunity to trial players in live settings or on specific maps, the change gives teams a chance to see how players perform in live situations.

It's unclear as to whether Vitality will keep misutaaa⁠ on the roster, especially given Nivera's consistently great performances. Either way, fans should begin to see more of these kinds of substitutions as CSGO's fall tournament schedule moves forward.