In round four of the New Challengers Stage, Vitality achieved a 3-1 record to earn a berth in the New Legends Stage. It did so by beating Vici Gaming in a best-of-three series.
Vitality looked shaky to start game one on Inferno. Vici Gaming, propelled by massive damage output by Andrew “kaze” Khong, racked up rounds with ease and seemed poised to take the first game. That success sputtered down the line, which resulted in Vitality closing the gap with eight straight rounds and nearly stealing the victory away.
Vici managed to survive and force overtime, then double overtime, and then triple overtime. Still, the team never had a match point situation. Vitality finally broke through with a pair of clutches by Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, sealing a 25-22 victory.
That successful rally seemed to boost Vitality and led to a much tighter game two on Nuke. Using effective rotations and good economy management, Vitality prevented Vici from ever gaining sustained momentum and took a strong 16-12 win.
The series win was in part a testament to NBK-’s skills as a captain, and helps to validate his ugly divorce from G2 Esports.
NBK- joined G2 alongside EnVyUs teammates Dan “apEX” Madesclaire and Kenny “kennyS” Schrub in 2017. Though the new lineup had the look of a potential dynasty, the team sputtered as time went on and suffered from frequent roster shakeups.
A beef between Shox and NBK- developed along the way with the two players exchanging words through the media. As good results continued to elude G2, the organization eventually decided to put its chips on Shox and sent NBK packing. Though the pair haven’t taken swipes at each other since, that history makes Vitality versus G2 one of the hottest rivalries in European Counter-Strike.
Right now, it’s a rivalry that Vitality is winning.
Despite entering as one of the top eight teams in the New Challengers Stage, G2 Esports has struggled in its first two days at the major. After opening with a win over Vega Squadron, the French team was squashed by ENCE and soundly defeated by Avangar.