Team Vitality is heading to the Legends Stage of the StarLadder Berlin Major, but they aren’t looking like the force most were expecting.
The squad managed to secure a 3-2 record in the Challengers Stage, last defeating Grayhound Gaming. That allows them to move forward to the second phase of the tournament, however their lifespan might still be short if things don’t improve with the team.
While the inconsistency of Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut was a hot topic of discussion heading into day five, he started the first game on a hot streak. He opened up Dust 2 with an ace in the pistol round and kicked off what would become a five-round stretch during which he scored 14 kills.
That immediately set the tone for the map, with Grayhound being forced to battle for everything they got. ZywoOo’s production fell off from there, but Alex “ALEX” McMeekin stepped up in comparable fashion down the stretch. Grayhound struggled to find any kind of success, losing duels and rarely even getting the chance to plant the bomb. Vitality stayed steady and took the map 16-5.
Things swung hard when the teams moved to Overpass. Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt won Vitality the pistol round and they converted twice for a three-round lead. Grayhound Gaming refused to go down easily, and they roared back with nine straight rounds thanks to some excellent work by Chris “dexter”‘ Nong. Vitality returned fire and managed to tie the game 12-12 with a strong start to the second half, but Grayhound settled down and closed things out 16-14.
Grayhound coach Neil “NeiL_M” Murphy did a great job hyping his team up to a victory on Overpass, but he wasn’t able to help them on Inferno.
NBK- ran wild for Vitality in the first half, winning his duels and pulling off a few key plays to swing rounds in his team’s favor. That allowed Vitality to get off to a strong 11-4 start, and they moved to map point shortly into the second half. Grayhound kept things interesting and went on a bit of a streak in their bid to stay alive in the tournament, but they were too deep in the hole to climb back. Vitality sealed the series 2-1 with a 16-10 win.
Team Vitality’s run in the StarLadder Berlin major
With the win over Grayhound Gaming, Vitality now moves on to the Legends Stage. How they do there is anyone’s guess.
The French team entered the Challengers Stage as the on-paper best team in the stage. They have been regarded as a top-five CSGO team for months now, and were expected by many to cruise to the Legends Stage with a 3-0 record.
Instead they were stunned on day one by Syman Gaming, losing to the unheralded CIS squad 16-8. They bounced back by running over INTZ Esports, but were then edged out in round three by DreamEaters.
That put them into elimination best-of-threes, and while they looked strong in their first against HellRaisers, this back-and-forth affair with Grayhound makes it unclear what kind of form they’re really in.
They won’t be getting any softball matchups in the Legends Stage either. Their run starts with a series against North, who won their way through the Challengers Stage with a 3-0 record.