Team Vitality's zonic on ZywOo: "By far the best player I've ever worked with"
Team Vitality's headquarters - otherwise known as the V.Hive - sits just a mere 20 minutes away from the Accor Arena, and today hosted a press conference celebrating the squad's victory in the BLAST Paris Major.
Winning the last ever CS:GO Major Championship is certainly monumental enough on its own, but doing that in front of an arena full of your own fans can catapult that achievement into another stratosphere.
The Team Vitality players and their coach got the chance to speak about their experience at the BLAST Paris Major, so for that and an overview of Vitality's championship-winning run, make sure to carry on reading.
The ZywOo effect
Much like when Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyljev won the PGL Stockholm Major back in 2021, it was only fitting to see CS:GO's prodigy Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut lift the game's final Major trophy.
As a player who was born on the same day that Counter-Strike was released, it is only natural that ZywOo emerged as one of the game's most naturally gifted players. His coach Danny "zonic" Sørensen seems to think so too - asserting that Herbaut is "by far the best player [he's] ever worked with", which is quite the statement considering who has played in the Dane's former teams.
With both the Major final and overall BLAST Paris Major MVP medals under his belt, it is undeniable that ZywOo is at his best. By his own admission however, he is far from done, asserting that "I want more, I'm gonna play more, I'm gonna do everything to lift trophies again because that's the only thing you remember forever."
Vitality as a team
While we could wax lyrical about ZywOo for days here - and he certainly deserves it - one of the most important factors within Team Vitality's win in Paris was their performance as a team.
One of the goals that zonic outlined within our pre-Major interview and again here was the importance of getting Vitality to a point where they don't have to rely on ZywOo to win games or a tournament, and we really saw that come true in Paris.
Of course, ZywOo still excelled with an outstanding overall HLTV rating of 1.39, but every single player on Vitality averaged a rating of over 1.0, which is key if you're going to win on the biggest stages.
Dan "apEX" Madesclaire had a particularly impressive showing within the final, picking up 42 kills, a rating of 1.27, and some of the game's most important highlights. While the former star rifler turned mastermind IGL has won a Major before, it is a testament to his evolution as a player that he is still able to perform on the biggest stages.
Five star dupreeh
Another player that has been through it all in CS:GO is Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, who is now officially the single most decorated player in the game's history with five Major trophies under his belt, and the only player to have attended every single Major event.
It is staggering to think that 26% of all Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major Championships have ended with dupreeh's hands on the trophy, but that might not have actually sunk in for the man himself yet.
He revealed that "I don't think I've completely realised it yet. Maybe when I get home and into a familiar setting with my family I will realise that I've achieved something that no one else can achieve in the game."
All roads lead to Counter-Strike 2
New records are there to be set with the release of Counter-Strike 2 however, and that is very much apparent to Emil "Magisk" Reif who still feels like he has lots more to achieve.
"I see this opportunity to create new history." He proclaimed, "I can be the first to win a Grand Slam in CS2, I can be the first to a win Major in CS2. There are a lot of opportunities and I want to be part of that story and I want to create that story with the team."
While it might be the end of the road for CS:GO, it really does feel like the start of something for Team Vitality, and the chance to carve a new legacy and continue their success in the new game.
Home is where the trophy is
It almost seemed too perfect for Team Vitality going into the tournament. The excitement of the final CS:GO Major, the momentum from winning in Rio, and the power of the home fans in Paris behind them.
Yet they sit here in the team's headquarters only a short drive away from the Accor Arena with the Major trophy in hand, having lifted it in front of a stadium that was almost entirely behind them.
While he is of course not French, dupreeh still couldn't overstate the positive effect that the home fans had on the team during the tournament. He went on to praise the crowd, articulating that "I've experienced something similar when we've been playing in Copenhagen as well, but it's on a different level here. I felt that this was more like being at a football match… you could feel the energy that the Golden Hornets produced, they affected the whole arena and it affected us in a positive way."
We'll have to see where Team Vitality lands after their trip to cloud nine in Paris, whether it be in the short term at the BLAST Spring Finals, or later in the year when the jump is made to Counter-Strike 2.
Overall, we can certainly thank Vitality for giving us a storied end to CS:GO's eclectic Major history, crowning both new players and old in a tournament that immortalised the organisation into the history books of Counter-Strike.