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Fabio | 1. November 2020

Vitality Top BLAST Premier: Fall Group B

The French team has been able to overcome the BIG Clan once more. They’re now heading home with the first place and a ticket to the upcoming Fall Finals in December.

VITALITY SURVIVE BIG SCARE

In a tense Grand Finals, Vitality were allowed to tackle BIG for a second time. The two teams had previously met in the Winner’s Match, where Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut and company were successful in relatively quick 2-0 fashion.

However, during the Grand Finals of BLAST Premier: Fall Group B, BIG seemed to be much better prepared. Despite the Frenchmen starting off with three round wins, the Germans then got five in a row. Heading into the second half with eight points, they managed to shock Vitality after a pistol round defeat and soon led on an 11-8 scoreline. But BIG hadn’t anticipated the prowess of their newest opponent. Vitality had swapped in Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom in place of Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier and the young gun managed to tilt the map alongside Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut. A one-side offense helped the team to a 16-12 win.

On Nuke, Nivera was removed and misutaaa brought back. Actually, they would have desperately neeeded the Belgian’s power, as misutaaa barely made a dent in the BIG defense. Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz and İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş dragged their team through a 12-3 CT half. However, they showed some weaknesses afterwards, which enabled ZywOo and Richard “shox” Papillon to bring it back on their CT side. But just before the overtime mark, BIG got their last missing point to make it a 16-14 victory.

So they headed onto a third map, on which tabseN and his men finally had the chance to take revenge. They landed a 9-6 first half, but that was basically it. Nivera, who took over shox’s spot this time a round, ran off with his team’s T side and dominated the map, until Vitality held the victory on a 16-12 scoreline. Vitality have thus made first place in Group B and take home prize money and the best possible seeding for the upcoming Fall Finals. Both teams had already qualified for this event by making the Grand Finals in this group.

IS NIVERA THE NEW SUPERSTAR?

This event was the first appearance for the young Belgian under the Vitality banner and he has certainly made it count. On a 1.21 rating for this group, he closely follows ZywOo and has definitely delivered some MVP-worthy performances. So what can we take away from this Group Stage?

For one, the six-man-strategy seems to be working just fine. Vitality have obviously created a structure in which Nivera can be subbed in at any point. Apparently, he can even fill in fore more players than just misutaa. On the last map, he even replaced shox and easily secured a 1.45 rating, even beating out ZywOo in the process. BIG have obviously not found an answer to this switching game.

On top of that, Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom’s younger brother is a fantasic player. But how much of that performance is fueled by the rest of the team? On the last map, ZywOo seemed to take a step back whenever Nivera put up a great show. Is Nivera only this good because his team pools all its resources into setting him up for success? Natus Vincere have gone this path with Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev before. But often times, it is not enough to have one star player when the rest of the team gets no chance to perform.

So Vitality will have to find a way to milk all the potential from their players – which includes shox. Nivera has certainly announced himself to the world stage. Teams will try to exploit Vitality’s focus on this young player and put pressure on him – until he breaks. If the Frenchmen are unable to account for this, they and their six-man-strategy will fail.