Vitality are one victory away from the BLAST Premier Europe Finals after beating fnatic in the quarter-finals of the Showdown playoffs.
The French team march on to the last-four stage after delivering what was their best performance of the tournament to date. After looking a bit off the pace in the group stage, even losing to Portuguese side sAw, and requiring three maps to beat Dignitas on Friday, Vitality were a class above fnatic, whose online woes continued as they struggled to get into the rhythm of the match, recording their sixth loss in the last 30 days.
Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut was once again the star for Vitality as he topped the scoreboard on both maps, taking his tournament rating to 1.51. He is now leading the charts in 10 statistical categories – a welcoming sight for fans of the French team ahead of Sunday’s semi-final clash with NiP.
Believe it or not, but we actually have the ability to make these graphics with other @TeamVitality players. @zywoo isn't giving us much of a choice though ¯\_(ツ)_/¯#BLASTPremier | https://t.co/mKPHu9UP7D pic.twitter.com/xAW3jigt4l— BLAST Premier (@BLASTPremier) June 6, 2020
Without surprise, Vitality went for a Nuke pick, hoping to build on their recent form on this map. The French side, who had held Natus Vincere, Astralis and Dignitas to single digits in their last three Nuke encounters, began the game on the back foot but quickly took control of proceedings, with Richard “shox” Papillon kicking the team into the lead with a 1v3 clutch on the upper bombsite. Together with ZywOo, the 28-year-old led the charge for Vitality in this one-sided first half, which ended with five rounds separating the two teams.
Things looked bleak for the Swedish side as they switched to the offense, and they got even worse as Vitality picked up the ensuing pistol round. Maikil “Golden” Selim’s troops were unwilling to go down without a fight, however, and began to chip away at Vitality’s lead, eventually bringing the deficit to a solitary round.
But that was as far as they went: with pressure mounting, Vitality finally put their foot down to hold back the Swedes and chained five rounds together to lock down the map, with ZywOo capping off a memorable performance with a trio of AWP frags in the final round to take his tally to 31 kills.