ZywOo arrived on the scene with a bang. He first started making waves in FPL in 2018 at just 18 years old, winning it multiple times and generating a lot of chatter. After working his way through the inevitable hacking accusations, he was picked up by a young Counter Strike organization, Vitality, and made his LAN debut in late 2018 at DreamHack Open Atlanta. Vitality stomped the admittedly underwhelming competition, with ZywOo topping the field with a 1.49 Rating over 10 maps.
The Frenchmen faced their first real test in the first half of 2019 at the Katowice Major. They blew through the New Challengers Stage with a 3-1 record, then fell short in the New Legends Stage with a 2-3 record, coming up short, 2-1, against NiP in the decider best of three. Of course, this was still early in ZywOo’s career, it would be unreasonable to expect him to – wait, hold on. Actually, ZywOo top fragged across the best of three, was the only Vitality player to go positive, and was rated a 1.53 in the only map they won.
In fact, ZywOo has been the best player on Vitality pretty much since the team’s inception. He’s their highest rated player on LAN in 2019 by a pretty wide margin at 1.29. The runner up is Shox at 1.07, which isn’t close. 2019 saw ZywOo pick up his first MVP and first international LAN win, both at cs_summit. He would go on to be awarded three more MVP medals and win his first S Tier LAN at the ECS Season 7 Finals.
Not only has ZywOo been the best player on Vitality, he’s been arguably the best player in the world. He’s the second highest rated player in the world right now (on LAN vs. top 20 opponents in 2019), with a 1.27. S1mple is in first with a 1.29.
I haven’t even mentioned that ZywOo is his team’s primary AWPer yet, which makes this even more impressive. While the top three players in the game right now are all their team’s primary AWPer (or at least they were, I guess GuardiaN is Na’Vi’s main AWPer right now), the rest of the top 10 is mostly filled out with riflers, and a handful of hybrids. Despite playing with the Big Green, ZywOo’s ADR is 85.2, which beats out a good chunk of the riflers in the top 10, like NiKo and NAF.
The reason that’s so impressive, if you didn’t already know, is that it’s exceedingly difficult for AWPers to do chip damage to enemies in a duel. Usually, the AWPer either gets the kill, or they die after whiffing the first shot. That’s why they tend to have lower ADR than riflers, as riflers will usually deal at least some damage before dying.
He’s averaging 0.82 kills per round and 0.61 deaths, which are stellar figures to be hitting, especially this young. It’s a hallmark of young, excessively talented players to die frequently due to hubris, overenthusiasm, trying to make a big play, what have you. For example, s1mple in 2016 was averaging 0.71 deaths per round, which is obviously less good than 0.61 deaths per round.
Now, you’re likely here for betting advice, so you might be asking yourself why I’m telling you this. I’m telling you this because ZywOo is unreasonably good, which bodes well for Vitality. While they haven’t been all that successful thus far, winning just a handful of tournaments in 2019, we should be ready for them to take the leap at any time. If ZywOo and shox start clicking, if ALEX takes a leap as In Game Leader, if RPK returns to form, if any one of those things happen Vitality go from spectacle to immediate world beaters. A competent team around ZywOo would be nigh unbeatable, and we should be prepared.
As it is, I have a hard time ever betting against Vitality, and you should too. These guys have taken maps off of every Tier One team in CS, and have taken series off teams like NRG, Astralis, and Liquid. The Frenchman are no joke.
Also, I wanted to highlight the shox addition, as I don’t think I ever really talked about it. I’m about as big a shox hater as you can find on the internet, but even I salivated a little when I heard he was joining forces with ZywOo. While I’m not a fan of him, and the effect he has on team environments (at least as far as I can tell as a spectator), the potential is incredible. If you don’t remember the sheer terror that the shox-ScreaM combo used to inspire in opposing teams, do yourself a favor and educate yourself on one of the best best of fives CS:GO has ever seen.
That team was lethal, even to a Luminosity that was at the absolute peak of their powers. If shox and ZywOo can manufacture a facsimile of that dynamic duo, Vitality could be one of the most intimidating teams in the scene.
RPK was on those teams too, and while he certainly wasn’t a star fragger, he played better than he has on Vitality. While he still plays an important role in supporting ZywOo, him hitting that level again would be a huge help for the team. Think of him as the Draymond Green of Counter Strike.
Anyway, this was all just a long winded way of saying you should be looking out for ZywOo. He’s done things in his first year as a professional player that we have never seen before, and if, and this is a big if, if he can get even better, I don’t know what teams could do besides try to break his arms in the parking lot outside the venue.