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Published: April 24, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • The match was close with both teams trading rounds until the very end
  • Rasmus “?sjuush?” Beck and Lotan “?Spinx?” Giladi came in at the right moment to save Vitality
  • The team’s IGL Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut was named MVP of the tournament

IEM Rio 2023 has concluded with a thrilling display by Vitality and Heroic, who fought bitterly for the title and $100K grand prize of the tournament. 

Vitality Defeat Heroic

Vitality and Heroic faced off at the finals of the Intel Extreme Masters Rio 2023, a match that saw both teams fight bitterly to claim the trophy and the $100 000 grand prize. Following a tough match, which saw the two squads trading rounds, the mixed European roster of Vitality emerged victorious from the finals with a 2-0 victory over their Danish opponents.

The match started on Vertigo, Vitality’s pick, who managed to run away with a quick rush in A thanks to a quad-kill from in-game leader Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut. As the mixed European roster gained three rounds, Heroic responded with their first victory on the defense in large part thanks to sjuush and jabbi. 

From there, both teams started trading rounds until the end of the first half, with Vitality barely leading the way with a score of 8-7. This allowed Heroic to easily take the lead when the sides switched, gaining three rounds. Vitality responded with a strong defense by Emil “Magisk” Reif, allowing them to regain the initiative. With only a few rounds left on Vertigo, both teams traded blows, but it was Vitality who emerged on top and secured the map with a score of 15-13.

Now, it was time for Heroic to pick and they chose Inferno, whose Vitality promptly took the lead in the first pistol round. Heroic responded with a couple of victories, but their opponents were always slightly ahead, allowing them to maintain a two-point lead. 

However, this changed in the seventh round, which Heroic won, sending Vitality’s eco in the dust. Unfortunately for the Danish team, however, they could not take full advantage of this fact and were unable to press on fully, allowing Vitality to scramble enough money to purchase a couple of M4s and some pistols. The European team made full use of what they had, allowing them to regain the initiative and drive the score up to 10-5 by the end of the first half.

But Heroic ware not about to just roll over. As the sides switched, the Danish team once again took the initiative and quickly closed the gap. Heroic eventually managed to equalize the score to 11 rounds for each team, after they crush a late top-middle take from Vitality, with Rasmus “?sjuush?” Beck finding a multi-frag.

This is where Vitality’s in-game leader Mathieu “ZywOo?” Herbaut barrels up middle, grabs a key entry, and his team trade onto the A site to retake the lead. The Frenchman led the charge on the next rounds, helping his team reach 14 and putting Heroic’s eco in the rubbish. With everything on the line, ZywOo once again leads the charge to help his team plant the bomb. As the game proceeds to a 2vs2, Lotan “?Spinx?” Giladi grabs the final two kills to secure his team the IEM Rio trophy.

Averaging a 1.31 rating across 15 maps, ZywOo was a pivotal factor across the entirety of the tournament for his team, therefore it’s no surprise he received the MVP award. His best overall series was against MIBR, where he averaged a 1.61 rating across two maps. Now, the IGL adds yet another MVP title to his already existing 13, the last of which came from Vitality’s title-winning run at ESL Pro League Season 16 in Malta. 

“When I go to the tournament I am not thinking about the MVP, but I am trying my best for us to be the best teammate and also individually for the Major and for my team. Yeah, I feel good, really really good,” ZywOo said in a post-match interview. 

Now, Vitality’s next big challenge lies in the upcoming BLAST Paris Major. When asked what the team plans to do to prepare for the tournament, ZywOo said that the players will take a good rest and not overthink too much about the Major.

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