In a rematch of last year’s Fall Finals, NAVI and Vitality are squaring off in the grand final of the BLAST Spring Finals 2022. With Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Mathieu “zywOo” Heirbaut, the two greatest AWPers of this generation are entering the server.
It’s been a tough year for both teams thus far. NAVI had to deal with relocating out of Ukraine following Russia’s invasion and ended up benching its in-game leader Kiriil “Boombl4” Mikhaylov at the end of May.
Despite the circumstances, the squad remained competitive, reaching the final of the PGL Antwerp Major and now repeating that feat in the BLAST Spring Finals with Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev standing in for the roster.
While they have remained competitive, there is a sense that NAVI is running on borrowed time. s1mple has been very open about the toll of the war in his home country and having to stay abroad takes, and recently indicated he might be taking an extended break from competition to sort out his life.\
Vitality, on the other hand, has been struggling with a different set of challenges. While retaining a French core in the off-season, they added two Danish players and a coach. The Frenchmen were forced to adapt to a new language and culture in opening up the roster for international players.
While promising on paper, the project struggled to gain momentum. Early exits in all the events they attended since the start of the year must have affected the confidence of the star-studded roster.
Their only successful campaign thus far? Qualifying for the BLAST Spring Finals back in January, mere weeks after assembling the roster.
But yesterday’s victory over former local rival G2 might be a turning point for Vitality, a desperately needed restart.
Can Vitality return to their trophy-lifting ways of last year? Or will NAVI add a capstone to what might be its last dance?
We will find out tonight.