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Credit: PGL

Wrong Change?

The Problem With Vitality – A Tactical Reset is Needed


Following reports that Vitality will soon be cutting Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier in favor of ENCE talisman Lotan “Spinx” Giladi, my old mate Jaxon shared his thoughts on how Vitality are misdiagnosing their problems, so I thought I’d look deeper into it.

It was Jaxon’s thoughts that misutaaa was in fact not the right change for Vitality to be making, and instead, they should be looking to replace their IGL, longstanding member Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, with Emil “Magisk” Reif being the one touted to take the reins in this hypothetical world.

As well as this, he suggested that Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, famously an out-and-out entry fragger, was not entrying enough on this roster – in fact, that no one was consistently entrying enough – due to the fact that both apEX, misutaaa, and oddly enough, even Magisk, was entrying just as much, if not more than him, with 23.2% attempts as opposed to dupreeh’s 19.1%

Was he right to be saying all of this? Let’s take a deeper look.

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Misutaaa, The Chosen Problem

Misutaaa came into the roster as one of the highest-rated young prospects in Europe, despite having little to no experience due to first focussing on his studies. Smart boy.

A player best utilized as an entry, Vitality has often forced misutaaa into a more supportive role and used him as an anchor player, famously not the greatest roles for anyone to showcase their best skills.

As one of the aggressive members of a team with too many aggressive members, it does make sense on face value to cut the young Frenchman for a more passive player, especially one as good as Spinx.

IEM

On face value, he’s performing worse than his IGL in Rating, ADR, KPR, DPR, and Impact. The only stat he fares better than apEX in is KAST, and that’s only by a small margin. 

However, as I said before, misutaaa is in far worse roles, particularly on CT sides. There’s nothing to say we wouldn’t see those stats all skyrocket in comparison to apEX if their roles were switched. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty likely they would.

So is he really the problem?

PGL

Issues Elsewhere

At the turn of the year, Vitality made huge changes to their roster by switching from an all-French team to an International team with the additions of dupreeh, Magisk, and their legendary coach, Danny “zonic” Sorensen.

The trio joined from Astralis, who had stagnated during the Online era for a number of reasons, but seeing as they were all members of the squad known as ‘the greatest of all time’, expectations were high. 

Magisk had already suffered a huge drop-off in 2021, never recapturing the form he had lost while taking over IGLing duties from Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander during his rehabilitation period.

While Vitality should have been a fresh start for Magisk to get back to his old self, so far it hasn’t been, although again, that could be down to questionable tactical choices for the new International roster.

ESL

Dupreeh has also struggled, continuing a steady decline that began in 2020 as his rating has dropped from 1.12 in 2019, to the 1.05 it is now halfway through 2022.

Once again, questionable tactics come to mind when you consider that dupreeh has always been one of the top players in CSGO, appearing in all but two of HLTV’s end-of-year top 20s.

He has had struggles once before though, back when Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjaerbye was brought into Astralis in 2017. 

Also an entry fragger, dupreeh was the one whose roles were sacrificed in order to make room for the man who would eventually be MVP of the first of Astralis’ four Majors, and although he still performed admirably, he was never quite the same as a dupreeh that’s allowed to be an out and out entry.

This is the same position that dupreeh finds himself in on Vitality, with apEX and misutaaa also occupying those positions in the same manner that Kjaerbye had, preventing dupreeh from ever being utilized to the best of his ability.

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

The Wrong Frenchman

So, did Vitality kick the wrong Frenchman?

In short, yes. 

While it’s hard to quantify by any stats metric, simply watching a Vitality game will tell you how disjointed apEX’s calling is. His team doesn’t utilize its stars anywhere close to what their ability is, and seeing as its most passive element is the one taking the most opening duels, it’s rather baffling to watch.

On top of that, considering it’s a team with two Danish robots and the tinkerer that designed them, apEX is a very emotional leader, a bizarre choice to lead two players that came from a team as methodical and tactically sound as gla1ve’s Astralis.

BLAST

If you didn’t think it was a problem before this year though, allow me to remove your rose-tinted glasses for a moment and remind you of two factors: 

Previously, Vitality was an all-French team, calling in their mother tongue. Also, and with this potentially being the biggest factor, ZywOo was clearly the second-best player in the world. The same can not be said for him in 2022 thus far.

Aside from this, apEX is individually poor on every CT side bar Overpass, where, as the rotator, he is actually Vitality’s best performer. Nuke is clearly his biggest problem, as his 1.02 rating holding Outside makes him the lowest performing player to play the position in the top 20, with Andrei “arT” Piovezan’s 1.1 being the next worst performer.

PGL

Fixing The Problem

Spinx would be an incredible acquisition, there’s no two ways about it. After a steady climb in the past couple of years, he is arguably the breakout star of 2020, and a huge reason as to why ENCE now find themselves fourth in HLTV’s team ranking.

Although, without a tactical reset that allows dupreeh to get back to the role he performs in best, there’s no reason why this change would be anywhere near enough to get Vitality back into a place where they can compete for championships again.

misutaaa may not ever be the star he once promised to be, but he certainly stands more of a chance of being one than apEX does, and if apEX isn’t willing to become a definite support player, maybe Magisk will.

Magisk has IGLed before, and there’s no doubt his relationship with zonic, the coach with whom he won his three Majors, will be better than the one the current leader shares with the legendary coach. 

PGL

So, let’s hope that Vitality keeps misutaaa on the books, because in the future they might find they’re much better off with him than without him.

Let the French prodigy become the star he always promised to be, and let the veteran Dane dupreeh lead the way and take the 25%+ opening duels he should be taking. Finally, switch Magisk into the IGL role and let him take over small site anchoring.

Maybe then Vitality’s international gamble will pay off. Maybe then we’ll see them truly contest for trophies once more.

PGL