Cover Image Courtesy: EPICENTER | Thumbnail Image Courtesy: Team Vitality
EPICENTER 2019 came to an end yesterday with Vitality walking out as the champions in Moscow, slaying mousesports who were on a hunt for their fourth consecutive tournament victory.
While the audience cheered hard for the victorious French, an even bigger celebration awaited Mathiew “ZywOo” Herbaut for claiming his fifth MVP award of the year.
The 19-year-old teenager has gone head-to-head against some of the best teams in the world, carrying Vitality out of difficult situations single-handedly on multiple occasions, which has witnessed the rise of both, Vitality and the young prodigy.
While the French team who were ranked 24th on the global rankings last year are currently ranked 8th, ZywOo has gone from having no MVP awards to claiming five this year. The only other player in the teams’ active line-up who has any MVP awards to his name is Richard “shox” Papillon, who won his last MVP award in 2015.
Dan "apEX" Madesclaire
Cédric "RpK" Guipouy
Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut
Alex "ALEX" McMeekin
Richard "shox" Papillon
This is a clear indication of how important of a role ZywOo has played in the upliftment of Vitality.
The French organization has had a fantastic run in 2019, winning cs_summit 4, ECS Season 7 - Finals, and EPICENTER 2019, while claiming the silver at ESL One: Cologne 2019 and DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019.
One thing that is common across all these five performances is ZywOo leading the team from the front, which is backed by the fact that he claimed the MVP award for all the listed tournaments.
ZywOo was in such a monstrous form that despite coming second in two tournaments, conceding defeats to Team Liquid and Fnatic at ESL One Cologne and DreamHack Masters Malmo respectively, he was elected as the MVP in both the tournaments with an overall rating of 1.33 in Cologne, which he improved to 1.36 in Malmo.
DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019
ESL One: Cologne 2019
ECS Season 7 - Finals
Not only this, the youngster barely missed out on a hattrick of MVP awards, claiming three of them in a gap of four tournaments. But even though he missed out on the award at DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019, he was still the best player of the tournament according to stats, with an overall rating of 1.33 and a K-D ration of 1.46.
But these numbers were nothing in front of the ones that he achieved in his final tournament of the year EPICENTER 2019, recording an overall rating of 1.53 across 10 maps along with an insane K-D ratio of 1.80. He was on fire in Moscow, finishing the year strong in front of a foreign crowd.
The youngster has truly claimed the year for himself and for Vitality, who has clearly overtaken G2 Esports as the French representatives. While the year might have been claimed by Astralis, who won their third Major in a row and their fourth overall. When it comes to individual prowess, it is ZywOo who has stood as a prime example of being a ‘one-man army’.
And though Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev who is considered to be the best player in the world might still be better than ZywOo, this year has definitely not been kind to him. The French prodigy without a doubt has been the breakout player of the year and is very likely the best player of 2019 as well.
Now that the youngster has set a bar for himself, the coming year will be the real test for him. He will be feeling a lot more pressure, which will only increase with his growth. It will be interesting to see how far the Frenchmen will be able to pull Vitality under these circumstances, and how close of a threat will he be to s1mple in 2020.