5 facts about ZywOo in CS:GO, his stardom, Vitality Era and more
On November 9, 2000, Counter-Strike was born and also a man would become a god within the same world. Originally and raised in Lens, France, Mathieu Herbaut would be dubbed “The Chosen One” due to the strange coincidence surrounding his birthday. Although he would also prove to be the saviour of a region full of talent but lost in the dark confines of ego and pride.
Vitality and Stardom
ZywOo started playing CS when he was seven years old, and it didn’t take many years of effort and dedication for him to be noticed and recognized in Tier 1 CS. The 22-year-old was just obvious from the start that he belonged to the highest level possible.
After playing for dizLown, the then 16-year-old ZywOo joined WySix in 2017, the team where he would first come to the attention of the community. By then he would already be considered a legend in progress, and after six months under the WySix banner, the player joined “against All authority”, where he remained for quite some time.
This was because his mother insisted that he complete high school before making his professional debut. It was then that in the 13 months with aAa, ZywOo delivered some of the performances that would make Tier 1 organizations drool as they waited desperately to come of age.
The Vitality Era
Despite having an impressive number of generational talents, internal issues ranging from ego to in-game style issues meant that the French CS region failed to put together the super-team the community had feared. By 2018, French CS had dissolved into a dark void of failure, despite being the most stubborn scene for an entire decade. A true miracle was needed to revive the dying CS scene in that region, and it was then that Team Vitality signed a contract with ZywOo.
People expected ZywOo to be a great player, one to usher in a new era on the French scene. But what no one expected was that he would become a world-class competitor, facing off against the best players in the world in a matter of a few months. Soon enough, ZywOo would not only be considered one of the best players in the world but would also make most of them pale in comparison to him.
It was just a month after joining Vitality that the team won the 2018 Dreamhack Open Atalanta, with ZywOo earning an otherworldly tournament rating of 1.49, far better than any other player.
What happened before Lock Down
In 2019 ZywOo was listed as one of the most feared players on the scene. But unlike other French superstars of the past, he was humble, shy and most importantly a very good team player. Although his first Major was an unceremonious event in which Vitality left the Legends Stage, it had become clear as heaven that this teenager’s powers were growing with each passing day.
After winning a few other tournaments, Vitality took the top spot at Cs_summit 4, where the French beat Team Liquid twice, once in the Grand Final. And to top it all off, ZywOo was deservedly named MVP of the championship.
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Although the biggest stage for ZywOo was yet to come
At ESL One Cologne 2019, ZywOo put together performances that ultimately led fans to pit him against the reigning champion: s1mple. Coming off an early loss against NiP, Team Vitality went on a near-flawless run as they beat fnatic, Heroic, and NRG Esports (Quarterfinals) 2-0, without losing a single map. ZywOo was named MVP in each of those matches.
In the semifinals against Major champions Astralis, ZywOo earned a 1.36 rating to advance to the Grand Final, where the French team’s fleeting movement was finally stopped by Team Liquid.
However, his performance in the great Counter-Strike cathedral cemented his place as one of the best players in the world. The rest of the year he was marred by semifinal exits, but ZywOo’s value kept going uphill all the time. In his second Major, the young Frenchman did even better than the previous one by going through to the Playoffs, although subsequently finishing in 5th-8th place.
At the end of 2019, during EPICENTER 2019, ZywOo went head-to-head against his well-known nemesis. As if it were a prophecy, Vitality defeated NaVi, thus winning the tournament and the French gamers taking another MVP title. Unlike the eventful 2018, though, NaVi didn’t perform as well in 2019, which was a major success for s1mple when it came to the HLTV Player of the Year rankings.
With ZywOo’s highest rating, the award went his way and the young Frenchman was crowned player of the year in literally his first year in CS Top Tier.
During the Lock down and COVID
2020 started slowly for zywOo and soon the pandemic took all LANs with it. Many teams suffered in the online world, including Vitality. Late in the year, though, the French team managed to get a much-needed boost when they faced NaVi in the IEM Beijing Online Grand Final. Vitality had lost 4 Grand Finals so far this year and with NaVi leading 2-0, this looked to be their fifth.
At one point though, ZywOo and the rest of the team seemed to come alive at one moment, turning the table around, thus winning the Grand Final in a 3-2 result. And beyond just being named Finals MVP, the wunderkind seemed to have done even better by taking the MVP title of the championship itself.
During the Fall 2020 BLAST Premier, the world witnessed another Vitality vs. NaVi, where s1mple won another MVP, but ZywOo again bested him by winning the match. Vitality won the tournament against Astralis and ZywOo took another tournament MVP in his bag again.
With those performances at the end of the year, ZywOo was now on his way to winning another Player of the Year award. And while it wasn’t as obvious as it was in 2019, he won it, sparking some controversy among different sections of CS:GO fans.
The spot was up for grabs in a close fight between him and s1mple, with both boasting 1.29 ratings overall, though the scales tipped in zywOo’s favour given his overall year-end performance and insufficient NaVi to accommodate it was online as well as Vitality did.
At first, 2021 certainly looked like the year before. It was slow, starting with NaVi vs. Vitality with s1mple and company this time beating Vitality for victory at BLAST Premier: Global Final 2020. Vitality didn’t make an appearance in any semi-finals until well past the middle of the year; unlike NaVi, who grew stronger and stronger to prolong their dynasty.
Later, Vitality’s first appearance in a Grand Final occurred during September, in EPL S14, against none other than team NaVi. The event was not as one-sided as people thought it would be. Vitality managed to take 2 maps away from NaVi and go the full distance on the deciding map, though the result was a 16-14l loss.
On the other hand, ZywOo managed a total of 102 kills, but still, his team had to settle for second place – NaVi had won the coveted Grand Slam and s1mple won his fifth MVP of the year.
His Unique Performance
Though his performance in the EPL seemed to reflect his belated rise to power throughout 2020. With the Major coming up quickly, this could have been another big wake-up call from his year-long slumber, and flamboyant gamer might have gotten his hands on the biggest trophy of a Major.
Vitality had a unique group stage in which they lost 0-2 on Day 1, but managed to reverse their deficit and qualify for the Playoffs later by knocking out Danish giants, Astralis, en route to the quarterfinals.
ZywOo was about to face his archrival again in the quarterfinals. This match could have been one of those where Vitality reigned supreme and gained strength for the remaining months of the year, also gifting ZywOo with his Player of the Year title. But this time it wasn’t meant to be.
The “yellows” were too strong, and even after a respectable 9-6 half lead on NaVi’s strongest map, Nuke, Vitality took the loss by missing out on the Major.
Certainly, 2021 was not the best year for ZywOo; Vitality went through constant changes and adjustments to its lineup. But the ingenuity of a 21-year-old ZywOo is bound to make it big and win the Major, probably multiple times.
It is possible to say that the French CS scene is in ZywOo’s hands mainly because G2 has been taken over by the Bosnian Brothers NiKo and huNter. It seems as if the world can’t wait to see what happens to the enigmatic Frenchman; the man who never goes in the direction of deathmatching, instead focusing on how games play out and a “brain before target” type of strategy.
ZywOo is one of the most peculiar characters in the history of Counter-Strike, and the legendary status of this Frenchman is more than justified.