For several years now, French-speaking players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have distinguished themselves at the highest world level. If Team Vitality is the most important French-speaking representative on the international scene, other esportsmen have distinguished themselves over the years.
Vitality and G2, a French-speaking workforce
Among the most successful professional teams is Team Vitality. Founded by a collective of French players, its CS:GO team has seen a meteoric rise since 2018. In addition to the numerous trophies, it is now recognised as one of the top three teams worldwide. Team Vitality CS:GO consists of Rémy 'XTQZZZ' Quoniam as coach, former Olympic canoeing medallist Matthieu Péché as manager, captain Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire and players Mathieu 'ZyWoO' Herbaut, Cédric 'RpK' Guipouy, Richard 'shox' Papillon and Kévin 'misutaaa' Rabier.
Led by French coach Damien 'maLeK' Marcel and his compatriot Jérôme 'NiaK' Sudries as manager, the Franco-Bosnian team G2 Esports also has a number of French-speaking professionals in its ranks with the duo Audric 'JaCkz' Jug and François 'AmaNEk' Delaunay. Last June, G2 Esports became the best team in the world on CS:GO in the HLTV reference ranking, just ahead of ... Team Vitality!
KennyS dismissed from G2 Esports
Since this incredible double, the French-speaking teams have had a hard time. G2 Esports' poor results have even led to the sidelining of Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub, a true legend of the discipline and the longest serving member of the team. Spearheading the roster since February 2017, the 25-year-old sniper led his teammates to victory on numerous occasions, before experiencing a slump in recent months. After placing KennyS on the bench, G2 Esports cited "a collective decision" and reinstated JaCkz in his place, who was also benched a few weeks ago.
Considered one of the best players in the world and appreciated for his atypical style of play, kennyS took to social media to reassure his fans that his career will continue. "I want to start by thankin everyone who has been really positive and supportive with me, he said in English on his Twitter account. My motivation remains the same if not slightly stronger, I intend to keep playing CS and find the right place to keep on my journey. I'm grateful for ur support, thank you and I love y'all." KennyS was not the only French player to be dropped, as another major player on the CS:GO scene was also benched from his team: despite an 11-year career, Nathan 'NBK' Schmitt failed to convince the European OG team.
Vitality separates from Nivera
As we explained in our previous article, new rules have been introduced by CS:GO publisher Valve, including the Regional Major Ranking and points system. Amongst the changes, there is a points penalty if a substitute player enters the game during the game. Team Vitality has decided to let go of its sixth player, Belgian Nabil 'Nivera' Benrlitom, who was a valuable part of the previous season.
"Coming in an ambitious and experimental 6-man roster last October, Nivera has successfully helped our team secure two titles in 2020, Vitality said in a statement relayed on its Twitter account. Unfortunately, following the recent announcement [...], we are coming back to a 5-man roster for the time being. Nabil showed great talent and potential [...] and the door isn't closed to a comeback [...]. Simultaneously, we stay firmly convinced that a 6-man roster is the best way to help the CS:GO competitive scene grow even bigger."
The ESL Pro League as a battleground
The ESL Pro League season 13 started on March 8th. The two French-speaking teams Team Vitality and G2 Esports were placed in the same pool, Group B. After a third place at the BLAST Global Final at the end of January, but a quick elimination at the IEM Katowice, Team Vitality was in turmoil. Suspicions of cheating and a much-needed rest for captain Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire did not help the team's chances in 2021.
As for G2 Esports, they were hoping for an electroshock after disappointing results that left them out of the world top 10 and the departure of kennyS. In the end, it was the lower-ranked team that came out on top in the Francophone duel. Relegated to 6th place in the world, the Team Vitality players continue their descent into hell and finish 4th out of 6 in Pool B after only 2 wins for 3 losses.
Thanks in part to their victory over Team Vitality, G2 Esports players qualified for the rest of the competition in extremis (3 wins and 2 losses). Former substitute 'JaCkz' was the architect of his team's victories. This gives some hope before the playoffs start on 2 April.
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