A team that, alongside Natus Vincere and FaZe, has proven themselves to be one of the strongest rosters currently in the world of professional CS:GO is ENCE. "Snappi" and his troops have put fear into their opponents and made sure that everyone knows what ENCE is capable of, no matter the opponent. A team that, unlike ENCE, isn't performing as well as you would expect them to, is the French-Danish roster of Vitality. The two locked horns in a battle for a spot in the upper bracket of Group A. Whilst ENCE were the favorites going into the brawl between the two sides, the Vitality boys seemed to have stepped their game up and played incredibly well. Whilst it took all three maps it was ultimately Vitality to claim victory and secure a great start to their run at IEM Cologne 2022.
The first map of the Bo3-series took place on Nuke and was picked by ENCE. Having played the map a total of 17 times in the past three months and managed to win 71% of their matches on Nuke, it is safe to say that ENCE are to be feared on Nuke. Starting on the CT-side, however, it didn't seem as if Vitality were scared of ENCE, not one bit. A rock-solid defense from the Vitality side saw the French and Danish combination earn an impressive 12-3 lead before switching sides. The advantage as CT's on Nuke became apparent once the two teams had switched sides. Playing far better than in the first half of Nuke, ENCE managed to claw back a handful of rounds from the get-go. Ultimately, however, it was all too little too late for "Snappi" and his troops to make a comeback. At 16-10, Vitality avoided the ENCE comeback and claimed victory on Nuke.
The second map of the brawl between Vitality and ENCE took place on Dust 2 and was, of course, picked by Vitality. Known as a map where the individuals of a given roster can have great influence and freedom, it seemed the perfect map for "ZywOo" to get into things in the Bo3-series, after a quiet Nuke. Instead, it was ENCE to come flying out of the gate this time. A great start to their CT-side saw ENCE secure a 5-0 lead before a single round was won by Vitality. The theme of a strong CT-sided performance from either team continued as ENCE were able to close out the first half of Dust 2 at the scoreline of 11-4. Vitality, spearheaded by a "ZywOo" on fire, did everything in their power to come back against ENCE, however, it was too late. At 16-12 ENCE closed out Dust 2 and forced a third and final map of the Bo3-series.
The third and final map of the series was set to take place on Mirage, yet another map where individuals can create room for the entire team with their individual heroics alone. A "ZywOo" of fire proved, however, proved inadequate on Dust 2 and Vitality would need more members of their star-studded roster to step up if they were to have a chance against ENCE on Mirage. That was exactly the case as all five members of Vitality came flying out of the gate on their T-sided half of Mirage. With every member stepping up to the plate, Vitality managed to secure an impressive 12-3 lead going into the second half of Mirage. All Vitality had to do was to finish what they had started in the first half and they did exactly that. Despite ENCE managing to claw back some rounds and make the scoreline somewhat respectable it was the Vitality boys to claim victory at 16-7 and secure a great start to their run at IEM Cologne 2022.
Highlight of the Bo3-series:
Vitality - ENCE 2-1 | IEM Cologne Play-in
16-12 (Nuke) | Magisk - 1.53 Rating / 28-15 K-D / 103.1 ADR
12-16 (Dust 2) | dycha - 1.58 Rating / 29-17 K-D / 112.6 ADR
16-7 (Mirage) | misutaaa - 1.46 Rating / 21-10 K-D / 84.9 ADR
MVP: Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut - 1.35 Rating / 62-43 K-D / 88.5 ADR