Team Vitality with a classy win - IEM Winter 2021

IEM Winter 2021 has concluded with Team Vitality taking home the championship trophy, marking the end of 2021 for IEM Season XVI.  The last tournament of the professional gaming tour will be IEM Katowice in February 2022, and we will move on to the next season after that. Still, it was very important for Team Vitality to win the very last event before IEM Katowice, where everything ends.

Team Vitality, with ZywOo leading the cavalry, hasn’t struggled against Ninjas in Pyjamas in the final series at all. With this victory, they took the $100,000 prize money home and proved that they are still the number one contender for Natus Vincere’s place in 2022. Let’s get into the details about the finals and the tournament.

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The grand final: Team Vitality vs Ninjas in Pyjamas

Before the final, Team Vitality was considered to be significantly better than Ninjas in Pyjamas, which was reflected in the betting odds for the series. However, because they managed to come all the way here and defeated G2 on the way, NIP fans were still excited about this series, they believed they had a chance, and I did believe that too. Maybe NIP wasn’t as bad as people thought, but Vitality proved to be better.

Nonetheless, it was certain that NIP would struggle without dev1ce. The picks for best of five started by NIP banning Vertigo and Vitality banning Ancient. Then, NIP picked Inferno and Nuke, while Vitality’s picks were Dust II and Mirage. The decider would be Overpass.

Team Vitality had a great series overall, but on Inferno, they really did get an effective start. However, when the end of the first half was coming closer, NIP managed to turn it around to 8-7. es4tag and REZ’s performance wasn’t enough to stop a 29 frags ZywOo to win the map in the second half, letting NIP get no more than two rounds with 16-10.

After winning NIP’s pick, Vitality had the advantage now. When they should have stomped NIP there, Dust II took a similar path with Inferno where NIP got even more rounds in the first half with 9-6. Well, that only led to Vitality winning even more in the second half, letting NIP take one round and finishing it 16-10 after a 7 round winning streak.

Team Vitality, one of the most dangerous teams in the world, was at match point on Nuke. A whole year of being bullied by Natus Vincere and not being able to win a single thing - but everything could end now. However, NIP also had their answers.

Nuke was the closest map of them all with one change: Vitality winning the CT side 8-7. This time, shox and apEX took the driver seat instead of ZywOo. I am really positive that NIP missed dev1ce a lot in that second half, a player of his experience and skill could maybe win them the map. After this clutch play below from shox, it was over: 16-13 and 3-0.

IEM Winter 2021 comments

Without Natus Vincere, IEM Winter 2021 has really missed something for sure. The group stage went interesting: GODSENT upsetting big names in Group B was one of the highlights of the event. While Fnatic, Heroic, FaZe, BIG and Gambit struggled to fight each other in the lower bracket, GODSENT and moved on to the playoffs easily.

In Group A, the opposite happened: G2 Esports, Team Vitality and Ninjas in Pyjamas, three strongest teams made it to the playoffs without any real struggle. GODSENT then fought honorably against NIP to stay in the playoffs, and Gambit was defeated by Team Vitality early. But the biggest surprise came from Ninjas, who defeated G2 without dev1ce.

Team Vitality, by winning the grand final, finally got that confidence boost I really think they needed. They are the second best team in the world—that is actually an amazing achievement. However, they haven’t seen a possibility to outperform NAVI and take the first place, which made being second-best depressing for them. Hopefully, they will have better mental health during IEM Katowice, and challenge NAVI, once again.

ZywOo became the MVP of IEM Winter 2021:

On the other side, Ninjas in Pyjamas announced that phzy will play for the team at BLAST Premier World Final, as dev1ce's health problems require him to take a longer recovery. Find their announcement below:

The best KD at IEM Winter was’s Jame, who played 7 maps and accumulated a 1.51 K/D. Closest to him is ZywOo with 1.37 K/D on 14 maps, which is impressive. According to HLTV’s estimations, the player with the best performance (rating) was NiKo.

Mirage was the most played map at IEM Winter 2021, being played 14 times. In contrast, Overpass was played 5 times only. According to Esports Charts, IEM Winter’s peak viewer count was 308,457, just before G2 vs Vitality in group stage. The event averaged a viewer count of 165,210.

Team Vitality won the trophy in Germany, and will head back home to get ready for Katowice and participate in the tournaments in between. Their first stop will be BLAST Premier’s World Final. There, the European powerhouse will also have a chance to meet NAVI in upper bracket finals or the grand final, as they start on the distant ends of the bracket.

If you want to find the betting odds for Team Vitality’s matches and BLAST Premier World Final games, visit Luckbox’s CS:GO page to find those odds, bet on them and watch the events.