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Interview: Vitality ZywOo Reflects On Dreamy 2023 & CS2's Future

Unveil Vitality ZywOo's victorious 2023 journey of securing the Blast.tv Paris Major while sharing insights on CS2 and gaming preferences in this exclusive interview.
Interview: Vitality ZywOo Reflects On Dreamy 2023 & CS2's Future
Picture: Vitality

It would not be wrong to say that 2023 was a dreamy year for Vitality's star player, ZywOo. Not only did he win the last Blast.tv Paris Major with his team, but he also grabbed the MVP title for the event. Soon after that, he was nominated for HLTV Player of the Year, AWPer of the Year, and Highlight of the Year awards, and won all of them as well.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with 'The Chosen One' to discuss more about his journey to winning the Major, his thoughts about the state of CS2, and more. You can read the full interview below.

Interview With Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut

An interview with the legend, ZywOo.
An interview with the legend, ZywOo. (Picture: Michal Konkol/BLAST)

Congratulations on winning the Blast.tv Paris Major last year, and also on securing five MVPs in 2023. Additionally, you are currently one of the nominees for the HLTV Player of the Year award as well (this interview took place before the HLTV awards). How have you been feeling about all of this?

ZywOo: Obviously, the year was something special for Vitality because we achieved a lot. I feel we won a lot, but that's all with a different lineup. So it was kind of weird because, at the beginning of the year, we won a lot with dupreeh and Magisk, and then we had flameZ and mezii. So I'm really happy for this year because we managed to find our groove with the different lineup we had.

We had some moments in Sydney; we had some trouble with the team. I think we can see that with some changes after the Danish people left. Our direction of the team was kind of weird. We didn't know where to go. But after that, I think 99% of the year was perfect. 

And we want to do much better for the next year. We want to work harder. We want to play more. We are not satisfied. I mean, it's really good, but we are not satisfied. Okay, we had good years. But, we're not going to stop after that.

We want more. We want to still win a major. We want to win a trophy again. Obviously, this year was one of the best years I could have because winning the Paris Major was the best dream ever. So obviously, this year will be in my mind forever, I guess. 

You have won the last CSGO Major, and now it's the beginning of the CS2 era. However, as we know, s1mple has already taken a break because, according to him, the state of CS2 is not good. We have also witnessed cheating and connection issues in qualifiers. What are your thoughts on this, and what do you foresee for the future of CS2, both in the competitive scene and as a game?

ZywOo: For me, it's not different than CSGO. I mean, even on CSGO, we had some cheaters in every qualifier for the majors. So for me, if it's happened in CSGO, why not in CS2? I mean, that's practically the same game, maybe with a 5 to 10% change, but that's practically the same. So for me, there will be cheaters even during matchmaking and also on FaceIt, but even more so in qualifiers because people want to play Majors.

Also, for me, this game is not dead, obviously. I think it's gonna go further in the future because, even though it may feel like it's always the same, there are enhancements, like with maps, smokes, etc. But I just feel it's pretty much the same game as before. So, for me, CS2 will not go down. 

You mentioned once that you play a lot of games. Which ones are you enjoying the most at the moment?

ZywOo: Actually, at the moment, my friends and I enjoy playing The Finals. Besides that, I occasionally play a bit of TFT when I'm really tired and just want to chill.

Have you ever played Valorant? If so, could you share your thoughts about it, such as what you liked and what you did not?

ZywOo: Yeah, a bit. I did play a tournament at the beginning of the game with some friends, but... Unless some friends ask me to play, I won't go alone to play ranked or anything because this game, for me, is like... It's too much, like, too many spells, too many flashy things, too much to keep track of.

Even just watching it isn't good enough. So I don't know. For me, it's fun to play. It's a fun game, but playing competitively isn't good for me. So I'm on the fence about it. It's like if I need to play it casually, yeah, for me, it's fine. But if I need to go beyond that, it's not. CS is above it.

Which game has better skins, Valorant or CSGO?

ZywOo: Actually, I don't know much about Valorant skins. I have some, but I will still opt for CSGO because that's where the skin creation began, laying the foundation for this trend. So, I will go with CSGO anyway. F*ck Valorant. Nothing for them, haha. 

Many players have spoken about the mental challenges they face during their professional careers. Have you ever experienced a difficult period like this?

ZywOo: I think the main focus for me, whenever I'm on stage or gonna play a game, is to enjoy. I mean, when you step onto the stage, obviously, you have pressure. You cannot go to stage without pressure. I don't know anyone who goes there without feeling some sort of pressure, but the key is to embrace the type of pressure you're experiencing — whether it's good or bad pressure.

Because if you have bad pressure, you mean, 'Oh my god, I need to perform now, I need to do my job.' When you're thinking this way, for me, it's bad pressure because you put yourself in a bad way. For me, the good pressure is just to look around, look at your teammates, and just feel the moments.

So for me, I had some trouble at some points, like with my mental state, obviously. But afterward, when I was speaking, when I was talking with people, they were just saying, 'Play your game. Just enjoy. That's where you are the best.' That's not when you are thinking about the consequences. You're not thinking like, 'Oh my god, I need to perform.' But every time I was thinking about performing, that's when I was going downhill because I was not playing my game.

I was playing, just kind of scared and those were my bad moments, kind of. After that, after receiving this call, just joining the scene, finding joy, and not dwelling on the consequences, just giving your best every time. That's what helped me a lot to to find my groove on stage and to fight against the enemies.

So I think once you have this, it's going to be fine. You can beat anyone on stage. So just have fun, and although you'll feel pressure, don't dwell on it. Don't think about the consequences. You may lose some games on stage, and you'll want to win some too. But the most important thing is to play your best every time.