apEX takes break from competition
Vitality's in-game leader will be out of action for at least the rest of BLAST Premier Spring Groups.
In a statement, Vitality coach Rémy "XTQZZZ" Quoniam explained that team-wide issues, the global health situation and apEX's personal problems all led to the decision to keep the in-game leader on the sidelines for an undetermined period of time. However, the coach stressed that apEX's role within the team is "essential" and that they hope to have him back "as soon as possible".
"Such an announcement may come as a surprise as the season has only just begun, but the efforts made over many years, the ongoing global pandemic, and the hazards of personal life are all factors that cause difficulties to arise at any time in an athlete's career," XTQZZZ said in the statement.
The French coach noted that "the early season announcements and unjustified accusations have been difficult to take" in what can be understood as a reference to the stream-sniping case involving the team in the BLAST Premier Global Final. Vitality were fined $10,000 by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) after it came to light that they had faced Liquid and Complexity with the stream playing in the background. According to the commission's report, there is no evidence to suggest that the players gained any advantage or cheated during these matches, and that the stream was on because of a "negligent error of unrelated Vitality staff".
Vitality's first result of the year was a third-place finish at the BLAST Premier Global Finals, placing behind rivals Astralis and Natus Vincere, and they opened the 2021 Spring season of BLAST with a 2-0 loss to Complexity. The French squad will be fighting for their tournament life in a match against Evil Geniuses, scheduled for 19:30 .
Vitality's roster now looks as follows:
Rémy "XTQZZZ" Quoniam (coach)
Dan "apEX" Madesclaire (on break)