Vitality to bench RpK after BLAST Premier Showdown
'Le Tank' will play one final tournament with the team.
Cédric "RpK" Guipouy will be removed from Vitality's active lineup after the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown and placed on the bench, the French organisation said on Monday. The move follows a series of uninspiring results by the team, who have struggled for form since the start of the year.
RpK's spot in the starting lineup will be taken by 22-year-old Jayson "Kyojin" Nguyen Van as Vitality look to end a poor run of form that saw them crash out of their last two tournaments, IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League 13, in the group stage.
"It's one of these tough decisions that we have to make," team coach Rémy "XTQZZZ" Quoniam said. "Cédric is an example as an achiever, consistent and inspiring player. The team is facing some difficulties and we need to find a new pace.
"It's never easy to let a legendary, inspiring and consistent player such as RpK step back from competition, and we'll do everything we can do to support him in what's yet to come."
RpK has been on Vitality's books since the organisation entered the Counter-Strike scene in October 2018. The 31-year-old has picked up multiple title victories with the team, most notably at the ECS Season 7 Finals and EPICENTER 2019.
RpK's plans beyond the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown - in which Vitality will face Argentinian side 9z in the first round - are unclear for now. He came back from retirement in December 2014, almost two years after walking away from the game to work with his father as an auto mechanic. He went on to play for Titan, G2 and Envy before linking up with Vitality, with whom he reached the playoffs of a Major for the first time after seven unsuccessful attempts.