ZywOo: "Spinx is only in the team two months and I feel like he's there for one year already"
The newly crowned ESL Pro League Season 16 MVP spoke to HLTV following Vitality's title win in Malta.
Vitality have clinched their first title in 2022 after overcoming Liquid in a drawn-out best-of-five grand final, managing to secure the ESL Pro League Season 16 trophy in their first full tournament outing with Lotan "Spinx" Giladi. The all-deciding match spanned nearly seven and a half hours and saw Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut break the record for the most number of kills in a series, surpassing both Chris "chrisJ" de Jong's record in a best-of-seven and Marcelo "coldzera" David's record in a best-of-five.
It wasn't just the grand final where ZywOo shined either, his consistently stellar showings throughout the tournament making him the only clear candidate to be awarded the MVP medal before the final match even got underway. His performance in the final only cemented that status further, driving him forward to claim his first trophy since winning IEM Winter at the end of 2021 — something he told HLTV was made all the more sweet because it was Spinx's first full tournament playing with them.
In our MVP interview, ZywOo touched on some of the touch-and-go moments in the series, as well as explained how he feels the addition of the Israeli rifler is helping Vitality level up. He also was swift to state that the team will already need to put the win out of their minds as they turn their attention to the IEM Road to Rio RMR, which will kick off on Tuesday.
Congrats ZywOo, obviously that was a very hard-fought series, you set a record in it as well, I don't know if you know.
Actually I didn't know before someone told me like, 'you break the record,' I was like, 'what record, what is that?' Yeah I break it, but... yeah that's good, that's a good feeling actually [laughs].
A good feeling to casually break a record, of course [laughs].
Yeah, that's a good feeling to do that at the first event we did with Spinx. We played BLAST before, but it isn't finished yet.
It's your first title since IEM Winter, how does it feel to get it right away after just making a change?
This is the best feeling we can have after this best-of-five. This emotion... you can only have this emotion when you play eight hours of the game and win. Liquid was a really tough opponent in this game.
The first two maps were pretty one-sided in either direction, but then we got into Mirage. You got off to a really good start, 11-4, but could not close it out in the second half. What went wrong there?
I think it's just because we relaxed, how can I say that? Maybe we thought it was already won kinda, and we just relaxed. After a few rounds we can see like, maybe Liquid can come back, but maybe it's too late or something like this.
We just had a bad... not game plan, but just individually, ourselves, we had a bad game on T side. But actually we never gave up, even when we lost to the comeback on Mirage, we knew we can win Overpass and Vertigo.
As I said earlier, you had a pretty incredible series overall, but there were also moments throughout where for example, Magisk had some really impactful rounds early on-
Everyone had good rounds. It's not like I did things only individually, or I was alone to play. Everyone was on the server, communicating, team play, individually everyone was on point today.
Of course we can do better in some points and some rounds, but everyone was there giving everything in the server, so it was really good to play. Everyone enjoyed to play like this.
I want to know how much zonic is contributing for you all, he took a number of pauses but I don't think you came close to using them all in the series. How is he chipping in on your end?
When he tac pauses, he's trying to fix something or find a solution, it's not like we have some problem for the team. When he tac pauses it's like, 'we have to do this, we have to take this, we have to fix this,' every time. He tries to find solutions, and it's always like this.
When I spoke to zonic in Dallas, he said that he tends not to talk too much over apEX and he mostly helps outside of the server, is that still the case after the Spinx change?
Yeah, sometimes when he takes the pause it is just like, 'what can we do B' or 'what can we do A,' and the players start to talk, 'yeah we can do this, this, this,' it's always like this. He trying not to fix it by himself, but also with the player trying to fix everything.
How much help has it been for you individually having a player like Spinx have the kind of fragging output compared to with misutaaa beforehand?
To have him, it's bringing confidence. Just by him being on the server, communicating individually, he brings confidence to everyone because... actually I don't know, but this one replacement for misutaaa is something really different, we can see it in the server.
He speaks a lot, he does everything, he's not scared to peek, he's not scared to speak already. He's only in the team two months and I feel like he's there for one year already.
We've seen a bit of parity here in terms of the level of some teams; NAVI dropped off a bit, FaZe dropped off a bit. How do you feel about where you sit right now among the pool of teams contending for titles?
I don't know. I'm not thinking about FaZe had a bad game, or NAVI had a bad game. They're still good opponents to play. Whenever you have bad games they can still wreck you, so I'm not thinking they have a bad moment or something like this. It's going to be dangerous to play against them, so I'm not thinking like this.
You have the RMR coming up in not even two days, it's starting really quick. Coming straight out of this where it's been a grueling couple of days, how do you feel about heading into that so quickly?
I think tomorrow we're going to relax, because phew, it's going to be tough to not think about this victory, but I think we need to switch up instantly about the RMR because this is also a really important tournament. So I think we don't need to think about this victory, we need to almost forget this victory and switch over to the new tournament instantly. It's going to be hard of course, but we have to.