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ZywOo's first Major MVP, dupreeh and zonic's 5th Major win, and other storilines closed at BLAST Paris Major 2023

BLAST Paris Major 2023 concluded with Vitality's victory. The last CS:GO Major had many storylines that had abrupt endings, many Cinderella stories, and surprising achievements, such as Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen's and Danny "zonic" Sorensen's spectacular fifth Major wins. We broke down the most interesting ones in the following article.

The first grand final between two international teams and Eastern Europe drop-off

Vitality became the second international team in history to ever win a Major, something that seemed impossible before FaZe Clan did it in Antwerp. And not only that: their opponent, a relatively unknown GamerLegion roster, was also a mix of nationalities and non-native English speakers. Also, Spinx put a new country on the CS map, by being the first Israeli to ever win a Major.

Another surprising thing was the lack of Eastern European teams in Paris. The IEM Rio Major's Trophy went to Russian players of Outsiders, Stockholm was won by NAVI, and even without these achievements, there was always an Eastern European team in playoffs with a noticeable increase in presence for the latest Valve's tournaments.

But here, we had no Russian player getting to playoffs, which hadn't happened since Katowice 2019. Also, after Monte's defeat, not a single CIS player has made it to the semis. This hasn't been the case since ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017.

Source: PGL

France wins last Major amidst local scene decline

Even though Vitality has only two French players on the roster, the organization and most of its employees are from that country. Their local scene has been seemingly fading away. Even the peak viewership numbers for the home Major aren't impressive: 66k viewers in the grand final featuring the local team with great chances to win it all.

The last top-tier French roster also played under the Vitality tag but decided to go international due to the lack of options. Before that, only G2 held some French legacy for some time.

Hopefully, this victory will help to reignite some fire for France, which once held one of the strongest teams coming to CS:GO. It's quite symbolic that Vitality has some of the all-time greats in the face of apEX, leading their new superstar ZywOo to the Major trophy.

"I've been criticized from day one for being IGL, but now, I won the f**king Major, so f**k you all!" ApEX, zonic, dupreeh, and ZywOo's emotions after BLAST Paris Major win

The Ghost of Astralis returns to close the CS:GO history as zonic, dupreeh, and Magisk do the unthinkable

Dupreeh, zonic, and Magisk cemented their legacy in CS:GO. The former two had won their 5th Major, while the latter got his fourth title. Ironically, three former Astralis members close this chapter when the actual organization is in ruins competition-wise and isn't even present at this Major.

Dupreeh's story, in particular, is almost unbelievable. The Dane has attended all 19 CS:GO Major in history and won 5 of them, which makes his winrate to be over 25%. Going against all odds, he took the trophy after wild critique, especially in early 2023. His stats were poor, and he had his baby born in February, which caused him to miss part of ESL Pro League. Dupreeh's replacement JACKZ also seemingly did better than him individually, and many fans demanded to keep the French player or find someone else.

Source: PGL

Zonic, together with him and Magisk, had proven to the world that their greatness goes beyond Astralis and same-language teams too. An interesting point was brought up by Thorin. He compared Vitality's coach to Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko from NAVI. The CS:GO analyst thinks zonic has surpassed his old-time rival in the number of Major trophies.

The underdogs rise and format controversy

Never before so many underdog teams have made it to playoffs. If last year's IEM Rio had a Major champion crowned after a considerably "easy run", this time, it might've felt even cheaper. The teams Vitality had to beat were nowhere near what the community used to see as favorites.

From an HLTV ranking standpoint, their way has been becoming easier the more they advanced, as the latest four teams weren't even in the top 20. The grand finalist GamerLegion had the lowest placement of all their opponents before the Major.

Red is HLTV ranking at the Major start.

Playoffs featured three obvious underdog teams, and even Team Liquid was hard to consider a strong contender with all the issues the team had to face before the event. At the same time, the qualified "noname" rosters had relatively easy ways to get there, with some exceptions. Meanwhile, two of the top-6 teams before that were eliminated by FaZe Clan, and only G2 lost to Fnatic.

This situation split the community, with heated debates all over the web. Our editorial team was no different: some see the underdog runs as a breath of fresh air in the basically franchised scene, and others feel like these achievements weren't truly deserved and they were robbed of a great ending for the game they love. While every participant was on equal terms, this certainly didn't feel like a pinnacle of the competition to some viewers.

PGL Antwerp would be the perfect ending for such a history. Source: PGL

Maybe it happens because of the format, with its seeding based only on RMR, and multiple Bo1s, providing an easier opportunity for an upset. Perhaps the gap between tier-1 and tier-2 teams is smaller than we used to believe. Either way, the elephant in the room is here: the Major seemed to have nothing to do with the context of the yearly circuit, and things were not going as "planned." Should Valve reconsider its approach to the format, or ESL with BLAST open more space for non-partnered teams is an open question, but hard to say if either party would be satisfied with the outcome.

Magisk before Paris final: "GL have been playing without pressure, enjoying themselves, they had nothing to lose. Today it's different"

ZywOo's first Major and Major MVP title

The guy born on the same day CS was officially released was always considered "the chosen one." ZywOo grabbed two titles of the best player by HLTV during his rookie years but never actually won any prestige event. Even the mentioned 1st places were questionable: 2020 was the online era, and in 2021 he was toe-to-toe with s1mple, although no one denied that he was good enough.

But this win, some crucial clutches won in the grand final under pressure, and overall consistent performance prove that ZywOo is more than he seems to be at first glance. The superstar is willing to work, fit new styles and approaches, switch to another language, and constantly praise his teammates. The MVP title puts him in the conversation for the best player of 2023, and this time, without any asterisks.

Source: PGL

BLAST's poor delivery to close the 10-year story of CS:GO

For many, the main disappointment was BLAST. Always praised for the well-polished production, the TO failed to host a proper RMR in Asia, had integrity issues at the event, and didn't actually push the theme of the last CS:GO Major, having everything at their disposal. While BLAST was always presented as a better option than ESL, this Major felt quite "generic" to many.

BLAST skipped some talent working for their competitors, weirdly didn't play into the history of CS:GO with something like a documentary about the participants, made a laughable trophy, and didn't present anything significant at the arena as well. French fans were doing all the necessary work for the tournament to feel great, but even their efforts were somewhat dismissed by BLAST's work with sound.

Paris Major trophy also looked way too disappointing for such a tournament. Instead of some classic shape cup, BLAST presented its logo as an award that looked like it came directly from a toy store because of its colours, materials, shape and tiny size. As if the TO wanted to stress out the insignificance of the last CS:GO Major.

Source: Reddit

Another questionable move was to invite the influencer Jake Lucky to host the day-closing segments. Although he did work with Counter-Strike, he never appeared in this kind of role at CS:GO events and doesn't seem like a well-established community figure. The game has such an extensive list of personalities to perfectly fit this role that having Jake hosting these parts was unnecessary, if not borderline offensive to the community, especially considering false accusations against former player mOE that he had done in the past.

The GOAT s1mple falls short, and other disappointments

NAVI superstar AWPer had one of the worst events in his career. The GOAT player averaged 1.07 ranting, which never happened since BLAST Moscow 2019, which also had very few maps for a proper comparison. For the first time since Krakow, he failed to bring his team to the Major playoffs, losing a massive advantage in the match against FaZe Clan. For now, it doesn't look like he will be able to pick the number one spot this year as well. The 2023 beginning feels like an actual start of s1mple's decline.

Source: Heroic Twitter

Other star players like NiKo, dev1ce, and Cloud9's sh1ro and Ax1Le didn't make it far enough, as most of those didn't even qualify. G2, which looked strong at the beginning of the year, dropped the ball, losing to Fnatic in the Legends stage. Even Heroic, after dismantling FaZe, couldn't find an answer for GamerLegion.

The most upsetting thing for many is that we didn't have a grand final worthy of the decade-long history. S1mple didn't face ZywOo in an epic showdown, NiKo didn't contest the title once again, while his young teammate m0NESY has yet to play in the Major playoffs.

It feels like we step into the new era of CS2 amidst a massive drop-off in form and disorder among the grand names. And instead of a bold exclamation mark, the long and exciting road ends with...

NiKo: "I did not deserve to win a Major in CS:GO"
Tags Paris Major 2023 Paris Major 2023

C9 C9

Heroic Heroic


Zeus Zeus

dupreeh dupreeh

device device

apEX apEX

Magisk Magisk

zonic zonic

ZywOo ZywOo

Spinx Spinx


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