Vitality has benched Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt in response to their disappointing exit from the StarLadder Berlin Major, where they were upset by Avangar in the quarter-finals. Schmitt was part of the original Vitality lineup that formed in October of last year.
Vitality made a steady climb up the CS:GO rankings in 2019 with victories at the ECS Season 7 Finals and cs_summit 4. The French squad was widely considered to be the second-best team in the world following their Grand Final appearance at ESL One Cologne. Because of their consistent high placings and play-off appearances, many had expected them to make a deep run in the StarLadder Major. Once in Berlin, Vitality made it through the New Legends Stage with relative ease after taking wins over FaZe, North, and mousesports. Their single best-of-three loss to ENCE didn’t deter them in their journey to the quarter-finals, where they were matched up against Avangar. The CIS underdogs came out victorious after a three-map brawl, eliminating Vitality from Major contention. Schmitt ended the series at 34/59 K/D.
Schmitt recently lost the in-game leader and captain responsibilities, which possibly resulted in some friction within the team. A report from 1pv.fr suggests that tensions have been rising for a while now, citing Schmitt’s attitude and team investment as catalysts.
There is currently no official word on who Vitality will bring in to replace the two-time Major winner, though Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey’s name has been thrown around in rumor. The former Cloud9 rifler has been without a team since February. It is also unclear who Vitality will field at BLAST Pro Series Moscow, which is set to begin next week.
Images via StarLadder and Dreamhack.