IEM Rio 2023 Final: Heroic and Vitality Play Out Anti-Climax

After a week of build-up, the IEM Rio 2023 Grand Final ended up as something of an anti-climax. Vitality and Heroic played out a swift affair, with the Vitality CS:GO team emerging as victors in a match that was never really a contest.

There’s plenty to discuss here, with both of these teams coming into the tournament looking to dispel certain narratives about their form. Let’s dive deep into the Vitality 2-0 Heroic Grand Final.

IEM Rio 2023

More disappointment in Rio for Heroic. Credit: Heroic on Twitter

Vitality’s IEM Rio 2023 Win

There won’t be many who saw this result coming, especially not as a 2-0. Even with ZywOo, the Vitality CS:GO team had been looking a little bit tired lately. They were something of an underdog at IEM Rio 2023, despite the star power at their disposal. Without a tournament win since ESL Pro League Season 16, this result definitely cements them as a serious contender going forward.

Truthfully, the team was helped by the tournament format. In a best-of-five final, it’s possible that Heroic may have been able to put up more of a fight with their overall map pool. But in the best-of-three format seen at IEM Rio 2023, chaos reigns, and anything can happen.

Don’t let that take away from what a terrific performance this was by the Vitality CS:GO team. Everyone had their part to play, with each player maintaining a positive K/D ratio across the series. Only Spinx was slightly quieter here, although his contribution across the whole tournament doesn’t leave much to be desired. Of course, there was ZywOo, but his greatness is a given. It was Magisk and dupreeh that perhaps impressed the most. The duo has faced questions recently due to their age and declining form. Those questions were answered emphatically in Rio, as they rolled back the years to look like their former Astralis best.

It’s an exciting time for Vitality. As an international roster, it will always take more time for the pieces to come together and work fluidly. But this was a different Vitality to what we’ve seen in the past twelve months. The past Vitality would have crumbled. Instead, they dominated. It’s not like it was a close game, either. Heroic was left with no chance in the IEM Rio 2023 Grand Final, not even given a map by this Vitality machine. With the Paris Major beginning in just a few weeks, what a time it is for the roster to find such form.

Tough to Take for Heroic

This one will be tough to swallow for Heroic. IEM Rio 2023 was supposed to be an exorcising of demons lingering from the Rio Major. Instead, it has shattered their mental game even further with another Grand Final loss. While their IEM Katowice 2023 loss against G2 can be written off as losing to a team in blistering form, it’s hard to argue that they should have beaten Outsiders and Vitality respectively. Instead, this only raises questions about their ability to get tournaments over the line. Eventually, the Heroic CS:GO team will begin to believe they can’t do it, with only a BLAST Premier Fall Finals 2022 win to show for their efforts of late.

In our IEM Rio 2023 preview, we had Heroic down as one of the early favorites. Right now, it seems as though their floor is enough to get them to Grand Finals, but their ceiling isn’t quite high enough to get the job done. It’s a painful situation to be in, as the solution isn’t as simple as a roster change.

Throughout the tournament, the Heroic CS:GO team’s composition was a massive help. No massive stars, with everyone chipping in along the way. It’s that same composition that was their downfall in the IEM Rio 2023 Grand Final. Across both maps, only cadiaN showed up, with the grizzled veteran the only Heroic CS:GO player to go positive in the series. Considering the team’s prior consistency, it was a remarkable downfall. It was difficult not to feel sorry for cadiaN, with the captain fighting tooth-and-nail for his legacy in the game.

It’s not all doom and gloom for this Heroic CS:GO roster. They’ve shown they can consistently reach these finals, and if it does finally click for them, they’ve got the potential to be as decorated as any CS:GO team.

But on the day here, the better team won. Vitality had their number and nullified the team’s strengths through the star power of IEM Rio 2023 MVP ZywOo. Make no mistake. This wasn’t Heroic’s loss – this was a Vitality victory.