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Vitality to bench rpk after Blast Premier Showdown, add Kyojin logo 4/12/2021
a man standing in front of a computer: Cédric © Provided by Cédric

Cédric "RpK" Guipouy will be benched after the Blast Premier Showdown by Vitality, which is set to replace him with young rookie Jason "Kyojin" Nguyen.

The announcement follows a series of disappointing results as the French team has failed to return to title-winning form since the start of 2021. The legendary player, who spent the past three years playing for Vitality, will take time to reevaluate his options. He initially retired in 2012, but made a comeback after two years. 

"It's one of these tough decisions that we have to make. 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," Vitality's coach Rémy "XTQZZZ" Quoniam said.

Vitality sign unexperienced rookie Kyojin 

Replacing RpK is the unknown Kyojin. His signing is remarkable, Valve did not clear him to compete in majors up until the start of March. The 22-year-old has a pair of VAC bans to his name, but was cleared to compete by Valve, avoiding a situation similar to that of Elias "Jamppi" Olkkonen who was forced to transition to Valorant after Valve dug its heels in on banning him permanently from majors over a years-old VAC ban. The addition of Kyojin to the roster is also bad news for Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom, who is still on Vitality's bench. The Belgian was removed earlier this year as Vitality decided to move back to a five-man lineup. 

When questioned about why Nivera wasn't the one replacing RpK on Twitter, Vitality's owner Fabien "neo" Devide explained that Nivera's playstyle was not the right fit to replace RpK, but that the team feels Kyojin could be trained to do so. 

After the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown, Vitality will be fielding the following lineup:

  • Mathieu "ZywOo" Heirbaut
  • Dan "apEX" Madesclaire
  • Jason "Kyojin" Nguyen
  • Kévin "misutaa" Rabier
  • Richard "shox" Papillon

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