How vsm persevered through a ban and finally reached a CSGO Major

Luís Mira

For several years, Vinicius ‘vsm’ Moreira was unable to play at CSGO Majors because of an old VAC ban. At the BLAST Paris Major, his dream finally comes true.

Of the 25 Major rookies competing at the BLAST Paris Major, no one is enjoying this moment as much as vsm.

For many years, it seemed as if this would never happen. In November 2018, the Brazilian player was indefinitely banned by Valve after an ESL investigation confirmed that an old Steam account with a VAC ban in CS:GO from 2013 (when he was just 13 years old) belonged to him.

Back then, it was almost a career death sentence. Players with a VAC ban attached to their names were barred from Majors, with no formal appeal process. Elias ‘Jamppi’ Olkkonen, a highly touted player from Finland, ended up moving to Valorant because of his VAC ban, which cost him a contract with OG and consigned him to a peripheral role on ENCE’s team.

vsm was one of the hottest prospects in Brazil at the time. Yet because of the ban, many doors were suddenly closed to him. The devastating blow, he notes, curtailed his progress.

“There was a decline as a player,” he tells Dexerto. “I was depressed, and I couldn’t play like I used to, with a lot of confidence. That really brought me down, and I couldn’t play at that level. There are still some remnants from that [in my game].”

vsm could have easily soured on CS:GO after his career hit such a major roadblock, but he kept on playing, trying to make the most of the opportunities to compete abroad that came his way. 2019 was his breakout year as he averaged an impressive 1.19 HLTV rating and 1.26 Impact on LAN, attending both ESL Pro League Americas seasons and the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals. He also picked up his first international trophy by winning the OMEN Atlantic Challenge in Lisbon.

And then, out of the blue, Valve relaxed the Major circuit’s VAC ban rules in 2021. The developer set a five-year cap on the ineligibility of players with VAC-banned accounts, giving vsm, Jamppi, and others the chance to finally attend Majors, which are regarded as the absolute pinnacle of the game.

“#vsmisfree,” he quickly tweeted. For many years, the Brazilian CS:GO community had used the hashtag ‘#freevsm’ to rally support for the player and push Valve to look into his case.

vsm’s first three qualification attempts ended in failure. To make matters worse, his team could not even reach the RMR leading to the IEM Rio Major, the biggest event in the history of Brazilian Counter-Strike and the one Fluxo had in their sights when they entered CS:GO in August 2022.

But his patience was finally rewarded last month when the team finished fifth in the Americas RMR to punch their ticket to the BLAST Paris Major. As the qualification series against Paquetá came to a close, vsm struggled to hold back the tears.

“I am so happy because this is something I always wanted in my life, and I have finally done it!” he says of qualifying for the Major. “This is an important moment because this is the last CS:GO Major.

“I am really happy to have my sticker because it means my name will be in the game that I love. CS is really important to me.”

Major preparations

The qualification for the BLAST Paris Major is a landmark moment for Fluxo, a Brazilian organization that has amassed a legion of followers since its founding in January 2021. Initially, Fluxo competed only in Free Fire, the game in which co-founder and CEO Bruno ‘Nobru’ Goes made his name, but over the last 12 months, the organization has expanded into other titles.

In August 2022, Fluxo spent nearly half a million dollars on player transfers when assembling its CS:GO team. Before the end of the year, it entered CBLOL, Brazil’s franchise League of Legends competition, by acquiring Rensga eSports’ slot for an undisclosed fee.

“Ever since this project was accepted by Fluxo, we agreed with the organization that we had to reach the Major,” vsm says. “Getting Fluxo’s brand on the international scene is very important for the growth of the organization.”

The team spent two weeks bootcamping in Germany, practicing over nine hours a day, with no off days, according to vsm. During this time, they worked on getting everyone in top shape for the Major and cutting out the mistakes that proved costly in the two domestic tournaments that came after the RMR.

Because of those disappointing showings, Fluxo is regarded as massive underdogs for the Major, with many pro players, analysts, and community members predicting them to go 0-3 in the Challengers Stage.

vsm says that the team’s main goal was to qualify for the Major; now, the players are focused on giving a good account of themselves. But even if Fluxo’s Major campaign comes to an early end, vsm will still have reasons to smile. For someone who spent so many years chasing this goal, just making it to the Major in Paris feels like a win.

“I never thought about quitting because I learned that, in order to win in life, you need to lose,” he says. “That was always on my mind, and I just kept going.”