Natus Vincere are the last semi-finalists of StarSeries i-League Season 4 after defeating Astralis 2-1 (Nuke 10-16, Inferno 16-14, Train 16-5).
The last quarter-final began on Nuke, a rather surprising pick from Astralis who beat Heroic on the map 16-4 earlier on at StarSeries. The Danes won the pistol round as CT with Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen grabbing a triple, but a quick response with the following forcebuy saw Natus Vincere take the lead 2-1. They then lost to a halfbuy themselves, giving up a chance to gain a bigger edge while Astralis retook the lead with Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander putting in a lot of the work outside.
It was 7-3 in favor of the Danish squad when the tide turned, as Astralis made a mistake below heaven and gave up two picks against only pistols, with Natus Vincere taking full advantage of that, winning four out of the remaining five rounds in the half for seven in total.
Na`Vi added a pistol round win on top of it, but this time Astralis replied with the pistols, forcing their opponents on two forcebuys in a row. Neither of them worked, but Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev's double and a 1v1 clutch in the 20th round gave his team their ninth. However, there was still little the crowd favorites could do to stop Astralis from that point onwards, as gla1ve & co. powered to a 16-10 win with a strong offense.
It was then time for Na`Vi's pick, Inferno, where Astralis got off to a good start again with a 3-0 lead as Terrorists. The first two gurnounds went back and forth, which put Na`Vi on low economy, but two saved weapons helped them even things out at 4-4. The two teams continued to go back and forth until the very last round, in which Astralis' successful forcebuy gave them the 8-7 edge.
Na`Vi then clinched the second pistol and survived a hairy anti-force thanks to Denis "electronic" Sharipov's ace in a 2v5 situation, but the lead was quickly back in Astralis' hands once they came out on top of the first few gunrounds with little resistance from their opponents.
It was 12-10 when Natus Vincere started turning things around, winning two in a row in part thanks to s1mple's 1v2 clutch, and breaking the Danes soon afterwards with a fast pace. The score was equal at 14-14 when Na`Vi delivered a big blow to Astralis by winning a close situation on B, forcing the decider shortly afterwards following a comfortable win on A for 16-14.
Train decided it all and it was Natus Vincere who put their stamp on it early on, getting up to 4-0 as CT after the pistol and first gunround, soon turned to 7-1 after converting two of the following three full buys on the back of triples from s1mple and Egor "flamie" Vasilyev. Astralis found their footing with three rounds in a row, as Nicolai "device" Reedtz put up a key triple and Emil "Magisk" Reif clutched a 1v1, but Na`Vi's defence stood strong at the end as they grabbed a 11-4 half.
Another trio of kills from s1mple helped Na`Vi extend their lead to 14-4, surviving the two anti-ecos. One round going the way of Astralis meant little, as they got reset at match point and the CIS-based squad advanced to the semi-finals at 16-5, 2-1.
K - D
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostylievs1mple
55 - 46
Denis 'electronic' Sharipovelectronic
57 - 41
Egor 'flamie' Vasilyevflamie
49 - 47
Ioann 'Edward' SukharievEdward
51 - 47
Danylo 'Zeus' TeslenkoZeus
41 - 55