Na`Vi defeat BIG to win ESL One Cologne
"We want to win tournaments that have all of the best teams. That's our little goal." Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev's words after his team had won StarSeries i-League Season 5, back in April, were the perfect example of the frustration of a team who had many times come so close to picking up trophies at tournaments featuring all the greatest names in the game. And today they can finally put their ghosts behind them.
The title decider kicked off on Overpass, Natus Vincere's map pick, with BIG taking a 2-0 lead to get the crowd pumped up. A third-round buy from Na`Vi paid off and inspired them to take a 4-2 lead, but BIG were able to respond after setting up favourable aim duels with some great utility.
A quad-kill from s1mple in the following round put Na`Vi back in the lead and reset BIG's economy. It looked like the Ukrainians could go all the way, but then some uncharacteristic mistakes on their part, including two lost anti-ecos, kept things very close, with the half ending with an 8-7 scoreline in Na`Vi's favour.
Now on the CT side, Na`Vi further added to their lead after taking the pistol round and the following anti-eco. BIG tried to respond in the third round with a full buy, but got shut down by Denis "electronic" Sharipov, who picked up four frags.
With s1mple applying pressure and getting early picks, Na`Vi were able to bring their lead to 12-7 and get a comfortable cushion. After getting their economy back on track, BIG were able to put together a small run of rounds, eventually bringing the deficit to just three rounds, but then Na`Vi set up a very strong defence and won three rounds straight en-route to a 16-10 finish.
Next up was Dust2, where Na`Vi had lost all three games played over the last three months. Still, the Ukrainian team came into the game determined to make it 2-0 in the series, taking a 3-0 lead after shutting down a mid-B split from BIG in the pistol round.
The home side responded with a successful A split after taking long control, but there was no follow-up as they got shut down on the B site in the next round. The game then entered a highly-contested period as neither side was able to stamp their authority on the game.
Down 3-6, BIG pulled off yet another eco win, leaving Na`Vi's players shell-shocked. That ended up being the turning point in the half as the Germans took control of proceedings to secure a one-round lead before switching to the CT side.
BIG were able to take the second-half pistol round on the back of an ace from Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz, sending the crowd into raptures. Two unsuccessful force-buys from Na`Vi then followed, but the Ukrainians swiftly riposted with a trio of rounds to bring the deficit to a minimum.
BIG's economy was completely shattered, but somehow they were able to take the next round thanks to a stunning ace from Johannes "nex" Maget - who by now had over twice as many frags as his teammates. electronic went huge in the following round with a 1v4 clutch in an attempt to rescue Na`Vi, but to no avail, as BIG immediately regained control of the action, winning four rounds without response to tie up the series.
Carrying their momentum into Train, BIG cruised to a 4-0 lead on the CT side of the map. The German defence then finally caved in, following a 1v2 clutch from Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev, but the German side rallied back immediately.
Despite having almost no money in the bag, Na`Vi were able to take the next round after catching Owen "smooya" Butterfield off-guard and putting his AWP to great use. That was the start of a great run from the Ukrainian team, who restored parity at 5-5, but BIG refused to throw in the towel and tightened up their defence to take a narrow 8-7 lead into the second half.
The second half began with a successful inner push from BIG, who would follow it up with another to make it 10-7. But then some sloppy play from the Germans in the next round allowed Na`Vi to win a full eco and make a climb back into the map.
With s1mple finally stepping up after looking uninterested on the first two maps, Natus Vincere went on a great run and hit map point without losing any more rounds before Egor "flamie" Vasilyev took down four opponents to secure the map.
electronic went huge in the first pistol round on Inferno with three quick kills inside B, setting Na`Vi up for a 3-0 lead. After BIG got money in the bank, however, the landscape of the game changed immediately, with the German side winning six of the next rounds to secure a 6-4 lead.
Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko, who had impressed against Astralis on this very same map, helped to swing the game back in Na`Vi's favour with seven kills over the next three rounds, with a quad-kill from s1mple in the 15th round, giving the team a close 8-7 lead.
Natus Vincere got off to a dream start to the second half and won six rounds right off the bat, the last of which with a 1v3 clutch from s1mple. BIG were clearly losing steam, but tabseN still tried to rescue his team with a triple kill in the next round. His efforts were in vain, however, as Na`Vi quickly regained control of the map, winning back-to-back rounds to seal a convincing win on the final map of a hard-fought series.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|86 - 63||+23||95.8||1.34|
|83 - 60||+23||79.8||1.26|
|75 - 65||+10||70.2||1.15|
|64 - 64||0||70.5||1.05|
|57 - 69||-12||64.5||0.87|
|BIG||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|75 - 75||0||92.6||1.18|
|67 - 72||-5||68.8||1.02|
|70 - 82||-12||79.9||0.95|
|51 - 66||-15||56.6||0.88|
|57 - 71||-14||59.6||0.79|
ESL One Cologne 2018 final standings:
1. Natus Vincere - $125,000
2. BIG - $50,000
3-4. FaZe - $22,000
3-4. Astralis - $22,000
5-6. fnatic - $11,000
5-6. G2 - $11,000
7-8. ENCE - $7,500
7-8. MIBR - $7,500
9-12. Renegades - $6,000
9-12. mousesports - $6,000
9-12. Cloud9 - $6,000
9-12. North - $6,000
13-16. NIP - $5,000
13-16. Gambit - $5,000
13-16. Liquid - $5,000
13-16. BOOT-d[S] - $5,000