Liquid dismantle Natus Vincere; set to face Vitality for ESL One Cologne trophy
The second semi-final of Cologne kicked off on Dust 2, where Natus Vincere defence took control of affairs immediately, securing the first pistol round. An anti-eco Scout triple kill for Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev followed, producing a two-round lead for the CIS mix squad. Liquid disallowed any further momentum to be developed by their adversaries, as with rifles in hand a seven-round lead was accrued, coupled with a flourishing bank.
Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko and his men managed to convert two post-plant situations following a string of consecutive losses, subsequently finding themselves in trouble after yet another upset in momentum. Against the odds, Egor "flamie" Vasilyev secured a Deagle triple kill while holding B tunnels in round 13, which yielded his team much-needed confidence to soften the first half deficit to 6-9.
The second pistol round witnessed an outstanding individual showing from Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov, who was able to dispatch three Liquid members in a 1v3 post-plant clutch. This allowed Natus Vincere a score equaliser prior to a full buy for the CTs. Consistent with the prior half, once equipment was in check Liquid were able to once more assume the lead.
Natus Vincere upset the CT momentum with a fruitful round, but a blunder sustained during an A hit saw an advantage squandered. A brawl ensued, as the teams exchanged a round each, leading to brittle economies on both sides. Liquid emerged on top, thanks to a force buy round conversion that saw a Deagle triple kill from Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken. The aqueous quintet secured map point off the back of this performance, and Natus Vincere were subsequently unable to force overtime, conceding their map pick with a 12-16 score.
Overpass was next on the agenda, where Liquid's offense kicked off to a successful B site hit, securing a bomb plant and the first round of the map. A triple and double kill for Denis "electronic" Sharipov and Boombl4, respectively, in an ensuing pistol force buy allowed Natus Vincere to snatch the momentum, resulting in a further two rounds. Liquid posted their second digit afterward, but lacked follow-up, creating room for a 5-2 lead on part of their adversaries.
Round eight was pivotal for Liquid, as the North American squad had finally found consistency, producing three successful bomb plants, and a score equaliser as a result. Boombl4 prevented a lead from being developed, as he came through for his team in a pistol buy, landing a triple kill, and once more placed the ball in Natus Vincere's court. The CIS squad went on to close out the majority of the remaining rounds, producing a 9-6 CT half.
In what had become a recurrence, Boombl4 once more accounted for the furthering of his squad's position, as double a kill opening on the A site secured his team the second pistol round of Overpass. Natus Vincere closed the following two engagements despite a force buy for Liquid, extending the round disparity further.
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski single-handedly ensured his team's resurgence in the midde portion of the latter half, as a M4A4 triple kill inspired his team to perform. After securing six consecutive rounds, Liquid leveled the scoreline at 12-12, witnessing another multi-kill in the process, this time courtesy of Twistzz. Despite working with a maximum loss bonus, Natus Vincere persistently struggled against the North American defence, subsequently conceding series point after four members fell to Nick "nitr0" Cannella's AWP on the A site. Liquid went on to close out 16-12 shortly after, securing their grand final pairing against Vitality with a 2-0 series score.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||45 - 30||+15||84.8||1.35|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||40 - 35||+5||71.3||1.13|
|Jake 'Stewie2K' YipStewie2K||39 - 37||+2||78.5||1.09|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||36 - 40||-4||89.2||1.08|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0||32 - 36||-4||59.4||0.93|
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Kirill 'Boombl4' MikhailovBoombl4||45 - 33||+12||78.8||1.23|
|Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostylievs1mple||36 - 36||0||70.7||1.04|
|Egor 'flamie' Vasilyevflamie||39 - 41||-2||79.7||0.97|
|Denis 'electronic' Sharipovelectronic||34 - 39||-5||68.9||0.95|
|Danylo 'Zeus' TeslenkoZeus||24 - 44||-20||54.4||0.62|