Vitality see off Na`Vi in DreamHack Masters Malmö semi-finals
For a while, it looked like Na`Vi had thrown their name into the hat and joined the race for the title of best team of the tournament season. They had demolished Vitality on Nuke - historically one of their worst maps - and everything seemed to be clicking for them. But how wrong that assumption turned out to be. The French team responded in kind on Overpass and recovered from a poor start on Dust2 to take the map in convincing fashion and set up a final against home side fnatic.
It was not the s1mple-ZywOo showdown that many had hoped for, mainly because the Ukrainian barely had any impact on the two maps that his team lost, especially Dust2, where he never left the bottom of the scoreboard. The Frenchman, on the other hand, was a huge driving force for Vitality throughout the series, with the AWP and rifles, as he pushed the team to their first final appearance with the new roster on a day where the two sides coming out of the quarter-finals reigned supreme.
Nuke began at a fast and furious pace, with rounds going back and forth during the early stages as neither side was able to get a grip on the game. It would not last, though, as once Natus Vincere took control of proceedings, they immediately shut out the helpless Frenchmen, who were limited to just three rounds on the offense.
Things then went from bad to worse for Vitality, who were caught out in the second half pistol, but they replied in the following round to get a bit of a breather. The French side managed to get to six rounds before Na`Vi ran away with the game.
Overpass showed a different side to both teams. Na`Vi looked like they had lost steam as they struggled to break through a watertight Vitality defense, getting their first round victory when they were already down 0-7. There was no follow-up as Dan "apEX" Madesclaire denied the Russian side with a triple-kill spraydown on Monster, with the Frenchmen proceeding to win the remaining rounds of the half to secure a massive 14-1 lead.
Natus Vincere refused to throw in the towel and battled back after switching to the CT side, even winning the first full gun round following a trio of kills from Egor "flamie" Vasilyev. But their resistance would not last as they were caught off-guard by a Vitality side with nothing but pistols before Richard "shox" Papillon laid the game to rest with a clutch, his seventh of the tournament.
The Russian team were in control during the early stages of the game as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead on the CT side, but they immediately felt the game slip away from them after losing an anti-eco and called a tactical pause. From that point onwards it was a one-way street as Vitality picked apart Na`Vi's defense with a series of multi-kill rounds from Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut, who ended the half with 16 kills, nine more than Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev.
Vitality carried that late momentum into the second half as they won the pistol round and an anti-eco round, but Na`Vi took control of proceedings with guns in hand and restored parity on two occasions. They would not be able to go the extra mile, though, as Alex "ALEX" McMeekin's troops assembled a compact defense and switched to a double AWP setup to win five rounds in a row en route to a 16-11 victory.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Kirill 'Boombl4' MikhailovBoombl4||49 - 44||+5||82.4||1.13|
|Egor 'flamie' Vasilyevflamie||53 - 44||+9||83.8||1.10|
|Denis 'electronic' Sharipovelectronic||43 - 49||-6||72.1||1.00|
|Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostylievs1mple||43 - 48||-5||64.5||0.94|
|Ladislav 'GuardiaN' KovácsGuardiaN||32 - 47||-15||57.3||0.79|