NAVI brush aside Vitality to set up all-CIS grand final
Natus Vincere comfortably swept Vitality aside to set up an all-CIS grand final with Gambit, besting the French side 2-0 with a 16-12 victory on Nuke and a 16-5 demolition on Dust2. The result was never in doubt, with the entire Natus Vincere squad firing on all cylinders.
The grand final matchup between Natus Vincere and Gambit pits the two best teams of the year against each other, Gambit dominating the online-focused first half of the year, Natus Vincere crushing ever since LAN returned with IEM Cologne.
An emotional Dan "apEX" Madesclaire gave a post-game interview, putting the defeat down to a long stretch away from home for his team: "We are out of gas, of fuel, of everything, that was quite hard. We knew that if we wanted to beat NAVI, we had to be at 100%, and obviously it didn't happen, s**t happens."
He was also asked if he was proud of the year his squad had: "Of course I am. It's been three years working together with this team, and personally it's something special."
Turning to the game itself, Nuke was the opener for this series, the pick and home map of the favourites Natus Vincere.
Vitality got off to the perfect start on their defense, running up to a 4-0 lead and setting themselves up for a great half, before Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev slapped the Frenchmen down; he picked up a 4k of headshots in a 2v5 to turn the map around. This seemed to galvanise the CIS squad, whose upper hits became the foundation of their attack, and they managed to secure an 8-7 lead going into the favoured CT side.
Whilst allowing Natus Vincere seven T rounds was probably too much, the #1 team in the world made the point moot by putting up a crushing early defence, getting to 13 before Vitality could muster any fight.
The Frenchmen grabbed a few rounds and broke the CT economy to get to 11 and make the score respectable, but a huge 3k hold from control room in round 25 from Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov stopped the comeback in its tracks. Vitality grabbed one more, but it was not enough to stop Natus Vincere closing out the first map 16-12.
Onto the Vitality pick of Dust2, and unfortunately the Frenchmen could not justify the pick.
The first half was another crushing start from Natus Vincere, getting all the way to 7-0 this time before any response from the boys in black and yellow. Whilst Vitality began to find some success through taking mid control, it simply wasn't enough as the CIS squad cobbled together a few more to make for a 10-5 half.
This time Natus Vincere didn't let the Frenchmen get their foot in the door, as they quickly put the game to bed 16-5 to secure a grand final matchup with Gambit. The usual duo of Denis "electroNic" Sharipov and s1mple stood out across the series for their team, whilst an unusually quiet series from Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut was likely a key factor in Vitality's demise.
|Vitality||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|30 - 40||-10||70.2||0.92|
|28 - 36||-8||66.6||0.84|
|31 - 40||-9||68.8||0.80|
|22 - 38||-16||56.8||0.65|
|18 - 37||-19||55.5||0.60|
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|44 - 29||+15||95.0||1.44|
|43 - 26||+17||94.1||1.44|
|39 - 22||+17||83.0||1.35|
|42 - 29||+13||85.9||1.34|
|23 - 23||0||54.8||1.01|