NAVI exact revenge on NIP to qualify for BLAST Premier Spring Final
The world no. 1 team got the job done despite not playing up to their end-of-2021 form.
The CIS side showed weakness throughout the tournament, losing BO1 matches to MIBR and Astralis in the first week and a BO3 to NIP in the second one, but performed well in the crucial matches. When elimination was on the line in games against Liquid and the rematch versus NIP, Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and co. took 2-0 victories and ultimately did what they had to at the group stage — securing a spot at the Spring Final.
"It is a slow start of the season, but we are happy with the result, we got to the Final," Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov said in a post-match interview, explaining that they will focus on preparation for the upcoming IEM Katowice after getting over the first hurdle in 2022.
Multikills from Patrick "es3tag" Hansen were the only thing stopping Natus Vincere from running over NIP on the T side of Nuke, the first map of the series. The Danes' efforts translated to three rounds on the defense, but that was way too little for NIP to mount a comeback on the offense, dropping the map 16-6.
It seemed like the series was going to be a complete whitewash as Natus Vincere took an 8-0 CT lead on Overpass, NIP's map pick. Just like on Nuke, Love "phzy" Smidebrant had a slow start, but he got himself and his team on the board with a 1v1 clutch in the ninth round. NIP salvaged the half with some quick hits, but struggled to establish themselves on CT initially.
Some heroics from Fredrik "REZ" Sterner and another clutch from phzy kept NIP's head above water and they slowly built momentum. Seven rounds in a row went their way and the score was tied at 14-14, but Natus Vincere's B hit stopped the streak, broke NIP's economy, and allowed the favorites to push it across the line before overtime.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|50 - 28||+22||99.0||1.59|
|48 - 26||+22||86.9||1.48|
|40 - 33||+7||94.2||1.37|
|33 - 32||+1||66.7||1.13|
|31 - 30||+1||67.8||1.00|