NAVI hold out against Heroic to claim semi-final spot
The last Danish core has been eliminated from the tournament.
Natus Vincere claimed the last semi-final spot of PGL Antwerp 2022 following their 2-1 victory over Heroic. The Danish squad took Inferno (16-10) and almost swept the reigning Major champions on Ancient (14-16), but Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy's men held out to the very end before a dominant CT display on Nuke (16-8).
The Eastern European squad will play ENCE in the next round of playoffs. Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer's team looked good throughout the whole event and reached the semi-finals after a 2-0 sweep of Copenhagen Flames earlier on Friday.
Casper "cadiaN" Møller's men will leave Belgium with a top-eight finish at their second Major following an up-and-down Legends stage in which they earned victories over the likes of G2 and Vitality.
Natus Vincere opened up Heroic's pick of Inferno with a successful pistol, but they struggled to keep up after the defenders brought out the rifles. Ismail "refrezh" Ali was playing at the top of his game on the CT side, delivering several multi-kills on the A site to stop the Eastern European squad in their tracks. Despite their early advantage and Denis "electroNic" Sharipov's best efforts, Natus Vincere went into halftime trailing 6-9 behind.
After switching sides, B1ad3's squad equalized the scoreline at 10-10 after another pistol victory and a crucial Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov triple kill on the B bombsite, seemingly giving control of the game to Natus Vincere. However, the Danes proved to be cooler under pressure and won every remaining round on the back of two 1v2 clutches by René "TeSeS" Madsen and cadiaN. Heroic closed the map with a 16-10 scoreline to go 1-0 up in the series.
Facing elimination, Natus Vincere desperately needed a solid offensive on their pick of Ancient to have a chance to stay alive in the bracket, and they delivered. A third consecutive pistol victory gave Boombl4-led squad the early lead, but it was not an easy fight for either squad. On the last round of the half, electroNic converted an unthinkable 1v3 clutch on the A bombsite to give Natus Vincere a 9-6 advantage going into halftime.
Heroic took their first pistol round of the series on the T side of Ancient, but they were never able to steal the lead of the map as Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy, and electroNic started to take over the server. It was not a straightforward affair but at the end Natus Vincere's CT side won out with a narrow 16-14 victory, forcing the series into the decider.
After two incredible maps, Nuke was significantly more one-sided. Natus Vincere took the early lead on the decider, kickstarting an incredibly dominant CT side courtesy of one of electroNic's best performances at the whole event. The Danes had no response to the defense and remained in the passenger seat for the whole half as Boombl4 and co. drove them to a 3-12 deficit. From there, Heroic would only take the pistol and a short four-round streak before being eliminated with an 8-16 scoreline.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|75 - 52||+23||102.0||1.46|
|58 - 53||+5||76.7||1.08|
|57 - 47||+10||69.9||1.07|
|49 - 55||-6||69.5||1.04|
|40 - 47||-7||57.5||0.90|