NAVI ravage ENCE to set up final showdown against FaZe
The CIS juggernauts have a chance to defend their Major title in the final against FaZe.
Following the thrilling semi-final match between FaZe and Spirit, the second semi-final at the PGL Antwerp Major saw Natus Vincere sweep aside ENCE 2-0 (16-7 Nuke, 16-12 Dust2) and earn themselves a spot in the grand final.
ENCE capitalized on their strong form as of late to make it to the top four at this Major, but the Major playoff rookies were ultimately outclassed by the experience and raw skill of Natus Vincere. With this result, the final is set to contain the top two ranked teams in the world, and the two favorites coming into the event.
The series kicked off on ENCE's pick of Nuke, where they post an 80% winrate in the last three months. Natus Vincere spent no time taking the pistol round and were poised for a strong CT side. Despite Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer pulling off a 1v3 clutch to prevent the second round conversion, the SMGs of Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov and Denis "electroNic" Sharipov kept the CIS side on track to take a strong lead.
Leading by example, Boombl4 was an unstoppable force on the defense, picking up multi-kill after multi-kill and stopping ENCE completely in their tracks. Eventually, Paweł "dycha" Dycha was able to push his team to scrounge together four rounds by the side-switch, and had a tall task of mounting a comeback against the Russian-Ukrainian powerhouse.
ENCE set the stage for a close match by taking the first three rounds of the second half. However, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev truly woke up, and secured three opening kills out of the next five rounds, helping to push Natus Vincere to clean up the rest of the map and take the victory 16-7 on ENCE's map pick.
Determined to make Dust2 a different affair to Nuke, ENCE got started with a quick 3-0 to secure themselves. They were poised to win the first gun round as well, but Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy pulled off an impressive 1v3 clutch to put Natus Vincere on the board. Continuing to dominate in the opening kills department, all members of Natus Vincere contributed to answer back and eventually take a 5-4 lead.
Olek "hades" Miskiewicz picked up his first opening kill in the series in round 10, allowing Pavle "Maden" Bošković and dycha clean up and keep the score tied. ENCE took back the lead, and were poised to take round 12 as well with Natus Vincere being on an eco, but two massive kills with the desert eagle from s1mple shut down the hopes of the international lineup.
With the momentum shifted back towards Natus Vincere once again, all the individuals from the CIS giants stepped up and took the rest of the rounds in the half. The momentum continued into the second half, with s1mple demolishing the opposition early on, including an MP9 ace in round 18.
hades came online with a couple more opening kills, but still ENCE were unable to make a dent in the Natus Vincere defense. Hitting match point once again at 15-7, Natus Vincere looked poised to cut the semi-final short. Some aggressive plays led by the Snappi saw the Danish IGL pick up a quad-kill and push ENCE to double digits.
Fighting their way up to 12 rounds, the pan-European team inched ever closer to overtime. Unfortunately winning eight rounds in a row was too tall a task, and eventually Natus Vincere won the map 16-12 and the series 2-0.
|ENCE||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|35 - 41||-6||69.4||0.89|
|28 - 39||-11||65.1||0.84|
|31 - 39||-8||69.0||0.83|
|29 - 41||-12||66.3||0.72|
|19 - 38||-19||49.5||0.61|
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|58 - 31||+27||113.0||1.76|
|39 - 27||+12||84.7||1.31|
|30 - 25||+5||70.9||1.14|
|35 - 26||+9||60.8||1.14|
|34 - 33||+1||82.6||1.08|