FaZe end Movistar Riders' dream run; set up grand final against NAVI
Finn "karrigan" Andersen's men took the series in two maps to secure a spot in the best-of-five title decider.
FaZe are through to the grand final of IEM Cologne after putting an end to Movistar Riders' Cinderella run, an elevated level of form from the Spaniards that saw them win ESL Challenger Valencia before coming into Cologne guns blazing, beating MIBR, G2, Vitality, and Liquid en route to a 3-4th place finish. The Riders can go home from the loss with their heads held high, demonstrating impressive ability to compete at a top level as they close out the first half of the season.
FaZe, meanwhile, have continued their dominant run through the tournament in Germany, clinching a win on Ancient after a glorious 1vs3 clutch shut down a comeback effort from the Riders before easing through Nuke to take the series. With their victory, karrigan's troops have set up the dream grand final ahead of the tournament break, taking on Natus Vincere in a best-of-five to determine who will head into the off-season holding the crown as the best team in the world.
Additional glory is also on line as FaZe could become the first team to win all three of IEM Katowice, a Major, and IEM Cologne in the same year, but Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and company could well play spoiler to those hopes as they trounced the European side in their last meeting at the BLAST Premier Spring Final. We'll find out whether they can do so again at 16:00 on Sunday as the teams go head-to-head in front of a sold out crowd in the LANXESS Arena.
As play got underway in the second semi-final of the day, the Spaniards started off on their pick of Ancient, but you would have been hard pressed to guess as much, the offensive start to the infamously CT-sided map doing Alejandro "alex" Masanet's side no favors in the first half. A pistol round win courtesy of double kills from karrigan and Helvijs "broky" Saukants gave FaZe the early edge, a subsequent conversion against Movistar Riders' eco adding another round to the tally for a 2-0 start.
A pair of double kills from David "dav1g" Granado Bermudo helped his side answer back as they won three in a row to briefly take the lead, but it wasn't long before FaZe seized firm control in what became a dominant first half. There were just three rounds on the T side from that point onward that Movistar Riders managed to get more than two kills, one where they were up in a 5vs2 situation only to fall to the double AWP of broky and Robin "ropz" Kool, and another where they scored two opening kills with pistols before losing another 5vs3 advantage to the European combine.
It was only at the end of the half that one of those rounds were finally converted to grant the Riders their fourth, ending a half that was particularly dismal for Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia, who had just one kill to his name. The swap to the defense for the Spaniards only raised the pressure as FaZe quickly won the second pistol round and scaled up to a 14-4 lead, but alex's side seemed to cope with it well, thanks in part to an inspired performance from dav1g.
Seven rounds straight followed for Movistar Riders, and a comeback began to look like a distinct possibility before FaZe finally made it to match point. It seemed like the Rides could keep the effort up though as they won the ensuing round, but it was the magnificent Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken that put a halt to that, securing a brilliant 1vs3 clutch to take the map over the line.
Nuke was a less intense affair, although Movistar Riders managed to put up a decent fight early on. A 4-1 lead on the map gave way to a strong T side effort from FaZe, the duo of Håvard "rain" Nygaard and ropz combining to win seven of the next nine rounds, eventually trailing by just one round by the break. After the sides swapped over though, it was utter dominance from FaZe, an almost complete lockout on the CT side seeing them drop just one round en route to a 16-9 finish.
|FaZe||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|38 - 24||+14||73.0||1.28|
|39 - 37||+2||92.5||1.19|
|40 - 33||+7||80.7||1.17|
|42 - 37||+5||76.4||1.14|
|29 - 36||-7||60.7||0.88|
|Movistar Riders||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|37 - 33||+4||71.2||1.06|
|41 - 39||+2||84.1||1.01|
|34 - 39||-5||67.4||0.93|
|30 - 42||-12||67.2||0.84|
|25 - 35||-10||56.5||0.82|