NAVI overcome Complexity to qualify for BLAST Spring Final
A superstar performance from Michael "Grim" Wince was not enough for Complexity to clinch victory in the series.
Natus Vincere have booked their ticket to the BLAST Spring Final in Washington, D.C. following an intense three-map series against Complexity, scraping past the North American team 2-1. Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy's men pulled off a comeback to edge out victory on Complexity's pick of Anubis, but had a lackluster performance on Inferno and needed the decider of Overpass to claim victory, recovering from an 8-14 deficit to close out the series in regulation.
NAVI can walk away from the tournament somewhat satisfied following the victory. Although they didn't showcase a world-beating level across their matches in the tournament, they still secured a spot at the Spring Final, and made good on their goal to use the event as practice and a warmup for IEM Katowice which gets underway in less than a week.
The loss is, however, heartbreaking for Complexity, who could have taken both Anubis and Overpass over the line and failed to make good on a stellar individual performance from Grim. The loss sends the team to the Showdown, where they will have another opportunity to make the Spring Final, and they can now turn their attention to the IEM Katowice Play-In stage. They will face BIG on February 1 at 17:45 in their opening match of the event, with their current form offering hope in them making it through to the main stage.
Successful defenses against back-to-back A site hits got Natus Vincere off to an early start on Anubis, and a follow-up to Complexity's first gun round win helped the Ukrainian side further extend their lead, 3-1. A rebuttal from Complexity was swift, however, and Johnny "JT" Theodosiou's side quickly took control of the map themselves, 1vs3 and 1vs2 clutches from Ricky "floppy" Kemery and Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli being the catalysts in doubling the score of their opponents. NAVI weren't completely locked out of the half and clawed back to post seven rounds, but it was Complexity who went into the break with a slight edge thanks to another stellar round from hallzerk, who scored a quad kill and 1vs2 clutch to give his side the edge.
Complexity further extended their lead to 11-7 after the break, a pistol round win and successful conversion against NAVI's first gun round putting them in a strong position on the CT side. That lead rapidly dwindled once NAVI had guns in their hands again, and it was Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy who led the way in a string of seven rounds to put NAVI ahead, 14-11. Complexity recovered from the deficit and pushed up to 14 rounds themselves, but were denied victory on their own map pick as Natus Vincere secured the next two rounds to edge out the map win.
Grim stepped up for Complexity on Inferno, an incredible individual showing helping to power his side to victory. The first half remained close between the two teams, with the North American side again edging out an 8-7 lead, but the map was entirely in control of Complexity following the side swap. Uncharacteristically static defenses from NAVI came back to bite them repeatedly, and JT's men exploited that with full control of top mid and banana round after round. NAVI garnered just four rounds in the second half and were unable to halt the onslaught brought on by Complexity, who claimed their first LAN victory on Inferno since May 2022, ending an 0-12 streak on the map to even the series score.
Overpass was equally as contentious, although you would be hard-pressed to guess as much at the onset of the map. A 4-2 start for NAVI didn't last long as Complexity seized firm control of the proceedings, another boisterous individual performance from Grim leading the way in a 9-6 lead for his side at halftime.
A pistol win and subsequent conversion helped Complexity further extend their edge following the break, and despite NAVI putting up two rounds of their own in response, JT and company remained in control. A swift hit to the B bombsite gave Complexity their 12th round, and that victory was followed up by an incredible ace in a 3vs5 situation from Grim.
It seemed like Complexity would cruise to a finish from there as they converted the ensuing round for a 14-8 lead, but they capitulated at the eleventh hour, squandering their chance at victory. Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev came alive and picked apart his opponents, key defenses of the B bombsite halting Complexity repeatedly, and NAVI went on a run of eight rounds in a row to steal away the victory, 16-14.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|63 - 46||+17||75.0||1.23|
|58 - 51||+7||73.5||1.15|
|64 - 59||+5||80.0||1.14|
|49 - 55||-6||65.2||0.98|
|39 - 60||-21||57.7||0.76|
|Complexity||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|73 - 57||+16||86.1||1.27|
|54 - 48||+6||75.7||1.16|
|52 - 53||-1||62.2||1.02|
|54 - 59||-5||68.5||0.98|
|38 - 60||-22||55.9||0.76|