NAVI defeat Rare Atom to qualify for lower bracket final
The Ukrainian team is now one victory away from ESL Pro League S17 playoffs.
Natus Vincere have scored a victory over Rare Atom, casting the Chinese side to the last-chance bracket. NAVI have been far from convincing at the tournament so far but managed to defeat the underdogs 2-1, coming back from an overtime loss on Inferno (19-17) with convincing wins on Nuke (16-4) and Overpass (16-7).
"I feel like it's the only map they [Rare Atom] know how to play," said Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev about their loss on Inferno. "We just needed to not be scared to make mistakes."
Natus Vincere are now set to face off against Spirit for a spot in the playoffs on Saturday at 16:00 . The winner will qualify straight for the first playoff round, while the loser will get one more chance in the fourth-place decider.
Meanwhile, Rare Atom have been relegated to the last-chance bracket with the loss, where they will face Liquid. The teams met in the opening round of the tournament when Rare Atom completely demolished the North Americans and will require a repeat of their performance if they are to remain in contention for a playoff berth.
Natus Vincere started Inferno well, winning the opening exchanges with very few casualties as they took a 4-0 lead. Rare Atom were quick to answer and prove why they have an 11-map win streak on the map, albeit mostly against domestic opposition. They showed a better face and eventually tied up the scores at 5-5, helped by Natus Vincere's decision to go for a risky retake that failed to work out. With the game slipping out of control, star duo s1mple and Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy won a 2vs2 situation that put NAVI back in the lead and allowed them to take a three-round lead into their Terrorist half.
A quick A attack secured Natus Vincere the pistol that increased their lead to five, but their offense was far from convincing. Several rounds marred by indecision and time issues cost the Ukrainian side as the score was soon tied up at 11-11. NAVI regrouped with the help of b1t's two MP5 kills that opened up the A site and were the first to reach map point at 15-12. They failed to close out the game in regulation, however, and the match moved into overtime, where Rare Atom started magnificently and reached map point first, 18-16. Andrew "Kaze" Khong almost won a 1vs5 in the penultimate round but was denied by b1t, before NAVI's four-player A stack proved to be the wrong decision that cost them the map as Rare Atom walked into a near empty B site to take the lead in the series. Andrii "npl" Kukharskyi had a particularly rough time on the opener, putting up eight kills and 30 ADR in the loss.
Natus Vincere looked like a completely different team on Nuke, as they dispatched the Chinese side without much difficulty. The Ukrainian side won eleven rounds on their offense by repeatedly hitting the A site, and Rare Atom simply had no answer for their aggressive playstyle. NAVI made sure of their victory by winning the second-half pistol and putting up a wall on the CT side, winning five in a row to close out the map 16-4 in what was a performance worthy of their favorites tag.
Overpass was the final map of the series, a battleground where Natus Vincere got thrashed by Astralis in the previous round of the tournament. This time around, though, s1mple started the map with a knife in the pistol and Natus Vincere built an electric start off that. They raced to a 9-1 lead but eventually ran out of steam, allowing Rare Atom to get up to six in the first half. b1t was exceptional on the A defense and was the reason for NAVI's hot start, as the 20-year-old averaged 146 ADR and put up 18 kills to put NAVI in the lead at halftime.
Natus Vincere were back to their dominant selves at the start of the Terrorist side, as their seven rounds were countered by just one from Rare Atom, who barely got a chance on their defense. s1mple and company cruised to victory by finding gaps in the CT side, closing out the map 16-7 to put themselves one win away from EPL S17 playoffs.
|Rare Atom||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|54 - 57||-3||83.3||1.06|
|50 - 55||-5||71.7||0.99|
|46 - 53||-7||60.2||0.85|
|36 - 59||-23||66.4||0.73|
|28 - 58||-30||36.3||0.57|
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|67 - 42||+25||98.2||1.49|
|65 - 37||+28||83.7||1.43|
|61 - 45||+16||80.2||1.22|
|52 - 40||+12||69.9||1.14|
|33 - 50||-17||47.2||0.79|