MOUZ sweep NAVI to win EPL S18; claim last big LAN trophy in CS:GO
The European upstarts reigned supreme in the grand final and swept NAVI 3-0 to lift the trophy.
MOUZ defeated Natus Vincere 3-0 in the grand final of ESL Pro League Season 18 to lift the final Big Event LAN trophy in CS:GO, looking fully in control of the series from its dominant onset to the thrilling overtime conclusion on Mirage.
Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen's side never looked comfortable and were immediately put on the back foot as MOUZ took their pick of Inferno in strong form (16-10) and carried that momentum into NAVI's pick of Overpass, where Jimi "Jimpphat" Salo came alive to put his team 2-0 up (16-9).
Mirage was closer as NAVI began to show signs of life, but it was too little, too late as MOUZ found their footing in overtime to take the victory (19-15) and claim the EPL trophy for themselves.
Kamil "siuhy" Szkaradek's side completed a rampage through the Maltese tournament, taking the scalps of Heroic, FURIA, FaZe, G2, ENCE, and finally NAVI en route to lifting the trophy. The young European squad's decision to bring in siuhy and youngster Jimpphat during the off-season has paid off just in time to earn them a trophy before CS:GO comes to a close, with the team now hoping to maintain their trajectory in CS2.
"Hell yeah [we're here to stay]," Dorian "xertioN" Berman said of the team's outlook heading into the new title. "I don't think we are the best team in the world tactically, we are just having fun. Other teams give up, but we don't."
A half-buy win allowed NAVI to catch up to their European counterparts, and an unarmored rifle quad kill from Mihai "iM" Ivan kept the teams neck-and-neck deeper into the half. Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy struggled immensely on the T side, however, only grabbing his first kill on round 12, and that lack of firepower ultimately cost Natus Vincere down the road as MOUZ did enough to claim a three-round lead at the break.
siuhy took over to lead his team to victory from that point as they gave up just three rounds en route to a 16-10 victory, with pressure now on NAVI to respond on their pick of Overpass, a map which Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen stated on broadcast wasn't "the obvious pick for NAVI."
Those words were almost prophetic as Aleksib's men got off to the worst possible start on the T side of map two, three triple kills in three rounds from Ádám "torzsi" Torzsás immediately putting NAVI in the dumps.
They recovered to tie the game at 4-4, but couldn't further their cause as a quad kill from siuhy gave MOUZ control and allowed them to win seven rounds straight for a dominant 11-4 lead at the break.
A pistol win and streak of five rounds from NAVI made it look like we were in for a close game, the gap between the teams closing rapidly once the sides swapped over. Excellent rifling from 17-year-old Jimpphat shut down that comeback attempt as he overpowered NAVI's defenses round after round, a critical triple kill putting his team on match point before they closed things out immediately after.
MOUZ's control of the game didn't lapse on Mirage, their first chance to close the series, although NAVI finally started to show signs of life. Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev powered up and began to help his side notch a handful of round wins, allowing NAVI to briefly take the lead at 5-3, but late-round situations began to fall apart as torzsi and MOUZ reigned supreme to net their team another 9-6 lead.
Natus Vincere got off to a better start on the T side and showed signs of composure as they pushed up to a 13-10 lead, but a shutdown by torzsi with a saved AWP offered MOUZ the chance to get back into the race. Subsequent hero rounds and stellar defenses of B by Jimpphat then put MOUZ in touching distance of victory, but a pace change from NAVI allowed them to stave off an early defeat and forced overtime.
Back-to-back A ramp flanks, which included a triple kill from xertioN in what was almost guaranteed to be a lost round, provided MOUZ exactly what they needed to get back to winning ways. NAVI couldn't come back from behind in this instance either, and MOUZ didn't waste a single chance to close out the series as they swept overtime to close things out.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|63 - 64||-1||75.0||0.99|
|53 - 61||-8||71.8||0.96|
|55 - 66||-11||72.4||0.93|
|46 - 63||-17||60.4||0.82|
|44 - 64||-20||61.5||0.81|