With the two first Bo3-series having already been played in Group A of IEM Cologne 2022, it was time to find out which final two teams would join the upper bracket and which final two teams would have to see themselves sent down to the lower bracket of Group A. Battling for the upper bracket spot, as well as a great start to the event in general, were Natus Vincere and MOUZ. Unsurprisingly, Natus Vincere were the heavy favorites going into the Bo3-series, and for good reason as well. Since parting ways with "Boombl4" and having "sdy" join the roster as a stand-in, Natus Vincere have looked like a completely different beast. The scarily high level of NaVi continued today as they managed to surpass the international MOUZ roster in a 2-1 victory to kick off their IEM Cologne 2022 campaign.
The first map of the Bo3-series was picked by MOUZ and saw the battle begin on Nuke. Whilst it is the most-played map for the MOUZ side and simultaneously one of the least played maps in the past three months for NaVi, it is also a map where "s1mple" if unleashed, can cause you big problems. Starting on the arguably easier T-side of Nuke, it was MOUZ to gain the first wind of momentum. Managing to claw back a couple of rounds near the end of the half, NaVi made sure that the lead favoring MOUZ wasn't too big. At 6-9, favoring MOUZ, the two teams switched sides. Once Natus Vincere had found themselves comfortable on the CT-side of Nuke, the second half became all one-sided. Yet another solid performance from "s1mple" meant that it was Natus Vincere to claim victory on Nuke at the scoreline of 16-12.
The second map of the brawl between MOUZ and NaVi was chosen by the CIS and giants and saw the battle continue on Mirage. If you have followed NaVi as of late, you will know just how scarily good they have been on Mirage. Finding success in 80% of the times they have played Mirage in the past three months (10 maps), NaVi looked to add to their win percentage and close out the Bo3-series in just two maps. A great start to their T-side meant that NaVi were able to gain momentum and secure a lead in the first half of Mirage. At the scoreline of 9-6, all NaVi had to do in the second half of Mirage was to post a strong CT-side and close out the game. This, however, wasn't as easy as it might sound. A cohesive and well-orchestrated offense from the MOUZ side saw the international roster close in on NaVi, slowly but surely. Failing to keep MOUZ away, "dexter" and his troops managed to close the gap and ultimately take home Mirage at the scoreline of 16-14.
The third and final map of the series between MOUZ and Natus Vincere was to be played on Inferno. Being a map that both rosters should be fairly comfortable on, an exciting and intense third map between the two sides was definitely on the cards before going into Inferno. Whilst it seemed as if Inferno would be a close affair, it never really was. A brilliant CT-sided half from NaVi meant an 11-4 scoreline going into the second half of Inferno. Without too much difficulty the CIS giants of NaVi proved themselves the stronger roster as they took down MOUZ at 16-6 on Inferno and carried on with their scarily form as of late.
Highlight of the Bo3-series:
Natus Vincere - MOUZ 2-1 | IEM Cologne
16-12 (Nuke) | s1mple - 1.38 Rating / 26-16 K-D / 87.3 ADR
14-16 (Mirage) | s1mple - 1.55 Rating / 29-20 K-D / 98.4 ADR
16-6 (Inferno) | electroNic - 2.10 Rating / 28-11 K-D / 132.2 ADR
MVP: Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev - 1.36 Rating / 71-49 K-D / 88.9 ADR