Credit: NAVI

NaVi claim spot in Grand Final!

The CIS giants of Natus Vincere have secured a spot in the IEM Cologne 2022 Grand Final

If you have been a fan of professional Counter-Strike for some time, you will probably have heard about the Cathedral of Counter-Strike. Having hosted some of the most iconic CS:GO events of all time, IEM Cologne is an event that any team in the world would love to be able to call themselves the champions of. With just four teams remaining at the ongoing event, the Semi-final stage had been reached. Locking horns in the first Semi-final were Astralis and Natus Vincere. Needless to say, Natus Vincere were the heavy favorites going into the brawl between the two rosters. Looking to add to their impressive past performances at IEM Cologne, the CIS giants took the necessary step toward becoming champions yet again as they moved past the Danes of Astralis in the Semi-final.

The first map of the Bo3-series was picked by Astralis and saw the Semi-final kick off on Nuke. Whilst Natus Vincere, and especially "s1mple" are a scary opponent to face on Nuke, so has Astralis been in the past three months. Having won their last seven maps of Nuke, before locking horns with NaVi, it seemed the obvious pick for the Danes to try and get off to a great start in the Semi-final. Off to a great start, however, were NaVi as they let their presence be known on Nuke from early on. A great CT-sided half with impressive calls from IGL "electroNic" saw the NaVi boys secure an 11-4 lead before going into the second half of Nuke. Once the two teams had switched sides it seemed as if a more cohesive Astralis side emerged. This, however, was only until NaVi found their footing on their T-side, managed to discombobulate the Astralis defense, and secure victory at the scoreline of 16-8.

The second map of the brawl was, of course, picked by Natus Vincere, and saw the battle continue on Mirage. Whilst it is a map that Astralis have begun playing more and more since acquiring "blameF" and "k0nfig", the prospect of taking down NaVi on one of their absolute best maps seemed a daunting one after the defeat on Nuke. Whilst it seemed as if Mirage would be a quick affair for the NaVi roster, they were met with a completely different Astralis opponent, this team led by "blameF" calling the shots. Looking far looser than on Nuke, Astralis posted a rock-solid defense with "Farlig" and "k0nfig" stepping up in a huge fashion. At 12-3, Astralis had put themselves in an incredible position to capitalize on Mirage. In the second half, Natus Vincere finally came alive. Slowly biting away at the Astralis lead, Natus Vincere managed to make Mirage close in the end. in fact, NaVi managed to make the scoreline so close that overtime was needed at 15-15 to find a victor. After the short break leading into OT, NaVi seemed back to their usual selves and managed to claim victory on Mirage at the scoreline of 19-17.

Highlight of the Bo3-series:

Natus Vincere - Astralis 2-0 | IEM Cologne (Semi-finals)

16-8 (Nuke) | s1mple - 1.80 Rating / 26-10 K-D / 101.1 ADR

19-17 (Mirage) | b1t - 1.58 Rating / 37-27 K-D / 120.0 ADR

MVP: Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy - 1.42 Rating / 54-38 K-D / 103.4 ADR

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