Na`Vi win Big at ESL One Cologne
Sixteen teams from around the world came to Cologne, Germany in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cathedral for five days in hopes of walking away with the grand prize of $125,000. Na’Vi’s victory at the tournament secured their first placement in Intel’s Grand Slam, the upcoming culmination of all Dreamhack and ESL tournaments.
Natus Vincere had a rocky start but recovered to strong-arm their way out of the losers bracket as they beat both Gambit Esports and Cloud 9 by a 2-0 margin. Their semifinal bout with Astralis saw them advance by the skin of their teeth.
Once in the finals, Na’Vi established a solid balance of aggressive offense and tight defense. The first game of the finals series took place on Overpass, with each round going back and forth between the two teams. Na’Vi dug their heels in and BIG were only able to scrounge together three round wins in the second half, giving Na’Vi with the first game.
BIG came back to win a close second game on Dust2. Even after Denis “electronic” Sharipov took a critical one versus four skirmish, BIG held firm.
The final two maps were dominated by Na’Vi. Both Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and electronic blew up the scoreboard, eventually leading Na’Vi to a 16-8 win on the final map, Inferno.
BIG had pressure on them from the very start, as all eyes were focused on the hometown team. Even though they were unable to secure the win in the finals, the squad put a reasonable fight. BIG managed to defeat such opponents as Faze Clan and Renegades prior to falling in the final.
This is a huge victory for the Ukrainian team. Not only did Na’Vi walk away as champions, they managed to best Astralis at a time when many perceive the Danes to be the strongest today in the world of Counter-Strike. The tournament MVP award went to s1mple for his masterful work behind the monitor.
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