Steven R. August 30, 2019
Two of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s top teams are teetering on the brink of an early exit from the StarLadder Berlin Major.
During round three of the Legends Stage, Natus Vincere and Team Liquid both dropped best-of-one games. This puts their records at 1-2 and leaves them one series away from elimination.
Natus Vincere got off to a decent start in its game on Nuke against Mousesports. Though Mouz kicked things off with a winning streak on the T side, Na’Vi battled back and closed out the half 9-6. A successful second pistol round and conversion allowed the team to approach match point and a big clutch from star player Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev put them into position to win. Mouz answered with a late surge to force overtime.
Though he was solid throughout the game, Chris "chrisJ" de Jong stepped up huge for Mouz after regulation. After a 1-2 T-side in overtime, he popped off while playing CT, getting eight kills in the final three rounds. This allowed Mouz to end the game with a 19-17 overtime win.
Team Liquid’s showdown with Avangar on Overpass largely went the same way. A 9-6 first half by Liquid was answered emphatically by Avangar, with Liquid composing itself to force overtime. Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski went off for Liquid, but Sanjar "SANJI" Kuliev answered for Avangar and pushed the game to double overtime.
Ali "Jame" Djami stepped up for Avangar in second OT, but this time Liquid didn’t have an answer. Avangar took four straight rounds to knot up the 22-18 victory.
Why are Natus Vincere and Liquid struggling at the Berlin Major?
Liquid and Na’Vi were among the favorites to win the StarLadder Berlin Major. Liquid has been casually amassing CSGO’s most impressive trophy mantel this year with one of the most dominant streaks of play in Counter-Strike history, while Natus Vincere was entering Berlin with a strong lineup and its full preparation having been poured into this event.
For whatever reason, neither has played up to their potential to this point. Some of this can be chalked up to playing in best-of-one series against formidable opponents, but the teams just aren’t operating at peak performance.
They’ll need to remedy this soon.
Both are heading into elimination best-of-threes tomorrow. Natus Vincere will be taking on MiBR while Liquid’s opponent has not yet been determined. They should be the clear favorites in their games tomorrow and will enjoy more margin for error, but they cannot afford to lose any more.