Steven R. February 28, 2019
Natus Vincere is headed to the semifinals of the 2019 Katowice Major, while FaZe Clan is headed home.
Facing off in the quarterfinals of the Champions Stage playoffs, the CIS squad posted one of its best showings of the tournament thus far in a 2-0 win.
The first game on Mirage was an intense affair. While both FaZe and Na’Vi are built around star players in Nikola "NiKo" Kovač and Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev respectively, both teams had secondary playmakers make their presence felt at key moments.
A pistol round ace by Egor "flamie" Vasilyev set the stage for early dominance by Na’Vi, but Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev clapped back with a triple kill that kicked off an extended winning streak for FaZe.
Na’Vi rallied with a huge second half that began with another pistol round ace from Flamie. Denis "electronic" Sharipov carried the team’s momentum from there. FaZe picked up a few rounds, but couldn’t cut sufficiently into Na’Vi’s economic lead as the CIS team took a 16-13 win.
Though FaZe looked strong at points during the first game, the second game on Mirage was a rout. Electronic was still hot from his performance in game one and dominated in game two. Even on the less favorable T-side, Na’Vi was able to rack up a strong 9-6 lead by halftime. When FaZe failed to convert after a second half pistol win, Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko was there to slam the door in FaZe’s face and seal up a 16-7 victory.
FaZe’s run in the major was been defined by its dependance on NiKo’s playmaking skills. Though a strong first half from FaZe teased that the team may have found its footing in full, its struggles to compensate for NiKo’s medicore 28-39 line were clear by the series’ end.
FaZe will maintain legend status heading into the Berlin Major in September, but the team may look different by then after what was a rocky showing in Katowice.