Tomorrow’s CIS showdown between Natus Vincere and Pro100 has all the markings of regional beatdown. After all, a team ranked in the top five should theoretically defeat a team ranked 42nd, no matter the circumstances.
The thing is, Na`Vi really, doesn’t seem to like to play online. After one of the most dominant yet short-lived runs in recent memory that saw Na`Vi steamroll every team in their path at IEM Katowice, Na`Vi managed to take that momentum into this year’s ESL Pro League.
That tournament was played online and the team did well for a stretch, managing to make the playoffs at EPL before two huge stumbles against mousesports and eventual tournament winner Fnatic sent them out of the online competition.
Since then, Na`Vi hasn’t looked great coming into the CIS Road to Rio. Its first two games have been headscratchers, including a 2-0 win against ESPADA where the junior team took Na`Vi to overtime on its own map pick, Nuke. Na`Vi’s second matchup against a Virtus.pro team that has no business being anywhere near Rio ended in complete disaster with VP taking the matchup 2-0.
Na`Vi’s star player Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev certainly did his part in those two games, tallying a massive 107 kills to just 63 deaths, but the rest of Na`Vi has taken their foot off the pedal at a terrible time. That’s not to say that s1mple can’t drag his teammates over the finish line here. It’s just that, against a hungry underdog team like Pro100, it may not be enough.
Egor “flamie” Vasilyev was hot at the start of IEM Katowice, but he wasn’t the star against VP. The veteran brought up the bottom of the scoreboard against VP, and although he played better against ESPADA, Na`Vi was lucky they won the matchups first map so handidly.
Realistically, Na`Vi has the pieces to bring this one home. But out of the first three matchups at the CIS Road to Rio, Pro100 has a decent chance if its veterans can bring their knowledge to bear.
Na`Vi’s Best Maps
The best outcome for bettors is that Pro100 takes a map off of Na`Vi, and there’s a decent path for them to do so. The team’s three best maps are all ones that Na`Vi has lost on, and lost on recently. Nuke, Train, and Dust 2 are all in their wheelhouse, and their permabans include Na`Vi’s best maps in Overpass and Mirage, since neither team plays Vertigo. A likely scenario sees Pro100 removing Overpass and Train with Na`Vi removing Nuke and Inferno, leaving the best of three with Dust 2, Train, and Vertigo.
Na`Vi removes Inferno here because they were just dumpstered by the unimpressive VP on the map in addition to having a historically bad 38.5% winrate on the map. Bringing out a map like Dust 2, where s1mple can have his way with a team and a strategically complicated Train where Na`Vi should excel bodes well for them.
They can then float Vertigo, a map that neither team really plays, as a decider, hoping to take the match in two but confident their firepower can prevail if it comes down to it.
Pro100, though, isn’t full of up and coming talents. That’s a good thing. The last thing a team needs is to be starstruck. With Georgi “WorldEdit” Yaskin and Jan ‘waylander” Rahkonen in the server, they have the veteran leadership, and although Alexey “NickleBack” Trofimov might want to come up with a new handle, he should deinfitely keep a hold on his current form.
Alongside NickleBack is Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis, resident up-and-comer and Pro100’s only real firepower.
This could make for a worthwhile investment in a solid regional team against what looks like a slumping contender. CIS’s Road to Rio starts today, and there’s plenty of action, both literally and figuratively, to be had at Winners.bet. In addition to the start of the CIS RTR, both the European and North American regional competitions wrap up this week, and there’s action available on matchups for those competitions as well.
Pro100 is running into Na`Vi at just the right time, and if the veterans on the team can get If they can get YEKINDAR started early, a map win is definitely within reach, even against Na`Vi.