Despite entering as a top seed alongside Gambit Esports and Virtus.pro, Na`Vi will leave the event with just $2,000. Shock losses in the playoffs to Akuma and Team Spirit earned Na`Vi its worst result since ESL One: Road to Rio back in May 2020.
Natus Vincere started the $40,000 event on the wrong foot. The team lost its second preliminary match to Entropiq’s new Russian roster. The 0-2 loss in overtime was rough, but wins over Gambit, GRONG, and PEPSI still secured the team a playoff berth.
The squad’s group stage victory over Gambit Esports makes their early exit even more confusing. Superstar AWPer Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev performed admirably, earning a 41-33 scoreline across both maps. Gambit was the biggest threat to Natus Vincere’s tournament run, but the matchup was anything but safe.
s1mple made headlines with his playoff performance against upstart stack Akuma, but not the kind he’s known for. Map one on Mirage was inarguably the worst game of s1mple’s entire CSGO career, earning him an abysmal .20 HLTV rating with just five kills. Na`Vi was sent to the lower bracket as a result.
A solid 2-0 victory over forZe brought a glimmer of hope, but it was immediately dashed in the quarterfinals by Team Spirit. A close half on Mirage gave way to a dominant Team Spirit T-side that gave them the 16-12 win. Map two was even less contested. Spirit racked up a 10-5 lead at the half and held it tight for a 16-8 finish.
Every loss is a group effort, but all of Na`Vi’s losses featured at least one particularly poor individual performance from one of the team’s players. Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy ended the group stage match against Entropiq with 17 kills to 42 deaths and 43.5 ADR. s1mple’s tough loss to Akuma don’t require any further elaboration, though Valerii “B1T” Vakhovskyi probably appreciates the distraction from his below-average 11 kills on Dust 2. In-game leader Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov produced a dismal 6-17 scoreline in game two against Team Spirit.
Professional CSGO teams all have their ups and downs, but EPIC CIS League Spring was clearly not an up for Natus Vincere. The squad will try to bounce back at StarLadder CIS RMR 2021 starting June 27. 10 teams will compete over the event’s $100,000 prize pool and 8,750 CIS Regional Major Rankings points.