After Saturday’s semifinals, many expected the grand finals of IEM Katowice 2020 to be a match of epic proportions. In reality, fans got yet another glimpse of what could be the most dangerous Natus Vincere team in history during the team’s 3-0 win against G2 Esports in Poland.
Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov must have had whatever Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev had for breakfast yesterday, because the in-game leader for Na`Vi posted a s1mple-esque performance on the series’ opening map.
It set the stage for what would be the beginning of the end for G2 in Katowice. With two quadruple kills on the map, Boombl4 was a force of nature.
Na`Vi showed that it was in peak form from the first round on Nuke. As Boombl4 took down three in a crisp defense of the A site, he set the tone that Na`Vi embodied throughout the series.
The young IGL put up total match numbers reserved for stars like Nikola “NiKo” Kovač, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, and teammate s1mple. In the end, he racked up 32 kills, a +21 kill differential, a historic 161.7 ADR, and a 2.59 rating.
It’s not often that fans get to see IGLs post these kinds of numbers, especially when they also go +9 in opening duels. Nuke wasn’t even a competition. Natus Vincere’s defensive half saw them put up eight straight rounds on the CT side, and then another six after giving up a single round to end the first half 14-1.
Egor “flamie” Vasilev, too, looked more like the player of old, and seems particularly devastating in high-pressure situations. At one point, G2 revealed that it might not have watched Na`Vi’s match against Astralis. They did, of course, but in an almost-perfect mirror of his Astralis ace, flamie wrangled a quadruple kill as G2 rushed ramp.
With radio smoked off, G2 popflashed through the smoke and met their makers immediately as flamie put them down in a four-second clinic on how to hold ramp:
There’s not much to say about the second half either, as Na`Vi took the pistol but gave up the anti-eco and the following two before taking the map in round 16-4. The teams then moved on to Nuke as IEM Katowice’s 2020 grand finals continued.
Surprisingly, what is historically Natus Vincere’s strongest map turned out to be the Katowice’s most competitive battleground between the two teams. G2 gave its fans hope by starting off the Counter-Strike classic by losing the pistol round, but picked up the next five for a 5-1 headstart.
Unfortunately for G2, Na`Vi remembered that it’s not the 2018 Na`Vi anymore and picked up seven of the next nine rounds to end their Terrorist half up 8-7.
Fans finally got to see something from G2 as Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač-, François “AmaNEk” Delaunay, and Audric “JaCkz” Jug played a decent game against the new and improved CIS powerhouse. The highlight of G2’s Dust 2 performance came in round 22.
Stuck on A site with 53 HP, Nemanja “nexa” Isaković showed Na`Vi what he’s capable of. Against three rifles, nexa isolated each Na`Vi member with clinical precision to score a one-on-three clutch win:
Unfortunately, the comeback wasn’t to be. Although G2 managed to plant in each of Dust 2’s final three rounds, Na`Vi’s aggressive retakes and early advantages propelled them to the 16-13 win.
Just like Na`Vi’s match against Astralis, s1mple led his team on Dust 2 with a 1.35 rating.
Mirage was G2’s last hope. That hope, however, was quickly squashed as Boombl4 continued to play the best match of his career. Na`Vi took the pistol on their defensive side and never looked back, leading Natus Vincere to a 10-1 lead by round 11.
flamie was on absolute fire, owning a 1.91 rating and 23 kills. flamie is clearly on the comeback.
G2 was clearly terrified of being even on the same half of the map as s1mple, but he wasn’t their problem. To give a clearer idea of the kind of domination Na`Vi put on display, Perfecto ended the first half of Mirage 10-0 as the B site anchor, crushing G2 whenever they tried to take the site. Na`Vi was just too clinical.
In round 15, with the score 13-1 in Na`Vi’s favor, G2 saw their first chance to clutch out a round when an A execute came down to a one versus two between AmaNEk and the two remaining Na`Vi players, but Perfecto kept his deathless streak alive, picking up his 14th kill to finish the half with a 14-0 stat line.
While G2 picked up the defensive pistol round, they lost the anti-eco and finally gave up the championship in round 18 to a two-on-five against flamie and s1mple.
As Na`Vi took Mirage 16-2, the team sent a message to every potential opponent that they are finally ready to live up to expectations.
As Na`Vi hoisted the trophy in front of an empty Spodek Arena, the mood was happy but reserved. There were few in attendance aside from the press and some VIPs to congratulate the 2020 IEM Katowice champions.
Regardless, Na`Vi’s performance was on another level. If they look even half as good as they have this weekend, Counter-Strike could have a new contender for the world’s number one team.