s1mple and Natus Vincere win $1 million Intel Grand Slam

Steven Rondina • September 12, 18:26

Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Natus Vincere have already been on a tear for a long while now, but the team is quickly approaching a level of dominance in Counter-Strike esports that has some calling this the Na`Vi era.

Na`Vi has taken first place in ESL Pro League Season 14, taking home a $195,000 check for its efforts. This adds onto what was already an electrifying 18-month stretch for the popular organization, with the team sealing the championship by defeating Team Vitality in the finals with a 3-2 score.

The match started on Dust 2 with an electrifying 29-kill performance from Denis “electronic” Sharipov. NaVi got off to a strong first half, going 10-5 on the T-side and looked ready to close things out quickly after taking the second pistol round. Vitality stalled things out by denying the conversion but couldn’t threaten NaVi’s lead, setting up the CIS squad for a clean 16-10 victory.

Vitality clapped back hard on Inferno. Though the first half was competitive, Vitality played a shutdown CT half and won all seven rounds to close the map out with a 16-6 win.

While Nuke has traditionally been a CT-sided map, meta shifts have seen things go in the opposite direction. Na`Vi was a big beneficiary of that on the third map as it ran away to an 11-4 first half on the T side. Vitality hinted that it may be able to return the favor, but Na`Vi was able to close things out to advance to match point.

Vitality didn’t struggle under the pressure on map four, Overpass. Richard “shox” Papillon and Jayson “Kyojin” Nguyen Van both ran wild, racking up 25 kills with shocking speed to force a decider with a 16-7 score.

While s1mple is the star of Na`Vi, it was electronic who once again managed to do the carrying, and this time on Mirage. Na`Vi once again got off to a strong start but Vitality managed to mount a comeback off a denied pistol round conversion. Vitality was hunting nearly tied things up after falling behind 11-5, but couldn’t ever actually get the lead. Na`Vi sealed up the championship with a 16-14 victory.

s1mple, Na`Vi show they’re best CSGO team in the world

By taking first place in ESL Pro League Season 14, Na`Vi became the latest Intel Grand Slam championship team and took home an extra $1 million. The Intel Grand Slam is awarded to the team that can win four prominent ESL or DreamHack tournaments within a single season.

Na`Vi’s championship effort in ESL Pro League Season 14 came after first-place finishes in IEM Katowice 2020, DreamHack Masters Spring 2021, and ESL One Cologne 2021. Na`Vi is the third Intel Grand Slam winner after Astralis and Team Liquid.

The first-place finish at ESL Pro League Season 14 adds another significant title to s1mple’s trophy case. He has multiple ESL One trophies to his name, two Cologne championships, one IEM Katowice title, and he won the BLAST Global Finals earlier this year. There are few championships that s1mple hasn’t won at this point, with the one big omission being an official CSGO major.

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