s1mple leads Natus Vincere to IEM Cologne 2021 championship

Kenneth Williams • July 18, 19:06

Russian squad Natus Vincere has won IEM Cologne 2021, the first CSGO LAN championship since  2020. The feat yields the team $400,000 in prize money.

Na’Vi cruised through the group stage at the expense of Renegades, Team Vitality, and Astralis. Each match was a 2-1, but Na’Vi dominated the third map each time. The playoffs went even smoother. FaZe Clan couldn’t take a map off Na`Vi in the semifinals, and G2 Esports was swept in the finals. This LAN victory cements Natus Vincere’s status as the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team in the world and adds a Cologne championship to go alongside the team’s 2020 victory at IEM Katowice.

Na`Vi was heavily favored in the grand finals and for good reason. The series started on Dust 2, where a very competitive CT side by G2 Esports was fumbled into a 16-11 win for Na’Vi. The second map, Mirage, was more of the same as G2 got off to a solid start on the CT side, but Natus Vincere clutched it out 16-14 with a fantastic performance from 18-year-old Ukrainian rifler Valerii “b1t” Vakhovskyi. Now needing a reverse sweep, G2 needed to start its rally on Nuke.

After an even first half, Natus Vincere got into a very strong economic position over in the second half and used that to take control on the T side of Nuke. This was the nail in G2 Esports’ coffin, as they were unable to put up a proper fight for the final two rounds. One last grenade stack through the smoke sealed Natus Vincere’s LAN CSGO championship with a 16-14 victory. 

Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev continued his excellence into the new era of CSGO LAN. s1mple’s stats at IEM Cologne literally break the charts on HLTV. 93.1 damage and .96 kills per round combined for a 1.77 KD ratio for the event. Those stats are head-and-shoulders above anyone else at IEM Cologne. s1mple also broke the record for the most aces at a prominent LAN tournament, with four full team wipes. 

Natus Vincere will defend its reign as the king of offline at ESL Pro League Season 14. Na’Vi, G2 Esports, Astralis, mousesports, and more will compete for $750,000 in Malta starting August 16.

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