Even with a superstar performance from Na`Vi’s Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, Vitality soared back from a 2-0 deficit to take down the CIS region’s top team during the grand finals of IEM Beijing. Vitality started off on the wrong foot, losing both Nuke and Dust 2 in embarassing fashion, but outplayed Na`Vi overall over the final three maps to take the crown.
A 16-5 win from Na`Vi on Nuke gave viewers the impression that the Beijing grand finals might end up as a short series, especially when they glanced at the CIS stats. s1mple, Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy, and Denis “electronic” Sharipov all posted ratings well above average on the dual layer map. S1mple spent his time in the server mowing down Vitality’s players to the tune of a 128.6 average damage per round and was involved in over 90% of the team’s kills.
Vitality bounced back on Dust 2 as the team’s newest addition Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom managed a positive kill-to-death ratio despite Vitality’s loss. s1mple once again proved to be the difference for Na`Vi, whose incredible defensive effort single-handidly carried it to the win on Dust 2. In what was good for a top-ten, all-time defensive ADR on the classic map, s1mple ended his CT side with 166.7 ADR as Perfecto finally found his place in Na`Vi’s lineup. The young player struggled early during his time with Na`Vi, but a 105.2 ADR and a 93.3% kill participation rating made it look as thought Vitality’s chances were next to nothing.
But in the end, Na`Vi’s three remaining players would cost Na`Vi the grand finals and the IEM Beijing trophy.
ADR stands for average damage per round, and it’s a helpful measurement of a player’s impact. Anywhere from 80 to 90 is average for professional players, and the statistic includes damage inflicted by any weapon or grenade. On the other hand, kill participation is the percentage of frags where the player killed an enemy, got an assist, or had a teammate trade their own death.
There is also the KAST statistic, which looks at the percentage of rounds where a player took part in a kill in the above ways or survived. A KAST above 80% is incredibly good.
That would be all fans would see from Perfecto, because the three remaining maps showed fans the worse side of Natus Vincere. After crushing Vitality 16-5 on Nuke and 16-12 on Dust 2, Vitality simply played Counter-Strike and waited for Na`Vi to forget how.
Out of the next three maps, Natus Vincere won only 23 rounds. The team couldn’t reach double digit round wins in Overpass, Inferno, or Mirage, and let Vitality’s solid teamplay systematically dismantle them. While s1mple was Na`Vi’s only consistant performer, Vitality’s support squad traded places during the final three maps, boosting and even surpassing the team’s star AWPer Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut. Overpass saw Richard “shox” Papillon abused Na`Vi in-game leader “Boombl4” Kirill Mikhailov, assassinating the IGL nine times. Boombl4 failed to kill shox once.
Overpass ended in a 16-6 loss for Na`Vi, but it still had both Inferno and Mirage to seal a win. The team’s shallow map pool and indecision once again handed the talented team a heartbreaking loss.
Na`Vi excels on maps where its rotations, especially on its attacking side, can come quickly and with force. Overpass, Mirage, and Inferno aren’t those maps. Without the ability to quickly rotate between sites, Na`Vi’s paced playstyle led to two more embarassing losses to a Vitality team that showed what a well-drilled CSGO team can accomplish. Following shox’s 1.75 Overpass rating, Vitality traded out top marks around ZywOo during both Inferno and Mirage. The reverse sweep was a full team effort from Vitality, while anyone not named s1mple simply weighed Natus Vincere down.
Somehow, Vitality defeated Natus Vincere in the grand final despite tallying a lower overall average rating, winning an equal number of clutches, and actually losing the initial frag battle by ten kills.
Looking at those statistics, fans might think that these were close maps, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Na`Vi’s performance today might make the team the next target of a meme that has been handed down through history from TSM to Astralis to Liquid. They choked.
s1mple was stifled in the series’ final three maps, but that was largely due to his supporting cast. With Vitality’s much older players outperforming Na`Vi’s younger talent, Na`Vi lost the best-of-five by the end of the third map.
The loss marks the second reverse sweep the team has lost to in the past several months. It scored an easy 2-0 lead over Astralis at the ESL Pro League Season 12 finals, but lost the series despite entering the finals with a one-map upper-bracket advantage. This time Na`Vi earned their two maps before dropping the ball to a well-drilled and overall impressive performance from Vitality. These teams might face off again during the BLAST Premier Fall Finals scheduled for December 8.