You could hear the chants echo through the LANXESS Arena in Cologne. BIG Clan jerseys could be found everywhere in the crowd. They say there are not any home teams at ESL One Cologne, but today there was. There were handfuls of Na’Vi fans, but the crowd was predominantly cheering for the hometown heroes, the underdogs, the Cinderella story.
Both teams were coming off huge upsets against the favorites to headline the Finals. Na’Vi was able to defeat the number one team in the world in Astralis. BIG took down the surging FaZe Clan, and arguably the second-best team at the tournament. They were not supposed to be here, and yet here they stood.
You could feel the electricity in the air. Would this be the day that David slew Goliath? Or would this be the day that Na’Vi finds that elusive trophy that seemingly avoided them for the past year?
Let’s hop into the games of the ESL One Cologne Finals.
Natus Vincere would choose Overpass for their first map of the Finals. After two great rounds by BIG to open the match, the crowd was pumped. However, Na’Vi pushed through with a force buy in the third round to take the lead with four wins in a row.
BIG would return the favor with some round wins, and usage of their now-classic utility abilities. Na’Vi would look to close out Overpass after a quadra kill round by Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, but after several unusual mistakes, the half was unnecessarily close at 8-7.
The next half was better for Na’Vi, with Denis “electronic” Sharipov shutting down a full buy from BIG with a nice 4K. Although BIG came back to bring the round deficit to three, Natus Vincere’s defense was able to lock up and win the first map, 16-10.
This was probably Na’Vi’s worst map this year, as they have lost every game on D2 in the last three months. However, this did not look to be the case in the beginning of the map. Natus Vincere was able to take an early 6-3 lead. However, BIG was able to win another eco round, which completely blindsided the Na’Vi players. The German squad would go into the next round with a surprising one round lead.
BIG would use this momentum into the next half, after a great pistol ace from star player Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz. However, after losing two more rounds, Na’Vi would win three rounds in a row, effectively ruining BIG’s economy. However, Johannes “nex” Maget came in the clutch:
Electronic would try to stymie the BIG Clan attack, but to no avail as BIG would march straight through four rounds and win the map, 16-11. The ESL One Cologne crowd would go into a frenzy, and rightly so; their hometown boys took a map off Natus Vincere.
Using the momentum from their previous map win, BIG would push to a 4-0 start on the CT side. BIG Clan’s in-game leader, Fatih ‘gob b’ Dayik, would play exceptionally early on.
However, after five rounds, Na’Vi manages to win five rounds in a row. This does not put down the German side though, as they storm right back and lock up their defense, leading to an 8-7 lead at halftime.
After the halfway mark, BIG would take two rounds in a row. It looked like BIG would take a two map lead, but after a messy Terrorist round, Na’Vi is able to turn up the heat. Natus Vincere takes several rounds in a row, ruining BIG’s economy. Superstars turned up at the right time for Na’Vi, like s1mple, who had 11 multi kill rounds. They take the half and the map easily, winning it 16-10.
Na’Vi’s electronic would open up Inferno in fiery fashion:
A 3-0 lead would follow for Na’Vi, but the Germans would not be weakened, as they take six out of seven rounds to take a 6-4 lead. The half would be very back and forth, with each team trying to jostle for dominance in the map. However, at the halftime mark, s1mple would win the round and show off why he thought he was the best player in the world:
The second half was a slaughter, with Natus Vincere taking six rounds in a row, punctuated by a 1v3 clutch by none other than s1mple. BIG’s tabseN would try his hardest to carry his team to some victories, but his effort was not enough. Na’Vi would close the half out 8-1 and end up winning the whole game.
The monkey was finally off of Na’Vi’s back. After multiple close finishes in multiple tournaments, they can finally say they have a trophy in the case worth speaking of. Na’Vi were your 2018 ESL One Cologne champions!
Not a lot of people gave BIG Clan any mind when ESL would announce their invitation. They were always the underdog in every single matchup they had. They were not even supposed to make it to the playoffs, even less the Finals of the biggest event in competitive Counter Strike. In fact, many people thought that the invite for BIG was a waste:
BIG stepped into the bright lights of Cologne, flags on their back, pride of a country in the hearts. The Germans were able to prove time and time again that they were not some team to look down upon. This team showed that could compete with the best in the world. They took down a huge favorite in FaZe Clan. They made their country proud and made a lot of new fans in the progress.
As for Natus Vincere, this is only the first step to greatness. Their superstar s1mple said that they were not done. They would take this win and push harder than ever before. Na’Vi has now proven that they are one of the strongest teams in any tournament they go to. They won against a formidable G2 Esports squad and they were able to take down the supposed best team in the world in Astralis. They won ESL One Cologne. Ultimately, this can only be the beginning for what could be the era of Natus Vincere.
What do you think about the ESL One Cologne Finals? Did your favorite team win? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. If you want to see more Counter Strike content, check us out here!
Born and raised in Toronto. Sometimes a writer. Sometimes a creative director. Sometimes bored. Catch me with hundreds of unplayed games in my Steam library.