Natus Vincere is off to a poor start in 2019. Having recently lost against Heroic in the GG.Bet ICE Challenge for the advancement to the upper bracket, Na’Vi would eventually get to the final but lacked the flare to overcome North. It seems like Danish teams are not particularly favorable opponents for Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and his team.
The first map of the final would be Na’Vi’s pick, and it would take us to the iconic Dust2. North kicked things off on their ct-side by getting the first two rounds. Na’Vi then retaliated by winning seven out of eight rounds after and looked confident. The duo of s1mple and Denis “electronic” Sharipov shook things up with excellent rifling and AWPing. The half would go to Na’Vi with a 9-6 score.
However, North would not give in easily. They picked up the second pistol as well and went on a six-round win streak. Na’Vi would square things up at 12-12 but then lacked the defense to keep the terrorists at bay. The map went to North after a fantastic last round performance from Philip “aizy” Aistrup and Casper “cadiaN’ Møller to snatch Na’Vi’s map pick. However, it was the duo of aizy and Valdemar “valde” Bjørn Vangså that put in the most work, both being at the top of their team’s scoreboard with 21 and 26 frags respectively.
The second map took the teams to Nuke, map pick of North. Having stolen Na’Vi’s map pick already, North was looking to close this out quickly and not allow things to advance to map 3.
This time Na’Vi would take the pistol. They would get to a 5-1 score before North would compose themselves. Once that happened, the Danish team went on a seven-round win-streak on their ct-side. Na’Vi had trouble penetrating North’s defense and would only successfully get a bomb plant thrice on their t-side. The half finished with a 9-6 scoreline as things were looking tight going into side switch.
The second pistol round would see aizy start things off on the right foot with a triple kill. North would ultimately secure the first three rounds. Unfortunately for them, electronic and co. were not ones to give up quickly. Natus Vincere got six straight rounds on the counter-terrorist side and looked like they were rolling to take things to the decider map. However, valde and aizy wanted to close things out fast. The last four rounds necessary for the victory went North’s way. Yet again it was valde at the top of the scoreboard. The final of GG.Bet ICE Challenge finished 2-0 in favor of the less favored side, North.
With IEM Katowice Major coming up soon this month, Natus Vincere has yet to prove that they are ready. Naturally, s1mple and electronic look in shape for the most part. The problem lies in the other players, underperforming dramatically. The in-game leader, Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko, certainly does not look ready whatsoever to go up against the likes of Astralis or Team Liquid, being at the bottom of his team’s table with only 16 frags across the two final maps. Egor “flamie” Vasilyev looked out of shape as well. Known for his high rifling ability, his aim seemed off, and positioning on Nuke was poor on many occasions. Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev did not perform very badly, but his form was extremely inconsistent. On some maps, he would perform well, like on Nuke, and on others under the average, like on Dust2 today.
How far can the best player of 2018, s1mple, alongside electronic carry Natus Vincere to victory? Being a five-man squad, it’s hard to imagine two players being able to perform 100 percent of the time. Hopefully, come the Major, Natus Vincere will have had enough time to practice and we will see a great performance from this talented and experienced lineup.
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I like to give out free AK-47 headshots in CS: GO, spend some quality time in the kitchen marinating a tender chicken breast and approximately 3 times a week I lift some relatively heavy metal stuff at the gym. Oh, and I also like to write about e-sports and everything related to gaming. Who knew one could have such contrasting interests?