Natus Vincere are en route to the grand finals of ESL One Cologne after defeating Danish juggernaut Astralis in the semifinals earlier today.
They won the series 2-1, going the distance with Astralis in three of their best maps and finally eliminating them in surprising fashion. Na’Vi chose Overpass, Astralis picked Nuke, and Inferno remained as the match decider.
Na’Vi were in control throughout Overpass, surprising Astralis, especially on the Danish T side. The CIS powerhouse opened up with a 9-6 T side before battling their way to map point in the second half. Astralis contested each round tooth and nail and won both pistol rounds, even on their eco rounds, but Na’Vi’s firepower proved to be way too much for them to handle. Late tactical reads and gamble stacks helped Na’Vi secure map one 16-13. Denis “electronic” Sharipov had the biggest impact on Overpass with 30 kills, 117 average damage per round, and a number of crucial defensive multi-kills.
Astralis kicked off Nuke with a quick 8-0 scoreline that Na’Vi struggled to fight. Even with a swift one-vs-two clutch from Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev at 10-2, Na’Vi couldn’t find the momentum they needed to best Astralis on the Danish map pick. Nuke ended with a confident-looking Astralis at 16-6.
Inferno, the decider, was commanded by Na’Vi early on. With Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko leading Na’Vi in both tactics and kills, the CIS squad set the pace of the game with an explosive 10-5 T side. Despite losing the second pistol round, Astralis streaked their way back into the map, with five consecutive, successful executes. When it seemed as though Astralis were truly coming alive, Na’Vi shifted their defenses and predicted a number of strategies on CT. The most iconic play of the match was Na’Vi’s read of Astralis’ B fake at 12-10 with a four-man stack of the A site. Zeus finished the match at 31 frags, and the final score was 16-13.
Na’Vi will compete against the winner of FaZe Clan vs. BIG in the finale of ESL One Cologne tomorrow, which is going on right now. The grand finals will be played tomorrow at 9am CT.