ESL One: Cologne 2017 – Natus Vincere to semi-final
Natus Vincere are the first semi-finalist of the tournament, as the CIS mix managed to 2-0 the French roster of G2 Esports.
de_Overpass – 19:17 (4:11, 11:4, 4:2)
The first quarter-final of the day saw the CIS mix of Natus Vincere face the Frenchmen of G2 Esports. Kicking off on the CT side, G2 Esports were the team to take the pistol round, after an aggressive performance from Richard “shox” Papillon in Tunnels caught Natus Vincere off guard, and the team conceded presence in one of the most important areas of the map. Opting to retain their finances, Na’Vi go for a full save, aiming to simply place the bomb on the B site, a goal the team was able to achieve. Control of the bomb site was in the CIS mix’s hands for a little while, until the arrival of Alexandre “bodyy” Pianaro and Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, who mowed down the remaining three members of the team, grabbing round two. A full buy from Na’Vi in round three, as the team utilised the money from the aforementioned bomb plant, however to no avail, as the team was once again shut down by the formidable French defence. No success was found by Na’Vi, all the way until round six, when the team managed to turn the tables on G2, converting a 2v4 to a 2v1, as Denis “seized” Kostin showed up for his team and was subsequently instrumental to their first round victory at 1:5. Proceeding with their losing streak, Na’Vi unfortunately were unable to produce anything of substance, all the way to a 8:1 lead for G2 Esports. Through securing two spectacular opening kills, Natus Vincere had finally secured their second round victory of the map, giving the team a much needed mental boost if they were to come back into the series. Further frustration for Na’Vi ensued, as the Frenchmen of G2 kept pummelling their opponent with consistency, securing a further three rounds and consequently worsening the CIS mix’s deficit to a worrying 2:11. Through their stoic nature, persistence and skill, Natus Vincere managed to bring it back in the final two rounds, after a successful A bomb site hit yielded a round, followed by a comparatively easy round against G2’s inferior last round buy, where the Frenchmen were working with an AK-47, two UMP45s and two upgraded pistols.
The second pistol round saw a controversial move from G2 Esports, as the team decided to flood A long on the T side facing Na’Vi’s USP-s’. Needless to say a bloodbath ensued, whereby the Frenchmen lost threee members to Na’Vi, who managed to maintain all five all the way till the end of the round. The CIS mix farmed up some money with anti-eco devices in the following round, closing the deficit gap to a slightly more manageable 6:11. A curious buy was seen from G2 Esports on round 18, as all five members purchased Galils. Despite losing Dan “apEX” Madesclaire early on, the team managed to storm the A bomb site, dispatching the defense and forcing the round into an after-plant situation. Faced with a 2v4 situation and at this point inferior weaponry, Natus Vincere concede the round as the final two members lurk in connector to save their devices. G2 managed to claw the following round once again, landing the team just three rounds away from a victory at 13:7. Against all odds Natus Vincere managed to upset G2 on a full eco, with Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs snatching Kenny “kennyS” Schrub’s AWP and dealing the killing blow onto a sneaky Richard “shox” Papillon, in turn securing his team their 8th round. With but a few coins left from the previous round, G2 opt for a strange buy, with three updgraded pistols and a Galil in play. The purchase proved ineffective to say the least, as the Frenchmen were unable to frag a single member of the opposition. Finally the money came through for the Frenchmen in round 24, as well as a hyperaggressive push onto the fountain area from Na’Vi, both factors playing into G2’s hands perfectly. A failed boost and spray from Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev on the bench, coupled with a well-timed peak from Dan “apEX” Madesclaire meant that Kenny “kennyS” Schrub fragged the Ukrainian prodigy and ultimately got the best of Na’Vi for the round, as the defence was working with a 3v5 situation. Despite the disheartening 10:14 score line, the CIS mix persevered, shutting down the Frenchmen after a late advancement onto the A bombsite was given a warm welcome from Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev M4A1-S, accounting for three dead Frenchmen and an additional round in the recovering team’s favour. Overconfident, G2 Esports decided to upgrade their pistols without purchasing armour, in an attempt to catch their opponents off guard. A rush onto the A bomb site yielded nothing but four deaths and an AWP onto Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, one that was held for less than five seconds, as the Frenchman fell to an awaiting Denis “seized” Kostin at stairs. Na’Vi’s round score was slowly creeping upwards, and round 27 signified make or break for the team, as the Frenchmen had distinct disadvantages in the previous rounds. On this particular round they were set for utility and weaponry, opting to once again attempt to hit the A bombsite. No such developments were seen, as Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs stopped three members of the T side in their tracks, giving his team a massive chance to realise overtime. So the team did, leaving a lonely Kenny “kennyS” Schrub saving an AWP for the next round. Map point was accrued by G2 Esports, as sloppy positioning on the B bombsite from Natus Vincere meant an abundance of space for the Frenchmen to manoeuvre. In addition to the aforementioned the team had perfectly placed utility, easing their objective of securing the round. Looking at a potential first map loss, Natus Vincere sought to see their organisation’s ethos through, grabbing two rounds to force the map into overtime. Round 29 saw two Frenchmen funnel into monster tunnel, mowed down by the one and only Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, whilst in round 30 G2 were once again working with a weakened buy at three TEC-9s, a CZ-75 and a decent amount of utility. Needless to say, the Frenchmen were unable to produce a miracle and the match entered overtime.
A flawless initial CT half came out from the CIS mix, followed by a 2:1 distribution of the latter half, when the team was performing on the T side of overtime. Unable to pose a threat, the Frenchmen had to swallow a bitter pill, conceding the first map to Natus Vincere on their miraculous comeback.
de_Nuke – 16:13 (9:6, 7:7)
The second, and final map, commenced with a strong start from G2, as the team was able to secure the first pistol round of the series. Sporting an equal man count at 2v2, the duo of Dan “apEX” Madesclaire and Nathan “NBK” Schmitt were able to outshine Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev and Denis “seized” Kostin, with the latter Frenchman dispatching both remaining members of the CIS mix. A force buy came out from Natus Vincere in the next round, however it subsequently proved to be a waste of money, as the Frenchmen relentlessly burst onto the B bombsite. Two SSGs were saved by Natus Vincere, transferring into the next round. Use was found for the two sniper rifles, as Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovacs and Egor “flamie” Vasiliev managed to grab three kills between them, two and one respectively, despite not securing the third round. No luck for Na’Vi in the following round either, as the team was unable to utilise their first full buy effectively, left with two members saving their devices in T spawn come round conclusion. Round #5 signified Na’Vi’s entrance into map two, as the team finally managed to score their first digit. It all came down to a 1v3 post-plant situation for G2’s Captain, Richard “shox” Papillon, however he was unable to clutch it out for his team, falling to the three CIS members that approached him from various angles. Richard “shox” Papillon found himself in yet another clutch situation in the following round, faced with a 1v3 situation. Two members of Na’Vi fell to the Frenchmen, with this in mind he rushed for the B bomb site to secure a bomb plant prior to time running out. Via superior positioning and the element of surprise, shox managed to frag the final member of Natus Vincere, securing his team a 5:1 lead single-handedly. After sustaining quite the deficit, Na’Vi seemingly woke up, securing two rounds in a row following the 3v1 upset. On the first occasion it was simply down to a superior performance, the latter round saw a weak buy from G2 Esports, who were unable to fight through the disadvantage. With a recurring theme of spectacular individual performances, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub found himself in a 1v2 situation following the departure of his teammate, Richard “shox” Papillon. The French AWPer utilised the AK47 to great effectiveness, producing a more favourable 1v1 situation. Egor “flamie” Vasiliev was the final member of Natus Vincere, and unable to secure a ninja defuse through a smoke, he fell to the bullets of the last remaining Frenchman at 4:6. Unfazed by the multiple losses, Natus Vincere secured two rounds in the follow-up of their disheartening 2v1 loss. Working against four AK47s and a TEC9 in the prior round the CIS mix managed to push their opponents back, and the latter round was a demonstration of the Frenchmen’s poor financial situation, as they purchased upgraded pistols and failed to upster their opponents on the defence. Concluding the initial half was a three round winning streak from Natus Vincere, who ultimately managed to score five in a row, propelling the team to a 9:6 lead.
Another pistol round victory from G2 Esports, as Na’Vi opt for a more loose play style. The decision didn’t prove fruitful, as the CIS representatives were systematically dispatched by the Frenchmen, leading to yet another lost pistol, as well as a 7:9 score for G2. Force buy galore from Natus Vincere in round two, and once again a decision that proved to be a failure, as the Famas equipped Frenchmen were landing headshots left, right and centre, much to the dismay of Na’Vi. Needless to say the next round was a breeze for G2 due to a shattered economy on Na’Vi’s part, with the round score equalised at 9:9. The first full buy for Natus Vincere was successful, as an A site advance that was accompanied by two opening frags onto Dan “apEX” Madesclaire and Alexandre “bodyy” Pianaro gifted the team a round, with the remaining members of seeking to save. Richard “shox” Papillon was unable to retain his rifle, instead dispatched by Egor “flamie” Vasiliev managed, leaving only two members of the French roster with rifles for the next round. Round 20 saw Kenny “kennyS” Schrub step up for his team, securing a two kills onto unsuspecting members of Na’Vi rushing into secret. The final three members of Na’Vi were cleaned up by the Frenchmen, once again equalising the round score at 10:10. Worrying developments were witnessed by the CIS mix in the following three rounds, as G2 Esports were demonstrably more ruthless, fending off every advance from the team, consequently securing a 13:10 lead. Reminiscent of the initial half, the boys in yellow approached their goal of victory with stoicism, slowly grinding out round by round. A persistent issue for G2 Esports was the fact that they consistently were unable to either save weaponry or secure a productive round, leading to a loop of broken economies. Struggling to remain in the game, G2 Esports fell to Natus Vincere with a 13:16 score, as the CIS representatives were proclaimed the first semi-finalists.
Image courtesy of ESL