Virtus.pro are through to the grand final of IEM Katowice 2021 following a clean 2-0 victory over Liquid. Fresh off a three-map thriller with Astralis in the first round of the playoffs, the CIS team were on the front foot from the offset, out-playing and out-aiming their opponents with imperious displays from their star duo, Dzhami “Jame” Ali and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis.
Dust2 was easier for Virtus.pro than the scoreline suggests as Liquid won both pistols but then faded away in gun rounds. The North American team still attempted to respond on Mirage but were overrun in the second half after Virtus.pro hit their stride.
The Flashpoint 2 champions will be hoping to recreate that scintillating performance in Sunday’s grand final against fellow CIS side Gambit as they chase their second title of 2021 after winning cs_summit 7 in January. However, they will need to be wary of the threat posed by the young Russian team, who came out on top the last time these two teams faced each other, less than three weeks ago.
The early signs were promising for Liquid, who took an early lead on Dust2 after a flawless pistol round. They were even to immediately respond after Virtus.pro got their first round on the board thanks to a 1v2 clutch by Michael “Grim” Wince. And then, things turned sour. Jame‘s troops ripped the Liquid defence for the remainder of the half, limiting their opponents to just six CT rounds.
The second half began in the exact same manner as the first, with a perfect pistol from Liquid, who then turned to Keith “NAF” Markovic for a bailout as the Canadian pulled off a 1v3 clutch after YEKINDAR had wreaked havoc with a Scout. But just like on their T side, Virtus.pro took control of the game once they had a full economy: The CIS team dictated the pace and rhythm of play, shutting out Liquid seven rounds in a row en route to a comfortable victory.
Mirage began with a clean pistol by Virtus.pro, who were unable to convert the second round after being caught off-guard by Liquid‘s full eco. The North American team rode that momentum to a 3-1 lead, but then Virtus.pro tightened up and put some rounds together. Liquid put their foot down after the midway point of the half, though, and managed to head into the break with a narrow 8-7 lead despite Jame boasting a 17-4 score.
Liquid added to their lead after switching to the CT side, but just like on Dust2, there was no stopping Virtus.pro in gun rounds. Big individual rounds by Jame and YEKINDAR put the CIS team in full control, with Liquid mustering only one round before their opponents ran away with the game.