Natus Vincere overcame FaZe with two 16-14 victories in the second and third maps of their BLAST Premier Spring Final opening series. The two teams played an incredibly close decider map on Mirage after each team took their own map pick, but it was the squad led by Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov that was able to come out ahead in the final round of regulation, denying their rivals a victory in olofmeister’s return to the starting five.
Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy’s men will now play the upper bracket semi-finals following their opening triumph, where they will face off against BIG, while FaZe will fight for survival in the tournament’s lower bracket in a tough match against their former teammate Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and the rest of the G2 squad.
The series started on FaZe’s map pick, Ancient, where the Finn “karrigan” Andersen-led team started on the offense, tallying six rounds before the switch. It was then that the international squad were able to really take control, with the aforementioned in-game leader also leading on the scoreboard with 22 kills, 100 ADR and a 1.63 rating as they posted a clean half with Natus Vincere unable to break the defenses a single time.
The CIS squad looked poised to wipe the slate clean with a victory on Dust2 and took the first rounds of the map on the attack, but FaZe put up resistance with an on-point Håvard “rain” Nygaard from the first moment they could get their hands on rifles, tallying a five round streak in a half that stayed close all the way to the last round, which went the way of FaZe. NAVI retook the lead on the CT side, and although they weren’t allowed to run away on the scoreboard, in the end it was the CIS squad who were able to clinch the map in the last round of regulation to force a decider map.
Mirage started out as a close affair with Natus Vincere on the attack and FaZe on the CT side, although it was Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and company who had the edge throughout the half despite losing the pistol round as they carried a 9-6 lead at the time of switching sides. FaZe didn’t fret and tied things up after the first three rounds of the second half but a series of back-and-forth rounds kept the map even. Ultimately, it was Natus Vincere who were able to thrive in the dying embers of the match to win another 16-14 map and secure the series.