Natus Vincere booked their ticket to the IEM Cologne grand final following a 2-0 victory over FaZe on Inferno (16-7) and Mirage (16-7), making the first Big Event grand final back on LAN the same as the last one before the online era, G2 vs. Natus Vincere, which was played at IEM Katowice with Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy‘s men sweeping the series.
The two grand finalists have shown to be the strongest teams at the event in Cologne so far, winning their groups with 3-0 records and following it up with semi-final victories. Both Natus Vincere and G2 will clash in the best-of-five Sunday final to keep their record clean and raise the first trophy on LAN since March 2020.
Despite the semi-final loss, FaZe will have much to celebrate after their run in Germany, as the international squad started their IEM Cologne run in the play-in, ranked 36th in the world, and have pleasantly surprised with a top 4 finish, leaving teams like Complexity, Vitality, Heroic and Gambit in their wake.
Doubles by Helvijs “broky” Saukants and Håvard “rain” Nygaard topped off with a knife kill by Finn “karrigan” Andersen got FaZe off to a flying start on the attacking side of Inferno, but the international combine were unable to keep up the pace with full buys in play. Natus Vincere won five of six rounds to get ahead for the first time in the series, 5-4, before flexing their muscles and securing the half hitting double digits as Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev dropped 21 opponents before the switch. NAVI then made quick work of FaZe on the attack to close the map out 16-7 and go up 1-0 in the series.
Natus Vincere didn’t let up on their map pick, Dust2, taking a 4-0 lead as terrorists before FaZe managed to get on the board. The international combine then tallied a second as rain won a 1vs1 afterplant clutch against Denis “electronic” Sharipov on B. The CIS squad then blitzed back, winning a clean round and went on a tear as the game started to fall apart for Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken and company, with NAVI giving up but two more rounds in the half.
FaZe won a second round forecebuy to stay alive on the attack, but they were living on borrowed time as s1mple and company wasted no time in closing out proceedings, bagging the map 16-7 to secure their berth in the grand final.