Counter Strike: Global Offensive

NAVI beat G2 3-0 to win IEM Cologne

Natus Vincere claimed the first international LAN title of 2021 after defeating G2 3-0 in the grand final of IEM Cologne, adding the trophy to the BLAST Premier Global Final, DreamHack Masters Spring and StarLadder CIS RMR prizes that they secured online earlier in the year.

NAVI, who won their second trophy in the ‘Cathedral of Counter Strike’ after claiming the title in 2018 against BIG, picked up right where they left off at IEM Katowice (the last LAN event before competition shifted completely online), with a 3-0 victory against G2 and in the exact same maps, albeit in a different order. This time around, It wasn’t as easy as the result suggests: NAVI were clearly the better team on Dust2, but Mirage and Nuke were closely-contested affairs that could have gone in a different direction had G2 not collapsed at the final hurdle.

As the match came to a close, it was impossible not to feel that the scoreline was too harsh on G2, particularly on Nikola “⁠NiKo⁠” Kovač, who put in great performances in the last two maps after Aleksandr “⁠s1mple⁠” Kostyliev had stolen the show on Dust2, where he even broke the record for the most aces at a Big Event (four).

“It was nice, but the emotions were not as strong as if we were playing on stage,” said s1mple said after the match. “We still need to work on a lot of stuff. Our goal was to win back-to-back tournaments, and we managed to do it. We won the CIS RMR, and now we won this tournament.

“Today we didn’t play like we can play. Maybe we showed some nerves.”

s1mple led the charge as NAVI beat G2

It did not take long for s1mple to make his presence felt. Eight rounds into Dust2, he pulled off a 1v3 clutch in the B site, redeeming himself for missing a no-scope in the previous round in the same scenario after dispatching the first two opponents. Up until then, it had been Denis “⁠electronic⁠” Sharipov doing most of the work for NAVI, who jumped out to a 4-0 lead, forcing G2 into an early timeout.

That s1mple clutch put NAVI up 6-2 and halted G2‘s momentum after they had won two rounds in a row, the second of which with a quad-kill from Nemanja “⁠huNter-⁠” Kovač. NAVI then ceded control to G2 after being caught off-guard in an anti-eco round, but still managed to win the half thanks to a 1v3 clutch from Ilya “⁠Perfecto⁠” Zalutskiy and a successful force-buy in the final round.

The second half began at a frantic pace, with rounds going both ways as neither team looked to dominate the game. But all that changed in the 20th round, when s1mple and Valeriy “⁠B1T⁠” Vakhovskiy defied the odds and retook the B site in a 2v3 scenario. G2 were left kicking themselves after that round, and to make matters worse, they saw s1mple get a record-breaking ace. From there the game was over as a contest as NAVI kept their defence tight and quickly put the game past G2.

Mirage began in the same manner as Dust2, with NAVI taking a comfortable lead early on before G2 fired back. Nemanja “⁠nexa⁠” Isaković helped his team to bring the deficit to a minimum before the break with some high-impact rounds, including an ace, taking some of the load off NiKo, who was in superb form all game.

G2 carried that momentum into the second half and romped to an 11-7 lead, forcing Andrey “⁠B1ad3⁠” Gorodenskiy to call a timeout to stop the bleeding. The break had an immediate effect as NAVI retook the lead after a spell of dominance. G2 refused to relent, though, and they thought they had done enough to take the game to overtime after winning a force-buy thanks to a trio of Desert Eagle frags by NiKo, but their mid push gamble in the 30th round proved disastrous and cost them the game.

G2 looked a bit off the pace in the early stages of Nuke but they brushed off that sluggish start to end the half ahead, with nexa and NiKo combining for 28 frags. The Bosnian talent pulled off a 1v3 clutch in the pistol round to fire G2 further into the lead, but the respite would not last long as NAVI took control after winning the third round with a weak buy.

With no room for error, Audric “⁠JaCkz⁠” Jug dragged his team out of trouble with two great rounds, but then it all fell apart for G2 after they failed to plant the bomb in a round that was theirs to lose, against four pistols and an AWP. With the momentum back in their favour, NAVI pressed on and won the last two rounds they needed to run out victorious.



IEM Cologne 2021 final standings:

1. Russia Natus Vincere – $400,000
2. Europe G2 – $180,000
3-4. Europe FaZe – $80,000
3-4. Denmark Astralis – $80,000
5-6. Russia Gambit – $40,000
5-6. CIS – $40,000
7-8. Denmark Heroic – $24,000
7-8. Germany BIG – $24,000
9-12. Brazil FURIA – $16,000
9-12. France Vitality – $16,000
9-12. Sweden NIP – $16,000
9-12. United States Liquid – $16,000
13-16. Russia Spirit – $10,000
13-16. Australia Renegades – $10,000
13-16. Europe Complexity – $10,000
13-16. Europe mousesports – $10,000

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