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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Cologne victory brings NAVI one win away from Intel Grand Slam title

A 3-0 sweep of G2 in the grand final of IEM Cologne sees Natus Vincere move within reach of winning Intel Grand Slam (IGS) Season 3.

The $1,000,000 IGS prize is given out to the team that proves to be dominant at the highest level and was previously won by Astralis in 2018 and Liquid in 2019. However, Natus Vincere are looking determined to join the exclusive group, with their first chance to do so at ESL Pro League Season 14.

NAVI claimed trophies at the last LAN of 2020 and the first one of 2021

Prior to IEM Cologne, Natus Vincere was victorious at DreamHack Masters Spring in May of 2021, where they defeated Gambit in the grand final, as well as IEM Katowice 2020, reigning supreme over G2 at the final LAN before the online era. All three matches finished with a 3-0 victory in favor of Aleksandr “⁠s1mple⁠” Kostyliev and co.

Natus Vincere‘s Intel Grand Slam wins:

PolandIEM Katowice (March 2020)
EuropeDreamHack Masters Spring (May 2021)
GermanyIEM Cologne (July 2021)

The victory in Cologne pushes Natus Vincere to the top of the IGS Season 3 rankings with three victories, ahead of Gambit who has two, as well as Heroic and Astralis, tied at 1.

The race seems to be between the two CIS sides, though, as only they have secured victories at Masters Championship events (Cologne or Katowice), allowing them to complete the IGS with four events won from 10 consecutive ones held by ESL or DreamHack. Without a Masters Championship, six events in the 10-event window are required to win IGS Season 3.

Current standing:

Russia Natus Vincere – 3 wins (2 Masters Championships), 3 remaining chances
Russia Gambit – 2 wins (1 MC), 5 chances
Denmark Heroic – 1 win (0 MC), 6 chances
Denmark Astralis – 1 win (0 MC), 4 chances

As previously mentioned, Natus Vincere will have a chance to close out the IGS after the break, with three IGS tournaments confirmed for the remainder of the year. The action resumes with ESL Pro League Season 14 in August – September, and even if the CIS side doesn’t claim the title there, they will have two more shots at IEM Fall and IEM Winter later in 2021. If no team wins the IGS this year, the competition will continue in 2022.

Important to note as well is that Natus Vincere reaching three wins has activated the spoiler bonus, which awards $100,000 to any team that is able to stop Andrey “⁠B1ad3⁠” Gorodenskiy‘s squad from winning the Intel Grand Slam by defeating them in a grand final.

Confirmed Intel Grand Slam events for 2021:

Malta ESL Pro League Season 14 (August – September)
Other IEM Fall (September – October)
China IEM Winter (December)

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

NAVI defeat FaZe to set up IEM Cologne grand final match against G2

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.

s1mple topped the board with a 1.78 rating across both maps

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.

Russia

Europe

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

G2 edge out Astralis to reach first grand final with NiKo

G2 have advanced to the IEM Cologne grand final following a nail-biting finish to a thrilling three-map series against Astralis. The Nemanja “⁠nexa⁠” Isaković-led side have reached their first title decider since they finished runners-up at DreamHack Masters Spring in June 2020, and their first following Nikola “⁠NiKo⁠” Kovač‘s arrival a few months later.

G2 will lock horns with the winner of the second semi-final between Natus Vincere and FaZe in the best-of-five bout for the trophy, on Sunday at 16:00