Natus Vincere beat Heroic in the second DreamHack Masters Spring semi-final of the day to secure a spot in the tournament’s best-of-five grand final, making it an all-CIS bout in which they will face the world-beating Gambit. In doing so, they denied their Danish rivals the chance at a repeat of the ESL Pro League grand final, which they won in a marathon five-map series against Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov and company.
“Last time we played Gambit we had a really good chance to beat them,” Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev said about rematching the Russian squad in the final, “but they played much better and I don’t think we played our A game, so I’m just looking forward to the final. It’ll be our first all-CIS final with this lineup and it’ll be best-of-five, as well, so it’ll be cool.”
s1mple had an excellent showing in the semi-final with a 1.54 rating
Heroic and Natus Vincere kicked off their first confrontation in over half a year on Mirage, the CIS squad’s map pick, in a hotly contested first half that was at a stalemate after fourteen rounds with both teams in a constant struggle for control which ended in the Danes taking a minimal one-round lead as CTs. Heroic then set the pace from the get-go on the attacking side, extending their lead to 11-7 before a series of back-and-forth rounds, although they never lost control and closed the map out 16-11 to take the lead going into Nuke.
The Danes ran ahead on the attacking side of Nuke, a map they had played nine times this year with a solitary 14-16 loss to Spirit out of all of them, but despite taking a 6-2 lead they weren’t able to run away as Natus Vincere found their groove and clawed their way back to an 8-7 lead after winning six of the seven final rounds on the defense. The CIS squad continued going on a tear on the attack, reaching a comfortable 15-8 lead to hit match point, and although the Danes tried to put some pressure late in the map s1mple shut them down with a 1vs3 ace clutch, hitting a round 30 frags in the map, which ended 16-12, to tie the series up.
Heroic regained composure and took the lead on the CT side of Inferno after the pistol round, but were quickly on the back foot as s1mple and company started to get on a roll, moving ahead on the scoreboard momentarily, although it was finally the Danes who were able to regroup with René “TeSeS” Madsen getting several multi-kill rounds to go 9-6 up at the switch. The second half started back-and-forth, but Natus Vincere were able to stabilize and tie things up 10-10. After taking the lead, it looked like the CIS squad could give it up, going into an eco at 14-13, but a slip-up by Heroic put NAVI on match point, after which they were able to close the map out 16-13 to secure the series and their presence in the DreamHack Masters Spring grand final.