Natus Vincere are the ESL One: Cologne Champions

Natus Vincere, led by tournament MVP Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev, dispensed of the surprising German side, BIG, 3-1 in maps to win their first event of the year. It’s been a long arduous road for the Na’vi side in their quest for a premier title over the likes of Faze and Astralis. In Cologne, it all came together as Na’vi strung together their best performances altogether down the roster.

Back to s1mple, who’s been arguably the best player all year, turned up again in each of the playoff matches. Regardless of some lesser kill numbers out of Egor ‘Flamie’ Vasilyev, S1mple not only was able to continually clutch rounds for Na’vi, but get that consistent kill-per-round. On top of the offensive consistency, his ability to stay alive was uncanny. Special performance from a special player.

S1mple had a magnificent week, but Na’vi won this event the moment Danylo ‘Zeus’ Teslenko started to make plays. The captain of the notorious Na’vi franchise, Zeus was struggling in the bracket play and it was clear they weren’t getting their best result. Once the playoffs hit and the tough matches started to come, the rest of Na’vi outside of S1mple and Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov stepped up in a big way. This full-team effort carried them to a win.

It was clear shortly after Na’vi recovered after the 16-10 Dust 2 loss on map two that any setback wasn’t going to deny them. The response on Train was massive in terms of this team avoiding another upset at the hands of BIG Clan. BIG played some impressive Counter-Strike this week, but unfortunately, Johannes ‘nex’ Maget reached his limit on Inferno after consistently dropping huge kill numbers. nex was the BIG Clan’s most valuable player, but he ended game four with four kills.

It was an incredible week of high-level Counter-Strike. Na’vi coming from the depths to rise above the rest and win and ESL One is a fantastic ending. It’s maybe not the storybook ending German fans were looking for, but Na’vi on top of the CS world feels right.

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