The first ELEAGUE semi-final involved longtime contenders for the title of “The Best Team in the World”, Natus Vincere and Fnatic, battling out for a chance to move on to the Grand Final of the SK-less ELEAGUE Playoffs, standing a good chance to emerge as the winners of Season 1, keeping in mind that the other two teams in the semi-finals, Virtus.pro and mousesports, would be thought of as underdogs against either of the teams in the first semi-final match.
During pick and ban, fnatic banned Nuke, while Na’Vi got rid of Cache. Then, fnatic picked Cobblestone, while Natus Vincere elected to play the second game on Train. Then, Fnatic took away Overpass, while Na’Vi removed Mirage, leaving the deciding map to be Dust2, if it was required to decide the winner.
Map One: Cobblestone
The first half of the map started better for the CIS Natus Vincere, as they won the first pistol round. Following that, Fnatic were close to a comeback eco round steal if not for Denis “seized” Kostin, who clutched out a win for his team. With disaster averted, Na’Vi continued rolling before being stopped in their tracks by Fnatic on the first gun round. With that win, Fnatic set back Na’Vi’s economy a little bit, which only allowed them to buy three AK-47s and 2 Desert Eagles. The Swedes took full advantage, winning the next 11 rounds, making the score 12:3 in their favor at the half. With the start Na’Vi had in the matchup, this was a very surprising outcome. Yes, it’s within reason to catch up and finish the half with the score of 8:6 in your favor after losing the first three rounds, however, this was different. It was as if Fnatic derped out in pistol, waited for their gun to be equally as strong as their opponent’s and then just did whatever they wanted with them.
To have any chance of winning, Na’Vi had to win the pistols, crush fnatic’s anti-eco and then continue dominating on gun rounds, just as Fnatic did them in the previous half. The plan was seemingly coming together, when Na’Vi won the second pistols. Unfortunately, the following round went wrong for the CIS squad. Fnatic planted the bomb with only seized left alive. Even though he clutched out 1v2 in Round 2, he elected to just keep his M4A1-S vs three fnatic players this time. With the initiative back on their side, Fnatic didn’t play around, winning the following 3 rounds and the Map, 16:4.
Even though seized was the statistically best player on Na’Vi, his stats weren’t very impressive at all, -4 K/D Ratio, 62.4 ADR, and 0.87 HLTV rating. On the other side, Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer reigned supreme with his 1.57 rating, +8 K/D Ratio, and 89.2 average damage per round.Dennis “dennis” Edman, Jesper “JW” Wecksell, and Robin “flusha” Rönnquist also did very well, all three had a 1.30+ rating. Of course, it’s easier to have good stats when you’re bowing out your opponent.
Map Two: Train
With such a disheartening loss on Cobblestone, Na’Vi felt the pressure to perform in their chosen map in order to tie the score and keep their chances to reach the Grand Final alive. There’s a big difference between knowing you have no other choice but to win and actually winning, however, especially when your opponent is a team of fnatic’s caliber, which is also on a roll after a superbly dominating game.
Unfortunately for Natus Vincere and their tournament ambitions, fnatic won the pistol round, gaining a gun advantage for the next two rounds if the map played out as it was supposed to. As it turned out, there were no surprises, fnatic converted their pistol win into two more points, before losing the gun round to Na’Vi, when the CT-sided CIS team defused the bomb. Na’Vi won one more round but fnatic weren’t about to allow Na’Vi to do to them what they did to their opponents on Cobblestone, winning Round 6. For the rest of the first half, both teams swapped rounds between each other, winning one or several in a row, before giving up initiative and allowing their opponents to keep up. In the end, fnatic was up by 3, 9:6.
In the second half, Fnatic managed to convert their pistol round win into two more points just as expected, before Natus Vincere finally won a point, following it up with two more before the Swedes finally rallied, getting two back, 14:9. Then, it was Na’Vi’s turn to win a round. This time, the point swing was more significant. Natus Vincere managed to actually tie the score, 14:14, when Fnatic got match point and close the game out immediately after— Fnatic 16:14 Natus Vincere.
On Train, there were two players, one for each team, with stats considerably higher than the rest. For Fnatic, it was Dennis “dennis” Edman with a 1.67 HLTV Rating, 100.00 ADR and a +17 K/D Ratio, while Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács was the best on Na’Vi with a 1.43 rating, 99.4 ADR, and a +12 difference between kills and deaths.
In the match between the two giants of CS:GO eSports, the fall of Natus Vincere continued to even lower depths. While you can't write of Na'Vi just yet, especially keeping in mind that they fell against Fnatic, one of the best teams in the world. Still, you have to remember that they also dropped a game against Cloud9. I suspect that changes are afoot.