This was on the lips of everyone this past week, as the ESL Pro League Season 14 grand finals was unfolding. There was more on the line than an already prestigious title in the form of the Pro League trophy. For Na’Vi, the completion of the Intel Grand Slam was the real objective of this match, not just the Pro League victory.
In CS, a Grand Slam is the highest achievement next to winning a Major. More than just winning a tournament, it takes winning 4 S-tier events (organized by ESL or DreamHack Masters) in a window of 10 consecutive S-tiers. Prior to ESL Proleague, Na’Vi had clinched three out of the four necessary wins to put them on the precipice of a feat only accomplished by two other teams in the last four years.
The Grand Slam nearly eclipsed the stakes of the tournament at hand. Every round Na’Vi won, every inch of progress they were making, every frag bringing them closer to this goal had the whole scene cling onto their seats and feel an unbearably increasing tension.
Despite the tension of a looming Grand Slam, Navi made the group stage look easy as they breezed through, only losing to an overperforming BIG. It was only in the bracket stage where Na’Vi would have to go the distance. In the Semifinals they needed nearly every single round in regulation to dispatch Heroic, with a razor-thin 2-1.
The reward for their efforts? A best-of-five against Vitality that went to the 30th round on the fifth map.