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Photos of Navi as they compete in the FACEIT CSGO Major in London, UK
NEWS

Team Liquid and Natus Vincere become legends!

Oct 012018

The second Major of the year has concluded, as champions were crowned in London. After three weeks of numerous intense matches, it’s time to pause and look back at one of the most defining tournaments of the year.

In early September, sixteen teams converged in London and the Twickenham Stadium to battle it out in the first Swiss round of the tournament, the New Challengers stage. Team Liquid began their Major run here, a consequence of their top 16 finish at the previous Major in Boston. Starting off on the right foot, nitr0’s men navigated their way to a dominant 3-0 scoreline, which booked them a ticket to the New Legends stage. Dispatching OpTic and HellRaisers in dominant fashion, their biggest challenge turned out to be Vega Squadron. As is now customary from the CIS team, they flew under the radar between the majors, with very little offline outing for the sharks. This made for a surprising contender during their entire run, as there was little information on them that teams could use for preparation. Combined with their aggressive and in-your-face kind of playstyle, Vega proved to be a serious threat to Liquid. The horsemen managed to avoid the upset in the end, thanks in particular to a 31 bomb from Twistzz that helped close out overtime in their favor, and complete their pristine run in the Challenger stage.

As the Major bid goodbye to the bottom eight teams, the New Legends stage saw the previous eight Legends enter the fold to try and defend their status against the new eight challengers. This turned out to be a stumbling point for many of the ELEAGUE Boston Legends, as five of them lost their status. Liquid played a part in that with their spotless run to the playoffs, which included a victory over Winstrike and a fantastic, albeit nail-biting, match on Inferno against Astralis. Up 12-3 after a dominant T-side involving a lot of mind games and Team Liquid simply outplaying and outmaneuvering the Danish powerhouse, the game took an unexpected turn as Astralis replied with a clinic of their own on the attacking side. Liquid barely managed to survive and wrestled their way to match point, but the game would still go to overtime. The very next round would set the tone for the remainder of the game, as Keith “NAF” Markovic picked up the AWP and deleted Nicolai “device” Reedtz through the wall in banana. Liquid would remain in full control and close the game out 19-15, completing another 3-0 in the second Swiss round on the back of it, and claiming a Legends spot.

 

 

 

 

Na’Vi had begun their Major in the same Swiss round, as they were Legends themselves, but unlike many other Legends, they managed to keep their status, surviving mostly unscathed. Even though their first match against Astralis resulted in a loss, they quickly bounced back with a victory against FaZe 16-12. From then on, they tore through their opponents with quick successive victories, dispatching the reinvigorated Ninjas in Pyjamas, then Fnatic in the deciding game, to ensure their spot in the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

With the eight new Legends set, the Champions stage could begin. On the lower end of the bracket, Team Liquid got pitted against HellRaisers, who were making their first appearance at this stage of the Major. A storied matchup, as the Kirill “ANGE1” Karasov led lineup fought Liquid on multiple occasions and had explosive encounters during the Major Circuit and its qualifiers over the years. This quarterfinal match unfolded in a similar fashion as their previous meetings, ending up the only 2-1 of the whole Champions stage, in favor of Liquid. There was little time to celebrate though, because that only earned them another match against their nemesis Astralis, this time in a Bo3. Unfortunately, the Swiss round feat was not repeated, and the Danes got their revenge, reaching their second Major finals in the process.

 

On the upper end of the bracket, Na’Vi started their playoffs story with a match against BIG, who were returning to Legend status for only the second time. This time with the UK’s prodigy Owen “Smooya” Butterfield among their ranks. The German-British squad never got the opportunity to set up whatever they may have planned to do in the match, as Na’Vi simply crushed them on the back of a dominant duo performance from Oleksandr “S1mple” Kostylev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov. The quintet carried on their excellent form in their next match against MIBR. Although a threat on paper, the Brazilian-American mix didn’t fare much better than BIG against Na’Vi, and once again the CIS superstars dismantled yet another team on their way to the finals.

 

 

 

 

Astralis vs. Na’Vi. A matchup that’s become too familiar throughout the year. Since the teams landed on opposite sides of the bracket, many could already see this finals looming in the distance. They were proven right and on Sunday the ten players, of teams ranked #1 and #2 in the world, entered the server for the ultimate match of the FACEIT London Major. Alas, despite a valiant resistance on Na’Vi’s part, especially on the second map, Astralis had too firm a grasp on the whole finals, and collectively out-powered Na’Vi to claim their second Major trophy in London.

 

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Natus Vincere, as they could still boast about having the two highest rated players of the whole tournament. With ratings of 1.36 for electronic and 1.34 for S1mple, they simply flew over the competition during the whole tournament, save for the finals. Despite the loss, it still reminded everyone that this duo isn’t going anywhere, and if anything, 2018 is just the beginning.

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