Ukrainian side win finals after a five-map thriller.
Natus Vincere won the 14th season of CS: GO’s ESL Pro League after their edge-of-the-seat thriller with Team Vitality that saw them pip the French side 3-2 on the decider. With the win, NaVi took their fourth win of the event, secured the Intel Grand Slam and to top it all off, took home the US$1 million prize money.
It all started with NaVi‘s map pick of Dust 2 which saw them secure a strong T-side 10-5, before wrapping their CT-side without much hassle to kick-off the proceedings 1-0.
Next up, the teams shifted to Vitality‘s pick on Inferno. The first half where Vitality started on T-side saw their talisman ZywOo rise to the occasion, helping the French go into the break 9-6. Veteran shox also brought his A-game, as the Frenchman was involved in multiple clutches to help Vitality take the lead. The French side showcased utter domination on their CT-side as they performed a clean sweep their first seven rounds to take their map pick 16-6, levelling the score 1-1 in a best of five.
After a quiet Inferno, s1mple kicked off NaVi‘s second map pick of Nuke with a sublime triple kill clutch to take the pistol round, giving his team an early advantage. Coupled with strong performances from b1t and electronic, NaVi led 11-4 going into half-time.
The second half on T-side saw a spirited fight back from the French but s1mple along with b1t were just too much for them as their comeback hopes ended with NaVi taking the third map 16-11 to take a 2-1 lead.
A strong end to Nuke lifted Vitality‘s spirits after shabby first half and they started their second map pick of Overpass in a dominating manner as shox went bizarre, taking an incredible 21 kills to head into the Overpass break 12-3, in favour of the French. NaVi tried to stage a comeback after taking the pistol but could manage only three more rounds as Vitality dominated and took the map 16-7, tying the finals 2-2 and setting up the stage for a thrilling fifth map decider on Mirage.
The French, though, started off shabbily on the decider and NaVi pounced on it with a quick 5-1 lead and by the time Vitality could fight back, the first half of the decider had ended 10-5 in favour of the Ukrainian side.
Vitality fought back and with ZywOo and shox stepping up once again and the map came to an agonisingly close score of 15-14, but b1t and electronic provided the perfect support to s1mple who made sure there was no overtime as he finished off the final game with a triple kill to seal the series 16-14.
By winning the ESL Pro League, NaVi claimed their fourth win after wins at IEM Katowice 2020, DreamHack Masters Spring and IEM Cologne. They will hope to continue their good form as they gear up for the Majors at Stockholm later this year, and the number-one-ranked team will be eager to add that elusive Major to their golden year.