The semifinals of the IEM Katowice Major playoffs is underway today, and the first grand finalist of the tournament has been decided following the showdown between Natus Vincere and ENCE Esports
ENCE emerged victorious over the No. 2 team in the world after an insane best-of-three series. The Finns picked Train, Na’Vi went with Dust II, and Mirage was the decider map.
Semifinal No. 1: Natus Vincere vs. ENCE Esports
ENCE won Train 16-14
Map one was an intense, back-and-forth battle with the AWPers going nuts. Na’Vi won both pistol rounds, but it still seemed as though ENCE were in control for most of the game. The Finns came back from a 14-10 deficit late in the game with six-straight successful CT defenses to claim the opener. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Aleksi “allu” Jalli were the crucial fraggers for their respective teams, while 17-year-old prodigy Jere “sergej” Salo topped the server at 26 kills.
Na’Vi won Dust II 16-3
It was a much different storyline on Dust II, where Na’Vi picked up steam with no signs of stopping. While on T side, Na’Vi demolished ENCE’s defenses with ease, keeping the Finns at 13-2 at the half with less than 10 kills for everyone on the team. Then Na’Vi sealed the deal on CT with a 16-3 scoreline.
ENCE won Mirage 16-14
ENCE looked shaky on Mirage because of small individual mistakes, allowing several clutches in post-plant situations on their T side. Na’Vi led 9-6 at the half, picked up the second pistol round, and had the score at 12-6 in their favor.
But ENCE still came to life despite allu’s early fragging struggles. Once allu gained his confidence back on the AWP, it was a sign of the times for the Finnish side, who eventually took the lead in a nerve-wracking fashion on CT.
ENCE won two pivotal retakes and one tense defense in round 30 to secure the win over the CIS juggernaut. S1mple almost achieved a monumental clutch that would’ve put Na’Vi in the finals, while also dropping 32 frags in the loss.
The second semifinal between Astralis and MIBR will determine who will be playing ENCE in the grand finale of the 14th Valve Major. The finals will take place tomorrow in Katowice at 12pm CT.