One of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s most legendary teams is heading to its first grand final in almost two years.
Fnatic, which is spearheaded by three-time Valve Major champions Robin "flusha" Rönnquist, Freddy "KRiMZ" Johansson, and Jesper "JW" Wecksell, took down North American favorites Team Liquid in two straight maps in the IEM World Championship's second semifinal.
The Swedes, who at one point were considered the strongest team in the world, will now face FaZe Clan in the tournament's grand finals.
But despite Fnatic's impressive history, Liquid have looked quite impressive lately, which definitely shone through on the opening map, Inferno. Although Fnatic won the initial pistol round, Liquid rifler Nicholas "nitr0" Cannella almost single-handedly brought down four Fnatic players before finally being shut down by the Swedes.
Liquid didn't let up following the round loss, however, and almost instantaneously won the second round with a forcebuy.
Electing to save their money over purchasing weapons, Fnatic practically gave away two rounds before stocking up on rifles—but even this attempt was completely shut down by Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken, who sent Fnatic's economy reeling for the second time in the first half.
While things initially looked grim for the Swedes, Fnatic found their second round of the half, and eventually strung together enough to end with a respectable 9-6 finish. Once on the CT-side, the Swedes proved to be a lot more capable, as Fnatic beat down Liquid with a forcebuy in the second round of the half.
Liquid's luck appeared to have almost completely turned. JW provided Fnatic with more than a few rounds after a quiet first half. Neither bombsite seemed safe, though, as Fnatic pushed past Liquid's early lead.
Liquid weren't completely out for the count, however, and gained some ground after two impressive rounds. But despite being forced into an eco round, Fnatic used grenades and CZ-75's to deadly efficiency as they brute-forced their way to match point. At that point, the final round was only a formality. Fnatic destroyed the pistol-armed Liquid players in the A bomb site, and took the first game of the series.
Liquid's bad fortunes continued in the second map, Mirage. Fnatic won the opening pistol round. They only answered back with a successful forcebuy on the fourth round, but Fnatic quickly returned to form and started running away with their lead on the T-side. Liquid's attempts at regaining any kind of control were consistently shut down, and the Swedes proved to be an almost indomitable force on the T-side, as they ended the first half 10-5.
Liquid answered back on the second pistol round, but Fnatic instantly responded. Both teams traded a few rounds between each other, with Liquid's Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski providing his team with a couple of decisive kills.
Ultimately, Fnatic were so far ahead and in such an overwhelmingly strong position that they closed out the series 2-0. Fnatic will now face off against FaZe in the IEM World Championship grand final on Sunday, March 4 at 10am CT.