Natus Vincere are the first CS:GO team to qualify for the IEM Cologne playoffs at the LANXESS Arena after they made quick work of the Ninjas in Pyjamas in Group A’s upper bracket today.
The CIS powerhouse spearheaded by Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev started the series by completely dismantling the Ninjas on Overpass (16-13), which was NiP’s map pick. NAVI displayed a nearly impenetrable defense on that map, having won 13 rounds as Counter-Terrorists, and effectively frustrating what the Swedish in-game leader Hampus Poser had prepared.
The game proceeded to Nuke (16-8), where NiP at least put up a good fight in the first half before NAVI moved to the CT side and ran a flawless defensive setup that helped them win all eight rounds and take the series. S1mple had one of his masterful individual performances and finished with a 41-19 K/D. He was assisted by stand-in Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev (44-22 K/D), who is playing in just his second event under the NAVI banner.
NAVI have already secured their spot in the playoffs of IEM Cologne as a result of this victory over NiP and will play only one more match in the main stage that will decide whether they advance directly to the semifinals or go to the quarterfinals. They will play the winner of Movistar Riders vs. Vitality on Sunday, July 10.
As for NiP, they now need to win two best-of-three series in Group A’s lower bracket to qualify for IEM Cologne’s playoffs. The Swedish squad have been solid throughout the season despite not playing with Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz and missing the playoffs would be considered a blow. NiP’s next encounter is with the winner of ENCE vs. G2 tomorrow, July 9.