Natus Vincere has become the first finalist of the $1 million IEM Cologne following a clean sweep over Astralis today at the LANXESS Arena.
The Ukrainian-Russian CS:GO powerhouse started the series with a great CT side on Nuke, in which they repeatedly shut down Astralis’ offensive playbook and won 11 of the 15 rounds. NAVI didn’t let the game slip from their hands at any point and swiftly closed the map 16-8. The team’s star Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev hard carried and finished with 26 kills and just 10 deaths.
Mirage, on the other hand, was a completely different match. Astralis went on to win 11 consecutive rounds in the first half after they conceded the first and second round and should have won the map thanks to their 12-3 advantage. But NAVI displayed a great defense in the second half, just like Astralis did, and took the game to overtime.
The Ukrainian-Russian lineup completed the comeback in the extra rounds and defeated Astralis 19-17 to move to the grand finals. This time, it was Valeriy “b1t” Vakhovskiy who led the charges for NAVI. The skilled youngster got 37 frags in total and 120 ADR on Mirage.
This defeat ended Astralis’ first half of the CS:GO season as IEM Cologne is the last tournament before the start of the summer player break. The all-Danish team struggled earlier this year but showed in Cologne that they’re on the right track to at least fight for titles.
NAVI will now wait for the result between FaZe Clan vs. Movistar Riders to know who they’ll face tomorrow in the best-of-five grand finals of IEM Cologne.