S1mple breaks records and G2 in 3-0 grand finals victory at IEM Cologne

Champions crowned at IEM Cologne.

Image via ESL

Natus Vincere repeated history against G2 Esports in the IEM Cologne grand finals today, sweeping the French/Bosnian side 3-0 on the shoulders of an unbelievable tournament from s1mple. The Na’Vi CS:GO superstar notched an unbelievable 1.52 player rating across the entire tournament, one of his highest ever.

Na’Vi capitalized on their first map pick advantage and took map one on Dust2. Early on, the matchup looked like a quick and easy affair for Na’Vi after winning the first five rounds on their T-side, but G2 woke up by taking seven of the next nine rounds and made it a much more manageable 8-7 at half-time. Just winning seven CT rounds against Na’Vi isn’t enough, however, and s1mple treated fans to another show. He finished with 30 kills and only half as many deaths, capped off with a gorgeous ace, his fourth of the tournament. No player has ever produced four aces at a single major event until now.

Mirage, G2’s map pick, started almost identically to Dust2, with Na’Vi jumping out to a quick early lead, only for G2 to make a run late in the first half. Again, Na’Vi went into the second half with an 8-7 lead, but G2 reclaimed the advantage with an early run on their CT side. Na’Vi answered back with an impressive string of rounds.

The two sides traded rounds back-and-forth to close out Mirage, with a star-worthy 31 kill performance from NiKo until round 30. Up 15-14 and having just lost against a force buy, Na’Vi turned on the jets and rushed out mid, with two quick kills from B1T onto NiKo and AmaNEk spelling the end for G2. Na’Vi took Mirage 16-14 and headed into their second pick, Nuke, already up 2-0.

Nuke started out well for Na’Vi, who won their fourth of five pistol rounds in the series aided by a knife kill from s1mple up in heaven. G2 withstood an early onslaught from Na’Vi in the first half for the third map in a row, and this time, G2 went into the second half with a narrow 8-7 difference.

A heroic pistol round from NiKo gave G2 a much-needed lifeline, but a successful Na’Vi half-buy led to an unsuccessful force from G2 and tied the map at 10-10. The two teams were even again at 13-13 after trading a couple of rounds and some heroic Desert Eagle plays from JACKZ, but a costly delayed bomb plant (invoking bad memories from StarLadder Berlin) gave Na’Vi a 14th round they hardly expected to win. Na’Vi capitalized on the mistake, taking the third map 16-13 and completing the grand finals sweep.

History repeated itself as Na’Vi defeated G2 Esports 3-0 in the grand finals of the last LAN event before the COVID-19 pandemic, at IEM Katowice 2020. However, this was months before G2 would open the checkbook and acquire their Bosnian superstar NiKo, reuniting him with his cousin huNter-. While the 3-0 result today must sting, G2 can be happy with their improved form over the past couple of months following a rocky start to the NiKo era.

With Gambit’s disappointing exit in the quarterfinals after losses to G2 and FaZe in their LAN debut, Natus Vincere might have just reasserted their claim as the best team in the world, while s1mple has definitely answered the question of who the world’s best CS:GO player is right now. The champions of Cologne will return to top-tier play in a month’s time, at ESL Pro League Season 14.