Na’Vi win ESL Pro League Season 14 in five-map thriller against Vitality
CMD368 – Natus Vincere won the 14th season of CS:GO‘s ESL Pro League today, following a 3-2 victory in the grand finals versus Team Vitality. This win concludes the third season of the Intel Grand Slam, with Na’Vi notching their fourth event victory to take home the $1 million prize.
— NAVI (@natusvincere) September 12, 2021
Na’Vi had the advantage of starting the series on their own map pick of Dust2, and opted to catch Vitality off guard early. While they typically favor A Long takes while on the T-side, they focused mostly on the B site through the first half, consistently taking mid control to split the Vitality defense in two. They successfully returned to the A site to close out the first half, leading 10-5. Vitality secured a few rounds to begin the second half before the first full buy, won that first buy, but then lost to pistols the next round to give Na’Vi a 12-9 lead and some free weapons. That was a pivotal round since Na’Vi went on to win four of the next five and close out their opening map pick 16-10.
Needing to slow the Na’Vi momentum, Vitality got off to a blistering start on their pick of Inferno, with the stars of ZywOo and s1mple dueling it out in the first half. Vitality at one point had a 7-1 lead during their T-side half, but some impressive A site holds by a lone electronic helped Na’Vi reduce the French lead to just 9-6 before switching sides. Vitality would regain the momentum by taking their CT-side pistol round and building their lead. Their stingy defense was impenetrable, going a perfect 6/6 in CT rounds to take Inferno 16-6, turning the best-of-five into a best-of-three.
The victory at ESL Pro League secured the Intel Grand Slam for Na’Vi in the event’s third season. This concludes what has easily been the lengthiest Grand Slam yet, taking place over 13 events and over two years, made even longer by the global pandemic. Na’Vi’s first win didn’t take place until the sixth event of the season, at the last normal pre-pandemic event in IEM Katowice 2020. Na’Vi also claimed victory at DreamHack Masters Spring and IEM Cologne before their win at ESL Pro League. For comparison, Team Liquid won season two in just five events in total, taking place over less than half a year in 2019.
Taking Na’Vi to five maps in the grand finals is the best result Team Vitality have had all year, and crucial with some Major qualifiers coming up. This continued form could see them get a top finish at IEM Fall and propel them into Legends status for Stockholm. Na’Vi already sit atop the rankings in CIS and will seek to secure that spot at their own IEM Fall event. Both events start on Sept. 29.
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