karrigan and his men are one step closer to securing the Intel Grand Slam

FaZe overcome Natus Vincere in grueling IEM Cologne final

The Major champions are back to their winning ways.

After an incredibly arduous BO5, FaZe have bested Natus Vincere in the grand final of IEM Cologne 2022. The final between the two best teams in the world absolutely delivered, with the series going the distance before FaZe were able to be crowned as the champions of the prestigious event.

The long-awaited grand final began on FaZe's first pick of Inferno, with the international team managing a solid start by securing five rounds to start their offense. Those five rounds would be just about all they got on the T-side, however, as Natus Vincere shut out FaZe for most of the rest of the half, going from 0-5 down to posting a 9-6 lead.

FaZe snatched the first two rounds on the defense to help them get back in the saddle before NAVI quickly responded with a streak of three rounds to maintain their lead. Now, it was FaZe's turn to put up a resounding defense, as they charged ahead with a seven-round run to reach match point. NAVI squeaked out a round to halt FaZe's march to victory, but this did not prevent FaZe from closing things out in the subsequent round, with the Finn "karrigan" Andersen and his men securing their pick 16-13.

The first half of NAVI's pick of Overpass was a much more back-and-forth affair than the previous map. FaZe claimed the first pistol round, but were immediately upset by their Eastern European opponents in the subsequent round, at which point the game devolved into a bloodbath, with neither team able to put together a significant streak of rounds. In the end, NAVI came out on top, albeit barely, with an 8-7 scoreline.

Now on the offense, FaZe came roaring out of the gates in the second half, snatching yet another pistol round, allowing FaZe to steal the lead with a four-round streak. NAVI were not shaken by these rounds from FaZe however, as they shoved FaZe aside on the defense to not only reclaim the lead but also reach map point. Down 15-11, FaZe finally managed to begin scrounging rounds together once again, but a 1v2 from Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy allowed the Eastern European squad to close things out 16-13, evening up the series 1-1.

NAVI kept up their momentum on FaZe's second pick of Ancient, posting a nearly insurmountable defense, starting the half with an 8-0 streak. FaZe eeked out a round to break up the streak, but NAVI immediately returned to their winning ways to finish off the half 12-3. Now on the offense, NAVI continued their hot streak by claiming the second pistol round, allowing NAVI to reach map point with an incredible 15-4 scoreline.

Although it looked like NAVI were about to tie up the series 2-1, things began to slip away from the Eastern European side as FaZe put together an unbelievable comeback on their CT-side, with eleven rounds straight to drag the map into overtime. A map that seemed like a forgone conclusion was now down to the wire, with the ball in FaZe's court, but in the end the international squad was unable to get in done outside of regulation, as NAVI pulled themselves together to finally take Ancient 19-16.

Having lost their second pick, FaZe's backs were now against the wall heading into the fourth map of Mirage. Things were quite back-and-forth to start, with NAVI securing the first three rounds off the back of a pistol round victory before FaZe retorted with three rounds of their own. FaZe patched things up quickly on the defense, however, locking down eight of the ten remaining rounds to post a solid 10-5 lead heading into the offense.

FaZe secured the pistol round as well as the subsequent round to extend their lead to 12-5, but NAVI were not content with rolling over as they put together three rounds to narrow the gap. FaZe were undeterred by these rounds from their opponents, as they ground out the remaining four rounds they needed to steal away Mirage 16-9, tying up the series 2-2 to bring it to the decider of Nuke.

Despite being thoroughly shut out of the bulk of Mirage, NAVI looked like a brand new team kicking off their T-side on Nuke, with five rounds for the Eastern European squad right out of the gate. Things looked rough for FaZe, but they quickly composed themselves on the defense to tie things up 6-6. The two squads traded rounds for the remainder of the half, with NAVI narrowly coming out on top with an 8-7 lead.

Now on the offense, FaZe snatched the pistol round, as well as the subsequent two rounds, to secure the lead for the first time on Nuke. NAVI secured the first gun round to keep things close, but FaZe immediately responded with two more rounds, putting NAVI's economy in dire straits at a 12-9 scoreline. Despite their limited resources, NAVI very nearly kept FaZe honest with a half-buy win, but a 1v2 from Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken saved FaZe from a humiliating defeat.

NAVI continued to narrow the gap, stringing together nailbiter rounds until the score was eventually tied 13-13. The game devolved into a bloodbath, with the two teams exchanging blows until FaZe reached map and series point with a 15-14 scoreline thanks to two phenomenal rounds from Twistzz. With NAVI on a rough buy, there was little they could do as FaZe closed it out 16-14, securing the series victory after five grueling maps.

Natus Vincere
2 - 3
All maps
Natus Vincere K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Denis 'electroNic' Sharipov 113 - 98 +15 80.7 75.7% 1.19
Oleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev 109 - 99 +10 74.2 69.6% 1.09
Ilya 'Perfecto' Zalutskiy 82 - 100 -18 69.1 68.2% 0.93
Valeriy 'b1t' Vakhovskiy 88 - 111 -23 68.2 61.5% 0.89
Viktor 'sdy' Orudzhev 86 - 106 -20 66.3 64.2% 0.88
FaZe K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Helvijs 'broky' Saukants 115 - 95 +20 81.2 77.7% 1.19
Håvard 'rain' Nygaard 110 - 98 +12 81.5 75.0% 1.17
Canada Russel 'Twistzz' Van Dulken 109 - 95 +14 77.9 75.0% 1.17
Robin 'ropz' Kool 94 - 90 +4 65.6 68.9% 1.00
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen 84 - 102 -18 66.6 65.5% 0.92

With the final of IEM Cologne 2022 now concluded, the summer player break is now in full swing. Teams at the top level of Counter-Strike will make their return to the server in mid-August when the player break comes to a close.

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