Liquid outshine NAVI
Liquid came into BLAST off the back of a dominant display yesterday against G2, which showed that the NA side still are rich in quality despite a poor showing in Rio. On the other side NAVI have troubles of their own as the team are still seemingly undecided on their lineup, with Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy confirming they will use Andrii "nipl" Kukharskyi for the final event of the year.
Map one would be Inferno and it would be the Americans chosen playground, things didn't start swimmingly for Liquid as they lost the T side pistol and were unable to capitalise on winning their second round force-buy as they dropped to a 1-3 start.
One of the big talking points from the Major was how poor Nick "nitr0" Canella performed stats wise at the event, being the third worst-rated player at the event with a 0.79 rating. However, he was showing big improvements early on in this match as he locked up four kills in the eleventh round to bring his total up to 10 and give Liquid 6-5 advantage.
It looked like NAVI would be able to keep the deficit to just one round as they went up against Keith "NAF" Markovic in a 3v1 but two sick one taps from the Canadian ensured he clutched up the ace and 9-6 scoreline for the Liquid side.
The second half opened well for Liquid's CT side as they won the pistol and following round but the first gun round went the way of the CIS squad leaving the score at 11-7. NAVI put up a spirited comeback as they tied up the scores 11-11 in a run that included a fantastic 2v4 from Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy.
Another big round, at 14-14, from the captain nitr0 on a solo B hold gave Liquid map point putting an end to the back and forth, and in the 30th round an early Banana fight went the way of Liquid leaving them to close out a 3v2 to take map one.
The next map would be Dust2, potentially one of the last times we see pros battle on the iconic map for quite some time and it looked like Liquid were ready for it to be replaced as they struggled heavily on NAVI's map pick. It took eight rounds for the NA team to get their first on the board on the CT side and they finished the half 3-12.
Liquid lost the pistol to compound their problems but did manage to steal the following force buy but with a eight round deficit it would be a tall order to bring it back. Some strong work early in the half brought Liquid to within six and an easy anti-eco made the comeback plausible but the NA team couldn't afford to slip up once otherwise it would be map three.
A huge round from Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis who cracked open the B bombsite with two crisp entry kills gave Liquid double digits and the NAVI side once again had poor economy. The NA team brought it back to 11-14 but a lock out from the CT side gave NAVI four map points and they locked it out 16-12.
Mirage would be the decider map with Liquid starting on the T side and the early rounds went exactly how Inferno started, with the two teams trading rounds evenly. It was the NA team that took the reigns though as Jonathan "ELiGE" Jablonowski began to heat up on the T side and Liquid racked up a 7-3 lead with nitr0 cleaning up the next anti-eco with a 4k.
Liquid closed out the half 11-4 with a incredible T side to give them a solid chance at overcoming the CIS squad and not only booking their place in the Semi's in Copenhagen but it would also secure the team a spot in the Global Finals in Abu Dhabi in the final tournament of the year.
Liquid won the pistol to put them to within three rounds of the victory and despite a short comeback from the CIS squad the NA team closed out the game 16-7 which included a smart 1v2 from ELiGE.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Oleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev||68 - 53||+15||86.1||69.1%||1.24|
|Ilya 'Perfecto' Zalutskiy||47 - 53||-6||65.2||75.3%||0.99|
|Denis 'electroNic' Sharipov||51 - 56||-5||77.0||66.7%||0.99|
|Viktor 'sdy' Orudzhev||45 - 58||-13||65.2||64.2%||0.88|
|Valeriy 'b1t' Vakhovskiy||40 - 58||-18||56.1||66.7%||0.77|
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||KAST||Rating 2.0|
|Mareks 'YEKINDAR' Gaļinskis||59 - 58||+1||86.7||74.1%||1.25|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannella||65 - 50||+15||79.9||70.4%||1.20|
|Keith 'NAF' Markovic||51 - 50||+1||81.0||77.8%||1.15|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' Jablonowski||56 - 51||+5||79.1||75.3%||1.11|
|Josh 'oSee' Ohm||45 - 43||+2||54.1||70.4%||0.98|