The third Grand Slam champion in history.
Natus Vincere won the 14th season of the CS:GO ESL Pro League today, defeating Team Vitality 3-2 in the grand finals. The Intel Grand Slam’s third season comes to a close with Na’Vi winning their fourth event and taking home the $1 million prize.
Na’Vi had the benefit of opening the series on their preferred map, Dust2, and chose to catch Vitality off guard early in the game. While they usually prefer A Long takes on the T-side, they focused mainly on the B site in the first half, regularly taking mid control to divide the Vitality defense in half. They finished the first half with a 10-5 lead after returning to the A site. Vitality won a few rounds to start the second half before the first full buy, then lost to pistols the next round, giving Na’Vi a 12-9 advantage and some free weapons. That was a crucial round, as Na’Vi went on to win four of the next five rounds and win their first map selection 16-10.
Vitality needed to stem the Na’Vi momentum, thus they got off to a fast start on their selection of Inferno, with ZywOo and s1mple slugging it out in the opening half. During the T-side half, Vitality led 7-1, but some great A site holds by a lone electronic allowed Na’Vi to cut the French lead to 9-6 before switching sides. Vitality would reclaim control by winning the CT-side pistol round and expanding their lead. Their defense was impenetrable, going a perfect 6/6 in CT rounds to defeat Inferno 16-6, converting the best-of-five to a best-of-three.
A triple kill from the corner of the B bombsite in the first pistol round set the tone for Nuke. Na’Vi was able to gain an early advantage thanks to their approach, dominating the first five rounds with entire map control. Na’Vi led 11-4 at halftime as b1t opened and closed rounds with large kills. For Vitality, Na’Vi seizing their CT-side pistol to start the second half put tons of pressure on them before Na’Vi closed the door on the 16-11 at the end of the second period.
On the heels of Vitality, who lost the initial pistol round against Overpass, the trio of shox, ZywOo, and the newcomer Kyojin put together an outstanding T-side half. In the first half, Vitality led 12-3, with 21 kills from shox. When it came time to shoot in the second half, Na’Vi was determined to chip away at France’s lead. A 16-7 victory for Vitality in the second half kept Na’Vi’s economy in check. The series will now move to Mirage for the fifth and final map.
Mirage did not instantly benefit from this momentum. As soon as Vitality began, the same names that had come forward were nowhere to be found. Just as Vitality was starting to settle into a rhythm, Na’Vi forced Vitality into a loss without losing a single player. S1mple missed a bomb plant by less than a second as Na’Vi led 10-5 at halftime. When it came to Mirage, Na’Vi and Na’Vi were neck and neck at 15-14. 16-14 on Mirage, a 3k from s1mple eventually put a stop to the torturous, hours-long match.
Na’Vi won the Intel Grand Slam in the third season of the ESL Pro League. After 13 tournaments and two years, the Grand Slam has come to an end. The global epidemic has only added to the length of the Grand Slam. In IEM Katowice 2020, the final normal pre-pandemic event, Na’Vi’s first win came at the sixth event of the season. In addition to DreamHack Masters Spring and IEM Cologne, Na’Vi also won the ESL Pro League with a 2-0 record. Season two was won by Team Liquid in just five tournaments, spread out over less than half a year.
With Major qualifiers on the horizon, Team Vitality’s ability to get to five maps with Na’Vi in the grand finals is their finest result of the year. That kind of performance might drive them into Legend status for Stockholm if they maintain this level of performance. As of now, Na’Vi holds the top slot in the CIS rankings, and they’ll be looking to maintain that position at their own IEM Fall event. Both events will begin on September 29th.