Not even the coronavirus could put a stop to s1mple's NaVi in Katowice.
Natus Vincere completely annihilated the competition to win the prestigious IEM Katowice. In this article, we will break down their road to the finals, s1mple’s statistics, and the best bet of the tournament.
One of the most stacked tournaments in CS:GO history has come to its conclusion, with Natus Vincere defeating G2 in front of an empty arena in Katowice due to the growing coronavirus fears.
Natus Vincere had to battle through a very tough group, which included teams like Astralis, fnatic, FaZe, and Vitality. Their first opponent was FaZe, a team that came in as one of the betting favorites after dismantling Team Liquid twice at BLAST Premier. FaZe would take their map pick, Nuke, in convincing fashion, but NaVi would answer with a win of their own on Dust2. The decider was Overpass, a map that NaVi would take 16–10, with Boombl4 being a clear standout in the fragging department.
The Swedish team fnatic awaited in the upper bracket semi-finals, a team that has an excellent track record at IEM Katowice, with three wins in their repertoire. This would be NaVi’s first and only loss in the tournament, as fnatic were able to defeat NaVi 2–1 despite the best efforts of s1mple, whos performance was only rivaled by KRIMZ of fnatic.
The loss to fnatic meant that NaVi would have to battle through the lower bracket where another Swedish team awaited them; Ninjas in Pyjamas. This was a landslide as NaVi defeated NiP 2–0 after dominant showings on Mirage and Vertigo, with s1mple and flamie having big performances.
The win against NiP set up a rematch against FaZe. This was a bit of a repeat of the group match, as NaVi would lose on Nuke, only to bring it back on Dust2 and Inferno to win the series.
NaVi turned things up quite a few notches in the playoffs, and they were completely dominant throughout, taking down Liquid 2–0 before absolutely annihilating tournament favorite Astralis 2–0 after consecutive 16–5 wins on Dust2 and Nuke. The final was another beatdown, as they took down G2 3–0 in the BO5 series, with G2 failing to get more than 4 rounds on Nuke and Mirage.
The quarter-final matchup between Team Liquid and Natus Vincere was one of better matches of the tournament. It had a plethora of individual brilliance from players like s1mple, electronic, and EliGE.
The first map was Dust2, NaVi’s map pick. The CIS side opened up strong, winning the T side pistol round after a triple kill from electronic. However, Team Liquid answered straight back with a win on the force buy after a miraculous quad-kill from EliGE. It wasn’t long until s1mple would steal the limelight with an absolutely insane 1v4 clutch on the A site - a crucially important round as NaVi’s economy was terrible at this point in the match. This gave NaVi a big boost of confidence, as they went on a five-round streak, eventually closing out the half 10–5 on the T side.
Much like in the first half, Team Liquid opened up strong by winning the first four rounds. However, it was all about NaVi for the rest of the half. s1mple was having a field day on the AWP at this point - and in the final round, he even had the audacity to push through a smoke with the AWP in mid, finding two no-scope frags on Twistzz and NAF. EliGE did his best to bring Liquid back into the round with a triple kill, but Boombl4 finished him off to give the map win to NaVi.
Liquid’s map pick was Mirage. The first half was a closely contested affair, as Team Liquid were able to find initial success off the back of the likes of EliGE and NAF. Ultimately, it was s1mple who would get the last laugh, closing out the half with a 1v2 clutch on the A site. The Ukrainian continued that form into the second half, as he was consistently able to find success on the A site. A 1v2 clutch from flamie would seal the map point for NaVi, and they closed out the following round to win the series 2–0.
The entire NaVi roster was incredible at this event, but there is one name that stands above all the others and that is of course s1mple. With GuardiaN leaving the team, NaVi had two options; pick up an AWPer, or put s1mple back on the AWP. They chose the latter option, a decision which has proven to be an instant hit, as s1mple has been a monster with the AWP so far in 2020.
The Ukrainian had an incredible tournament, and the stats speak for themselves. s1mple led all players in Rating (1.33), Kills/Round (0.83), Deaths/Round (0.56), KD-diff (+119), Damage-diff/Round (+21.4), and success in opening duels (73.8%). He also had an impressive amount of clutches (7) in this event, many of which came at crucial moments for NaVi.
s1mple had to settle for second place in HLTV’s player rankings for 2019, as he was bested by the French revelation3 ZywOo. However, with s1mple back on the AWP, it would not be surprising to see him reclaim that number one spot in 2020.
An outright bet on NaVi paid out at odds of 11.00, an excellent payout for those who believed in this revitalized NaVi roster. The big surprise of the tournament was G2, who made it all the way to the finals. A Top 2 bet on G2 paid out at odds of 9.30.