The top two Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams went at each other on July 17 in the grand final of the 2022 Cologne Intel Extreme Masters. After an intriguing five-round series, FaZe Clan defeated Natus Vincere to claim the title.
As expected, it was one of the most enthralling CS:GO matches in recent times. Both teams did not fail to deliver, as they went at each other’s throats throughout the game which went into the night.
After eight hours of competitive play, FaZe emerged victorious by the smallest of margins. Although NAVI were slight favorites with moneyline odds of -153.85 with the top esports betting sites, the +117 underdogs stole the victory.
The matchup started on Inferno, which was FaZe’s map pick. Although NAVI controlled proceedings with an incredible run to end the first round 9-6, FaZe responded in the second round to win the map.
NAVI gained control early on Overpass but lost the lead early in the second round. Thanks to Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, who finished the round with the most kills (25) and 1.33 rating, NAVI pulled off a comeback to win the map 16-13.
The Ukrainian team went into Ancient with the same ferocity, winning the first round 12-3. Many believed it was over even before the second round started. However, FaZe dug deep and replicated NAVI’s first-round performance to force overtime.
Despite their heroics, it was not enough as NAVI jumped to an early lead and never relinquished it. The map ended 19-16 in favor of NAVI, giving them a 2-1 series lead.
Although NAVI needed only one more win to end the series, FaZe was determined not to let that happen. The American team dominated Mirage and Nuke to guarantee their victory.
FaZe’s Helvijs “broky” Saukants had the best Kill-Death record in the series (115-95) and was tied for the best rating (1.19) with NAVI’s Denis “electroNic” Sharipov.
The road to the grand final was incredibly smooth for FaZe, who did not lose a single map throughout. NAVI was responsible for handing them their first map loss, which to an extent, shows how formidable NAVI is.
The Ukrainian organization deserves credit, as they went toe-to-toe with FaZe despite not fielding their full squad. They had to play without Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhaylov, who was released from the team on May 28.
The organization cited “reputational risks” as the primary reason for his dismissal. Viktor “sdy” Orudzhev has since played in his stead as a short-term replacement.
FaZe have had the better of NAVI on multiple occasions this year. Both teams squared off in the grand final PGL Antwerp Major in May. Although the first map was ridiculously close, with NAVI forcing overtime, FaZe had an easier run in Nuke to complete the sweep.
With their latest victory, FaZe have won four of the eight elite-level CS: GO tournaments in 2022. They have won IEM Katowice, ESL Pro League Season 15, Antwerp Major, and most recently, the IEM Cologne.
FaZe walked away with $400,000 of the US$1 million prize pool and bragging rights. They also earned 3,200 BLAST Premier points and direct seeding to the 2023 IEM Katowice.
NAVI and FaZe are the only two teams that have secured their berths in the 2022 World Final. The American organization clinched their spot by winning the EPL Season 15 and the PGL Major Antwerp, while NAVI earned their place in the tournament through the Spring Finals.