Natus Vincere have become the third Counter-strike: Global Offensive team in the European RMR to qualify for the IEM Rio Major 2022 after defeating the Outsiders in their last outing. The Ukrainian esports team will join Ninjas in Pyjamas and FaZe Clan, the other two franchises who had earned their slots earlier.
NaVi faced off against Outsiders in a two-map series which saw them sweep their Russian counterparts and pave their way to the Rio Major. The Ukrainian franchise were favorites to win the match-up on GG.BET with odds set at $1.34.
The team did not particularly have any tough matches during their outings in the Counter-strike tournament. They easily won the first match-up against Illuminar Gaming with a 16-5 score and then defeated MOUZ with a 16-11 scoreline.
Outsiders and NaVi played on the Mirage and Inferno maps. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev was the star player of the day and produced a 1.61 overall rating on both maps. NaVi ended the Swiss round of the tournament with an amazing 3-0 record and will join the Legends Stage in the fast-approaching IEM Rio Major.
NaVi’s map pick was Mirage, and the team made the first move by converting their pistol round. With NaVi in a 7-3 lead, Outsiders were able to gain on the team by using several saves to keep their economy stable. The team eventually reached a one-round lead in the first half of the map after Evgenii “FL1T” Lebedev executed a 1vs1 clutch.
NaVi and Outsiders remained close to each other on the scoreboard in Mirage’s second half after the Ukrainian team kicked off the match with a retake and got into the lead once again.
Outsiders seemed to gain an advantage after securing a 3vs5 win on the B site using only pistols. However, they were able to win just an extra round on the T side. NaVi won the map (16-13) after a successful B stack, and S1mple showed off his skills once again and secured around 30 kills in the concluding moments.
While NaVi seemed to struggle on Mirage, Inferno was an entirely different ballgame, and the team dealt the Outsiders a huge blow. S1mple shone in the map, and the Denis “electroNic” Sharipov-led team were able to counter everything their opponents launched at them.
At the start of the map, NaVi set up a wall on the team’s CT side and gave up only two rounds on their defense. NaVi’s domination of the map started in earnest when s1mple executed a quad kill during the pistol round, and the team kept up their impressive play from then.
By the end of the first half of the map, the player averaged a 21-10 K-D and performed several aggressive pushes, which served to rattle Outsiders’ default. S1mple added to the team’s instability by backstabbing Banana in time for a B hit.
NaVi won their second pistol round and basically closed out the map with a heavy lead. The 25-year-old and the rest of the team led a streak of wins and reached a 16-4 scoreline.
ESL Pro League Season 16 saw NaVi face a number of struggles, including upsets from teams like G2, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Endpoint. The Ukrainian franchise ended up finishing in 5-8th place. Despite this, they have succeeded in moving through the European RMR easily and have recorded no losses thus far.
NaVi entered the tournament as one of the favorites to win the trophy, and by the look of things, the team could be well on their way to doing just that. The 2022 IEM Road to Rio RMR is still ongoing, and the teams that will qualify for the IEM Rio Major 2022 will be revealed in the coming days.