Natus Vincere went to the finals of CEVO Season 7 as favorites due to their victory at ESWC 2015 in Canada. The Born to Win had a series of trainings before going to the US. They were preparing to certain rivals' strategies, though they had studied the performance of Liquid, Luminosity and Cloud9 in Canada.
In Columbus, our team played at a big cyber arena of MLG.tv. All the matches were conducted on the special scene. Each player was to wear helicopter headset, in order not to hear the caster's comments or the shouts from the audience. The former Na`Vi player and the current coach Sergey "starix" Ischuk was standing behind the backs of the players all the time.
Our team's first match at CEVO 7 group stage was held against Luminosity Gaming. This team was defeated by Natus Vincere at ESWC 2015 and lost its chance to get to the play off. The story repeated once again in the US. The team managed to win only a couple of rounds at its map (de_dust). The difference in total scores of the match was also rather substantial: 16:3 (13:2; 3:1) @overpass, 16:8 (10:5; 6:3) @dust. For our players the game was just a warm-up before the decisive encounters of the tournament.
The second match in the group was held against a very serious and experienced rival - Virtus.pro. The choice of maps was as follows: de_overpass, de_train and de_mirage. The Born to Win began as Terrorists at overpass and took gun round. The Poles managed to win one round, which was followed by 9 defeats. It seemed, that all Natus Vincere had to do was to increase the advantage and win. However, the experience was decisive: the veteran of eSports, Polish captain of VP managed to "read" the positions of the Born to Win and understand, how they'd be playing further on. That was the turning point of the match. Virtus.pro took 4 rounds in a row. The game continued in a slower pace, both teams making mistakes. The polish players managed to overcome their rivals, and even Flamie couldn't stop them, though there was a moment when he suddenly jumped out of smoke and made 4 kills. As a result, VP made a comeback and defeated Natus Vincere in additional rounds (19:15).
Next was de_train (chosen by VP). Unfortunately, due to the fatigue of the intensive game at overpass, our players couldn't show their best. They won one round, but then lost a couple of important moments, similarly to their rival in the previous encounter. Sadly Na`Vi didn't manage to repeat the comeback of VP. As a result they lost 16:5. Watch the replays here.
After losing to VP, our team was to play against the American Tempo Storm in the final of the lower brackets. It was the battle for the slot in play off, so it was most important. The following maps were chosen: de_mirage, de_inferno, de_cobblestone. The Born to Win began the first map unsuccessdully. However, having won a round without serious purchase, they began pushing the rivals and evened the score 12:12, and eventually won the match.
The game at de_inferno was unbelievable! The teams were performing practically on the same level. Our players seemed to have driven mad Tempo Storm forcing them to play at their best. We witnessed a number of series of additional rounds. Our players fought over 40 rounds against their rivals, but eventually lost in overtime 22:25. Watch the replay here.
The additional rounds were advantageous for our team. The players of Tempo Storm were exhausted. Though trying to fight against Natus Vincere, the Americans lost in the first half of the map 7:8 and the whole game. The victory brought the Born to Win to the play off, where they are to encounter mousesports. Watch the record of the match here.
23:00 CEST: Natus Vincere[2:0] Luminosity Gaming
23:00 CEST: Virtus.pro[2:0] Tempo Storm
01:30 CEST: mousesports[2:0] Team Liquid
01:30 CEST: Cloud9[2:0] Counter Logic Gaming
16:00 CEST: Natus Vincere [0:2] Virtus.pro
16:00 CEST: Luminosity Gaming [1:2] Tempo Storm
18:30 CEST: mousesports [2:0] Cloud9
18:30 CEST: Team Liquid [1:2] Counter Logic Gaming