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IEM 6 WC: Na`Vi escapes 16:14, progresses

By Duncan 'Thorin' Shields
Mar 6, 2012 20:00

Image2 time reigning champions Na`Vi escaped elimination from the IEM VI WC with a win in the last round of the last group game. Read the story of how it came down to that for the Ukrainians.

UA Natus Vincere progressed from Group A of the IEM VI World Championship in second place, but their route out of the group saw them a single round from elimination and entangled in numerous last round battles. Finishing the group with three wins, a draw and a loss the reigning two time IEM World Champions were teetering on the edge numerous times as all three of their wins were 16:14 games in which they trailed after the first half. Their entire tournament came down to a single round in the last game of the group.

Na`Vi celebrates escaping Group A with a 16:14 win over ESC:

The hard fought battle - how Group A was saved for the reigning champions
After tying the opening game vs. SE SK, despite being 14:6 up, and as CTs, on inferno at one point, the Ukrainians looked to be in huge trouble in their next game: vs. mouz on the very same inferno. Getting only four CT rounds in the first half they had to fight and claw their way back, finally taking the game 16:14 in the last round of regulation. Then came what should seemingly have been a sure-fire win, vs. CN TyLoo on dust2, but turned into a huge headache as the Chinese team ran over them before they could take 7 rounds. After three games Na`Vi sat at a win, a draw and a loss for four points in total.

With TyLoo having won their first three games, beating DK Anexis and DE mouz also, the Chinese team were suddenly putting the heat on the three elite teams. In Na`Vi's next game, vs. Anexis, they only managed six rounds as terrorists on inferno. Again the game went down to the wire and again the Ukrainians pulled it out, winning 16:14 to move to two wins.

Heading into the last game Na`Vi had to beat PL ESC and also needed TyLoo to lose to SK. TyLoo lost to SK in a landslide quick game and suddenly the stage was set for the Ukrainians to battle the Poles to decide if the reigning champions would leave the defense of their crown here or continue it into the playoffs.

ImageESC took a 9:6 first half as CT on tuscan and switching over to the terrorist side, which is heavily favoured on that map, the Poles got all the way up to 14:11. Na`Vi were a single round from elimination, since even a tie would not be enough to get them into the playoffs. Taking a page of ESC's own book, as seen in their deciding WCG final map battle back on CT side from 11:12, Na`Vi came up with clutch CT round after clutch CT round.

When they sealed the map on the final round of the game they had won five CT rounds in a row, remained in the playoffs and celebrated the victory with a racous display one would expect from the winners of the tournament. The Ukrainians knew that if they were to go on and win the tournament this moment in some ways might still have been their most crucial game, strange as it may sound.

The lucky ducks reborn

Na`Vi has struggled with group stages often, just squeaking out and then ramping up their play steadily in the playoffs to make a push for the title. The manner in which they escaped this one, though, reminds me of the fnatic teams which would so frequently dig a huge hole in the group stage and then find the only way out, albeit it Na`Vi didn't need some unlikely result from another team to boot.

The Ukrainian team now goes through in second place and cannot face SK Gaming until either the final or the third place decider, depending on how both teams do. They will play the third place team from Group B.

(Photographs courtesy of fragbite and their respective owners)



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