Author: Steve Perry

ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Grand Finals – Fnatic vs. Natus Vincere

It was a long and difficult road for both Fnatic and Natus Vincere in Season 2 of the ESL ESEA Pro League, but ultimately both teams would secure places in the grand finals following four days of some of the stiffest CS:GO competition with 8 of Europe and North America’s best teams. But after a final series that was just as action-packed as the entire season, it would be Fnatic who would capture the championship for the second time in a row.

Both Fnatic and Na’Vi would take similar paths to the finals, forced to play decider matches against Team Liquid and Luminosity Gaming respectively just to earn a spot in the semi-finals. It was there that Fnatic would defeat ? (formerly TSM) and Na’Vi would defeat Team EnVyUs in 2-0 series. These identical paths would show exactly why Fnatic and Na’Vi were entitled to a finals spot and precisely why the Best-of-5 series would go the distance.

Map 1 – Inferno

Following such a mirrored path to the finals, it wasn’t very surprising that Fnatic and Na’Vi would split the first 4 rounds with Fnatic on the T-side. Na’Vi would find their footing shortly thereafter, forcing Fnatic into a round 6 eco round, taking 6 rounds in a row to emerge to an early 7-2 lead. Fnatic would end the streak in round 10, but Na’Vi would come back aggressively to pick up another 5 rounds in a row on the back of a round-ending knife kill by seized and some MVP-level play by flamie to end the first half 12-3.

With the swap, Fnatic would see their game turn around completely. Holding off Na’Vi with skilled defense to win the clock battle, Fnatic would begin the economic tilt and take six rounds in a row before Na’Vi would successfully plant the bomb in round 23 to get within two wins of taking the match. After a third round loss due to poor clock management, Fnatic would punish Na’Vi’s aggression throughout the rest of the match and complete an amazing comeback 16-14 to take Game 1.

1st Half 2nd Half
Rd Winner Winner
1 Fnatic Na’Vi
2 Na’Vi Fnatic
3 Fnatic Fnatic
4 Na’Vi Fnatic
5 Na’Vi Fnatic
6 Na’Vi Fnatic
7 Na’Vi Fnatic
8 Na’Vi Na’Vi
9 Na’Vi Fnatic
10 Fnatic Fnatic
11 Na’Vi Fnatic
12 Na’Vi Fnatic
13 Na’Vi Fnatic
14 Na’Vi Fnatic
15 Na’Vi Fnatic
12-3 14-16

Map 2 – Dust 2

Carrying the momentum from Game 1, Fnatic would start things off with a bang as flusha would nearly pick up the Ace with 4 kills in round 1, ultimately resulting in a 7-1 clock-cleaning before the first pause. With an opportunity to clear their heads, Na’Vi would begin to find their footing, scoring a few rounds in the first half to try and close the gap going into the swap, ending the first half 6-9.

The second half would tilt heavily to Na’Vi in the early rounds, their aggressive play being rewarded by 10 consecutive wins across both halves for a 9-12 recovery before Fnatic could claim a round. Ultimately, a strong recovery for Fnatic would result in a tied match late into the half, 14-14 as round 29 kicked off. Despite Na’Vi’s best efforts, Fnatic would wrap the map up with two back-to-back wins to extend their series lead to 2-0 and come within one of winning the grand finals.

1st Half 2nd Half
Rd Winner Winner
1 Fnatic Na’Vi
2 Fnatic Na’Vi
3 Fnatic Na’Vi
4 Na’Vi Na’Vi
5 Fnatic Na’Vi
6 Fnatic Na’vi
7 Fnatic Fnatic
8 Fnatic Fnatic
9 Na’Vi Na’Vi
10 Fnatic Fnatic
11 Fnatic Fnatic
12 Na’Vi Fnatic
13 Na’Vi Na’Vi
14 Na’Vi Fnatic
15 Na’Vi Fnatic
9-6 16-14

Map 3 – Mirage

It seemed as though Fnatic would ride off of their late-game win from Map 2, but the momentum would be shut down after only three wins as Na’Vi would begin an absolute tear, scoring 12 wins in a row to shut out the half in amazing fashion. Fnatic would also struggle to shut down them down as the second half kicked off, GuardiaN opening things up with a 4-kill first round as Na’Vi takes to T-side. Na’Vi would push to match point by round 20, but Fnatic would hold on for a few rounds longer. The comeback wasn’t meant to be for a third time in a row and Na’Vi would get back into this series with a large 16-6 win.
1st Half 2nd Half
Rd Winner Winner
1 Fnatic Na’Vi
2 Fnatic Na’Vi
3 Fnatic Fnatic
4 Na’Vi Na’Vi
5 Na’Vi Fnatic
6 Na’Vi Fnatic
7 Na’Vi Na’Vi
8 Na’Vi
9 Na’Vi
10 Na’Vi
11 Na’Vi
12 Na’Vi
13 Na’Vi
14 Na’Vi
15 Na’Vi
12-3 16-6

Map 4 – Train

A strong 3-1 start to the first half for Fnatic on T-side put Na’Vi on the economic back foot, allowing the Terrorist side to run roughshod over Na’Vi despite a late 6th round attack by GuardiaN to cost Fnatic some cash. However, an intense 7th round 1v1 battle kept momentum alive for Fnatic as flusha proved to be a dangerous man. Na’Vi began their recovery thanks to some skilled AWP play by seized and GuardiaN, but played with a very thin wallet throughout the later part of the half. Ultimately, the half would end in Fnatic’s favor 10-5, dominating the economy and controlling the map in convincing fashion.

The start of the second half would look good for Na’Vi, with patience and composure being the name of the game as they’d take 3 of the first 4 rounds. Fnatic would continue to be forced into less-than-optimal buy situations, allowing Na’Vi to tie the match up in round 22 following a clever fake that lured Fnatic to the B Bombsite after a plant at A. Fnatic would interrupt Natus Vincere’s win streak after 6 rounds, picking up 3 rounds to get within 2 points of the championship, but Na’Vi would swiftly close the gap and tie the half at 14-14. Because of the late-game economic scenario, Fnatic would be unable to recover and Na’Vi would tie the series at 2 maps a piece as we took this series – unsurprisingly – to the 5th map.

1st Half 2nd Half
Rd Winner Winner
1 Fnatic Fnatic
2 Na’vi Na’Vi
3 Fnatic Na’Vi
4 Fnatic Na’Vi
5 Fnatic Na’Vi
6 Fnatic Na’vi
7 Fnatic Na’Vi
8 Na’Vi Fnatic
9 Na’Vi Fnatic
10 Na’Vi Fnatic
11 Na’Vi Na’Vi
12 Fnatic Na’Vi
13 Fnatic Na’Vi
14 Fnatic Na’Vi
15 Fnatic Na’Vi
5-10 16-14

Map 5 – Cobblestone

It would be a crushing start for Fnatic, taking 3 of the first 4 rounds and setting a massive econ advantage heading toward the middle of the half and forcing Na’Vi to buy but still preventing more than one win before the first pause. Fnatic’s 7-round win streak would come to an end as Na’Vi would enter round 9 with a rush toward A which Fnatic was unable to contend with, and Na’Vi would counter their opponent’s sizeable bank to take five rounds in a row. Fnatic would stop the bleeding and manage to own the advantage, taking a clutch win courtesy of dennismeister, finishing the first half 9-6.

The second half of the match was entirely in Fnatic’s back pocket as the Season 1 champions would streamroll their competition, taking Na’Vi out in 7 straight rounds to win the map and win the grand finals and capture the $100,000 grand prize!

1st Half 2nd Half
Rd Winner Winner
1 Na’Vi Fnatic
2 Fnatic Fnatic
3 Fnatic Fnatic
4 Fnatic Fnatic
5 Fnatic Fnatic
6 Fnatic Fnatic
7 Fnatic Fnatic
8 Fnatic
9 Na’Vi
10 Na’Vi
11 Na’Vi
12 Na’Vi
13 Na’Vi
14 Fnatic
15 Fnatic
9-6 16-6

There’s very little surprise in the fact that Fnatic and Natus Vincere has a grand finals that went the full distance, nor was it surprising that three of the five games were decided by two games. Fnatic proved, for the second season in a row, that they are a force to be reckoned with and Na’Vi clearly demonstrated that they are more than capable of becoming champions. What will the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 3 show us? There’s no way to tell, but if it’s even half as exciting as Season 2, we’ll all be in for a real treat!

Congratulations to Fnatic kKrimz, JWonderchild, olofmeister, flusha, and dennismeister on their ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Championship!

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