Natus Vincere continue their strong start to the season, securing yet another spot at a Minor LAN tournament after taking down Team Empire 2-1 in the finals of the PGL CIS Qualifiers.
PGL CIS Qualifiers Recap
Fresh off of their Top 6 finish at The International 7 and with their lineup fully intact, Virtus.Pro were easily the heavy favourites to represent the CIS region at the PGL Open Bucharest Minor.
Nobody told Team Empire that though.
Team Empire 2:0 VP
— Team Empire (@team_empire) September 20, 2017
Usually the aggressors, the back-to-back Summit champions were instead the ones caught off-guard by Team Empire in Game 1 as they proceeded to lose in just ~26 minutes. Although Virtus.Pro were better prepared the next game and seemed poised early on to force out a Game 3. However, Team Empire stuck to their gameplan and outmanoeuvred Virtus.Pro late in the game to close out the series.
This set up a finals matchup between them and Natus Vincere, who had eliminated Vega Squadron 2-0 earlier in a series that was much closer than it seemed.
The two storied CIS organisations had already met during the group stages where Natus Vincere scored an epic comeback in their first game before taking Game 2 to finish the group stages undefeated.
In Game 1, Team Empire had seemingly learned from their earlier mistakes as they scored a win despite Navi’s best efforts to stall the game. However, Navi would strike back in Game 2 with their offlaner Victor ‘GeneRaL’ Nigrini continuing to make a strong case for why teams should start banning Clockwerk against them.
Natus Vincere then went on to win the series clincher on the backs of Danil ‘Dendi’ Ishutin. His clutch pickup of two Divine Rapiers on his Lina proved instrumental in Navi winning the PGL CIS Qualifiers after playing roughly 10 hours worth of competitive matches in a single day.
Navi is Back (???)
Natus Vincere is the only team ever to make it to the TI grand finals more than once. However, they have failed to finish any higher than 8th place since TI4. They also finished last at TI5 and TI6. Although last season was their worst year so far competitively; they failed to win a single LAN title. Even worse, they failed to qualify for a TI for the first time in the organisation’s history.
Natus Vincere have since made huge changes to their roster.
Natus Vincere then took their time announcing their newest roster and when they did, it was initially met with much criticism. In particular, many expressed doubt with the team’s decision to sign the relatively unknown player, Vladislav ‘Crystallize’ Krystanek.
So far, Crystallize‘s performances have done a good job proving his doubters wrong.
Natus Vincere will have a chance to secure even more qualifiers in the coming weeks ahead.
What do you think of Natus Vincere’s performance so far? Will this year be the year that the black and yellow finally returns to prominence? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.