The stage was set, but as the teams took to that stage, no one was ready for the hard hitting quality 7 hours of Counter Strike they were about to witness.
After all was said and done, and there was plenty of both of that, it was FaZe that emerged from the battlefield scarred & bloodied, but lifting high the trophy that had eluded FaZe clan ever year up to this point. The IEM Cologne Grand Final also served as the final match of the season, before players go in to the Summer Holiday period lasting until mid-August. Both teams decided that if it was to be the last match of the season, they were going to make it the best dang match of the season they could. Across all five maps that were possible in the best-of-five match, all but one match finished with both teams over 10 rounds, there were no easy maps here for either team. Inferno was up first, where Natus showed up on form and firing on all cylinders, although at the half way point, at 9:6, FaZe activated themselves too, giving NaVi just 4 more rounds to their own ten, to take it 16:13. Next up Overpass, which proved to be a near mirror of the first, this time 16:13 towards the CIS team. Next up to the post was Ancient, the only map that went into overtime, and it took just one of them for Natus to continue their dominance in the match and snatch that map 19:16 away from the European FaZe. It was starting to look a little on the dodgy side for FaZe, however as it turned out all they needed was the extended break that occurred between maps 3 & 4 for them to reset and work out a plan, or perhaps it just put the brakes on the CIS train. Either way, going forwards the entry fragging duo of Karrigan & rain were able to pick up the pace and won the final two maps, Mirage (16:9) & Nuke (16:14), with plenty of assists from the rest of the team, ropz, broky & Twistzz all coming together at the exact right moments to produce well-needed numbers. At the end of the match, broky had picked up the highest kills of the match at 115, with electroNic (113) & rain (110) coming second and third.
For Natus Vincere, they'll sure be proud of what they achieved, as general consensus amongst fan comments & compliments after the final they had just been involved in one of the best matches of professional Counter-Strike seen to date, and they came so close to winning, they do however go home with $180,000 for coming second and s1mple was award the tournaments MVP, compliments of ESL & DHL. The Natus Vincere stalwart went on to state that this may have been 'the hardest final' he'd taken part in, which is nothing but undoubtedly one of the highest forms of compliment for everyone at FaZe.
Top tier CS:GO is now essentially on pause, whilst the summer break goes on. Ending on the 14th August, the teams will jump straight into BLAST Premier Fall Groups. FaZe & Natus will immediately come together once again at that event, so will any grudge matches be on the cards? They'll also be joined by Vitality, G2, Liquid, Complexity, BIG, NIP, G2, Heroic, OG, Astralis, Evil Geniuses & Liquid. So be sure to stay tuned, and we'll be back with updates when it all kicks off again! In the meantime, some lower tier events will continue within Counter Strike Esports.