Natus Vincere are the first MLG Columbus grand finalists as they have just came out on top of their semi-final versus Astralis 2-0 (de_inferno 16-14, de_dust2 16-5).
Day five at MLG Columbus continued with the first semi-final between Astralis and Natus Vincere, starting on the former’s pick, de_inferno. It was the latter who kicked it off the better however, as they got up to 5-0 after the pistol and the first gunround, where they conserved grenades to force the Danes on a low timer.
Two perfect A executes worked out well for the Astralis squad, who picked up their third and fourth round once they delivered a fake based on the previous strategy. A triple by Nicolai “device” Reedtz pushed it to an even 5-5 before Egor “flamie” Vasilyev and Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev regained the lead after winning a 3-on-5 situation. Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács kept getting shut down by the opposing AWPer however, which helped the Danish lineup push it to 8-6 in their favor before a strong defence on the B bombsite gave Na`Vi the last round. The beginning of the second half saw a similar start play out, as Natus Vincere got five out of six rounds much thanks to Kovács’s clutch triple. A clean defence on A and a 3-on-3 retake on B helped Astralis claw it back to 12-11, but more great play from Sukhariev meant his team would go on to take the 14th round. Three rounds in a row for Astralis made it seem like they’d be able to take match point first, but a buy worth of only a single rifle somehow worked out for the CIS-based squad, who pushed on to take map one for 16-14. Denis “seized” Kostin kicked off Dust2 with a triple in a rush on short for 3-0 in his team’s favor. Natus Vincere put on an unexpected tempo as they started with a few quick executes, surprising Astralis and taking it to 6-0. Kovács and Sukhariev denied Astralis the first real chance at a round win with a couple of doubles, and not even a timeout seemed to have worked as the last major’s runner-ups made it 8-0. Finally three rounds in a row went the Danes’ way, but a crucial mistake by René “cajunb” Borg, who peeked in the last second, threw away a round, setting off another streak by Natus Vincere. This time it wasn’t stopped, even despite close situations, and the score soon showed 12-3 at halftime, at which point Astralis were staring down the barrel. Losing the pistol round didn’t help things, but losing to a forcebuy after just winning one added insult to injury, as Natus Vincere took it 16-5 in the end to make it to the grand final.
Luminosity are through to the grand final of MLG Columbus after edging past Team Liquid 2-0 (19-15 on Mirage and 19-16 on Cache).
The early stages of Mirage were played at a incredibly high pace as rounds went back and forth following insane individual actions. Luminosity opened up the game with a fast push, storming through the A site, but then Spencer “Hiko” Martin replied in the first eco round with a quad kill, taking advantage of a poor plant attempt from the Brazilians. Liquid were in for a hard reset, however, as Lincoln “fnx” Lau picked up two crucial kills with the Desert Eagle to give his team a clear route to A. Luminosity kept pressing hard and won five of the next six rounds, but then Liquid finally managed to put their foot down to hold back their South American rival, cutting the gap to 5-7 after winning three rounds in a row. Marcelo “coldzera” David put an end to Liquid’s streak with three important kills, but then the home side bagged the final two rounds to keep the deficit to a minimum. Liquid came from the break looking very strong and won the first four rounds to force Luminosity to call a timeout. After the pep talk, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo gave Luminosity a much-needed round with a quad kill inside B, but Liquid hit right back, resetting the economy of the Brazilians. Eric “adreN” Hoag’s side followed it up by winning the next five rounds to bring it to map point, and that is when insanity began. David went huge and stopped an apartment push with four kills with the AWP, including a jumping double kill, and Luminosity started picking up round after round. Liquid were crumbling under pressure, and not even a timetout at 15-13 allowed them to prevent the game from going to overtime, in which the Brazilians would string four rounds rogether to take the lead in the series.
Next up was Cache, where Liquid were in dominant form during the early stages of the game, strolling to a 4-0 lead. Luminosity were then on the brink of claiming a round but were denied by Martin, who sensationally won a 1vs4 clutch with the bomb planted. The game was already threatening to spiral out of control for Luminosity, but Toledo made sure to remind everyone that his side would not go down without a fight and won a 1vs2 clutch. Luminosity then went on a great run and brought the scoreline to 6-6, but they were unable to take the lead as Liquid managed to claim the final three rounds courtesy of Martin, who ended the half with a 24-5 score.
Liquid carried the momentum into the second half and won six rounds in a row to bring the scoreline to 15-6. Many believed that the game was about to come to a close, but it was a repeat of the first map as the North Americans were unable to apply the finishing blow. As rounds went on, Liquid spiraled into a state of disarray, and some very questionable decisions in a number of rounds allowed Luminosity to force overtime once again. Starting out on the CT side, Luminosity picked up the first two rounds of overtime before Liquid finally got one on the board, bringing an end to an 11-round winning streak from the Brazilians. But it did little in the way of stopping Luminosity, who would claim back-to-back rounds on the Terrorist side to seal a dramatic and hard-fought 2-0 victory and progress to the grand final of the Major.