Today’s Counter-Strike duel at at the IEM Katowice tournament established itself as one of the best rounds of CS:GO of the year before it even reached the halfway mark. Then it got really good.
On one side you had the established, reliable Na’Vi team: always a strong team and a challenger for a finals spot in this era of Fnatic dominance. Their opponent, Luminosity Gaming, is a fairly fresh lineup from Brazil that’s quickly emerged as a top-tier team since their underdog run to second-place at DreamHack Winter last November.
The two teams’ first battle went into double-overtime on the Overpass map (full replay is right here), and it was just one high-light reel moment after another as the two teams tested their own limits and the map’s. The second map, on Inferno, was less closely contested but was defined by the unreal, merciless play of LG captain and sniper Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo.
Early on, a pattern started to form: LG looked like the better team round-to-round, but Na’Vi appeared to have a bottomless reserve of big plays to fall back on. Like when Flamie aced the entire Luminosity squad during the pistol round.
Not that LG didn’t have their own heroes. FalleN was having a huge day from the start and just got better as play continued. Just as Na’Vi were again edging into a lead and had decimated LG at the start of a key round, FalleN outmaneuvered them and then out-gunned them.
Na’Vi were a round away from losing in regulation until a perfect grenade caught most of LG stacked up in a tunnel, which let Na’Vi’s Seized gun them all down (while on fire!) to force an overtime.
Na’Vi started pulling out all the stops to try and get an advantage over a Luminosity team that was starting to dominate. During the overtime round, they brought out two completely unexpected triple “boosts” (where one player stands on the head of another) to get a clear shot across the map at LG.
Despite the trick plays, Na’Vi couldn’t best LG in overtime and lost the map, though they’d treated viewers to one of the most wildly entertaining games of the tournament.
They could not, however, find a counter for FalleN on Inferno. It wasn’t exactly a flashy performance, though he racked up a fair share of highlights like this quartet of kills during a chaotic, messy round.
Clips like that don’t do justice to the sheer lethality of his play, however, which had him finish the map with a positive kill differential of 21. It was almost hard to watch because he seemed to kill a member of Na’Vi at the start of every round, giving LG a man-advantage for almost the entire map. Na’Vi are going to be hearing the sound of his AWP sniper rifle in their sleep tonight.
LG’s victory puts them in the CS:GO final tomorrow against the winner of Astralis - Fnatic.
Rob Zacny is a freelance writer and esports journalist. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Top photo: FalleN at DreamHack Leipzig in January, by Adela Sznajder for DreamHack. Source