The conclusion to the CS:GO season is here with the IEM Cologne Final. G2 and Na’Vi are one series away from one of the biggest titles yet.

The IEM Cologne Finals are upon us after G2 rose above their 3rd/4th woes to lock in their first final alongside Nikola “NiKo” Kovac and Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev’s Natus Vincere halted the dream run from the FaZe Clan. Two of the best team’s clash for the first LAN title in over a year of online play.

G2 Hold on Against Astralis

Astralis have fallen from becoming feared by the world to becoming its underdogs after the loss of Nicolai “device” Reedtz took a massive toll on the Danish system. However, IEM Cologne showcased a new face of the Astralis brand. Like a wounded wolf, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander fended his organization’s honor and ground down the resilient Virtus.Pro and hoped to do the same to the red-hot G2 lineup.

Astralis’ pick of Nuke found a stark contrast to their bout against VP where Francois “AmaNEk” Delaunay’s AWP completely overwhelmed the Danish veterans. The T-side constantly stumbled and G2 capitalized through and through. A dominant 16-6 on the first map found the international roster in pole position to close out the series with their Dust 2 waiting in the wings. Little did they know of the tribulations that still awaited them.

Nexa remained stoic on Nuke. (Photo courtesy of ESL)

Like a team possessed, Astralis hungrily biffed back on Dust 2. An unsatisfactory T-side from G2 found the Danish roster back into cruise control and began showing glimpses of their former selves when it counted. Gla1ve’s AWP found significant impact alongside Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen and Emil “Magisk” Reif steady frags on the rifles. Inferno was all that was standing between an incredible collapse from the G2 side and yet another historic upset from the Astralis camp.

Unlike the first two maps, Inferno was an exciting back and forth affair. A tight 8-7 half slightly in the favor of G2 had the brunt of the pressure firmly resting on the European squad to clutch out a difficult half. Nemanja “huNter” Kovac kicked it into high gear when it mattered and brought significant clutches alongside his cousin NiKo to finally break the unwavering Astralis and finally setup their bout against Natus Vincere in the IEM Cologne Final.

S1mple’s IEM Cologne Dominance Continues

FaZe Clan had a terrific IEM Cologne. Headstrong bouts against Vitality, Spirit, and Heroic, the limits for the international squad seemed sky high. Their upset over Gambit in the quarterfinals changed everything. A stunning 2-0 shifted the narrative dramatically for the bottom semifinal and Natus Vincere were now under the chopping block to deliver. Unfortunately for Finn “karrigan” Andersen, they did more than deliver, they dominated.

It was the s1mple show throughout Inferno, where the Ukrainian star refused to miss against any opposing FaZe Clan member and left karrigan’s men dumbfounded throughout their T-side campaign. The bloodlust in his eyes did not stop there. His second half had the AK-47 in his arsenal spring to life and completely stole away any chances for another FaZe CT-sided comeback. The best map for FaZe’s stars still lied in Mirage but it simply did not matter to s1mple.

S1mple’s onslaught continues. (Photo courtesy of ESL)

Starting on the more difficult side of Mirage, Natus Vincere continued their chokehold on the international roster albeit some bumps in the road spawned by karrigan and Havard “rain” Nygaard. It began to turn into Denis “electronic” Sharapov’s time to shine and continued to solidify his return to LAN glory alongside his dynamic Ukrainian superstar. 16-7 on both maps now leads the CIS titans a clear path to yet another IEM Cologne title.

The Rematch of the Year

More than one year ago, the last LAN tournament for quite some time concluded in Poland. IEM Katowice found Natus Vincere take the title over a Kenny “kennyS” Schrub led G2 in a comfortable 3-0 fashion. Now, with NiKo taking the French veteran’s position, the internationally renowned organization is tasked with an even more fearsome of a CIS roster before them.

Electronic, B1t, and most importantly s1mple, have torn up the competition in Germany. The clear favorites to win their second IEM Cologne, how will Na’Vi fare against the consistent G2? Will it be more of the same dominance they showcased over the FaZe Clan? Or will the Kovac cousins fire back with their Bosnian fury?

Catch the thrilling IEM Cologne Final on ESL’s Twitch tomorrow and make sure to stick around to esports.gg for more recaps and highlights afterwards. Featured Image courtesy of ESL.

Anirudh Ajay -

Anirudh Ajay

| Twitter: @DatPaladin

Anirudh "Paladin" Ajay has been a passionate CS:GO fan since its inception. Writing about team analysis, crafting story-lines, and breaking news are at the forefront of his content. Anirudh has previously written for ESL, DreamHack, thegamehaus, and his own blog paladinsalliance.com.