StarSeries i-League Season 5 came to end this past weekend and Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev powered Natus Vincere to a dominating victory over NRG Esports in the grand finals. They navigated their way through 15 other teams that rank as the best in the world to snatch up the $125,000 prize pool after coming up short in Seasons 3 and 4.
NRG smack North to reach the grand finals
Prior to the grand finals, the North Americans of NRG went head-to-head against the Danes of North who were pummeled to the ground on Overpass, where the Danes were nowhere to be found in the 16-5 loss. However, North began to find a rhythm on their own map pick of Mirage to even the series and force the decider on Inferno. That’s where things turned sour for North, however, as they were unable to hold off NRG’s aggressive offense to be sent home short of a grand final appearance.
On the other side of the bracket, Natus Vincere also saw all three maps in their series against mousesports, with mouz coming out of the gates on Inferno, Natus Vincere’s map, controlling both halves to secure the map. From there, Na’Vi kept mouz on a leash and claimed Mirage and Nuke to clinch their slot in the grand final.
Natus Vincere swept NRG clean in the final
The grand final kicked off on Overpass, NRGs’ map pick, with a clean execution from Natus Vincere on the B-bombsite to secure the pistol. Egor “flamie” Vasilyev’s three kills in the pistol put his team up front for a dominant run to bag seven rounds in a row over the North Americans. NRG finally responded with two of their own, but a subsequent round loss severely damaged their already frail economy. However, NRG came rallying back with pistols, with Jacob “FugLy” Medina and damian “daps” Steele being the frontrunner of a miraculous comeback to settle the half with a one-round deficit 8-7.
In the second half, s1mple took charge and picked up a massive quad kill in the second pistol round to kick Natus Vincere further ahead. The Ukrainian side claimed the following anti-ecos and pressed on to never look back, and secured the Overpass win by winning eight out of nine rounds in the second half.
The series then moved on to Mirage. Denis “electronic” Sharipov opened the first half with a sensational 1-vs-3 clutch to prevent the defuse. Natus Vincere went on to secure the anti-ecos but NRG shut the door on the full gun round, thanks to a triple kill from Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov. From there, the North Americans kept their defense tight to take the lead for this first time in the series, but their hopes were soon shattered as Natus Vincere ran over the defense to secure the first half 9-6.
Natus Vincere came out of the gates red-hot in the second half to win six straight to reach championship point without a response from NRG. An ace from CeRq finally put the North Americans on the board in the second half, but it merely rattled Natus Vincere who went on to claim the title with limited buy to be crowned StarSeries i-League Season 5 champions.