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Published: February 6, 2023

Written by: Isabella Aslam

  • NaVi defeats Liquid in a hard-fought 2-0 match
  • Liquid is now sent to the lower bracket of the event
  • The match was decided on the second map’s overtime

NaVi proved it is back in strength after triumphing 2-0 in a tough match against Liquid at the upper bracket semi-final of Group A of IEM Katowice.

NaVi Defeats Liquid

We are nearing the IEM Katowice playoffs, and Natus Vincere is one of the organizations that will compete in them after defeating Liquid. With a 2-0 win against their North American opponents, NaVi once again proved the strength of European rosters. 

This victory is the first time the Ukrainian team has beaten Liquid in a best-of-three in almost exactly a year, their last victory against Liquid being at the BLAST Premier Spring Groups 2022. This also marks NaVi’s revenge against Luquid, who proved more than troublesome for the Ukrainians during 2022. 

NaVi’s next hurdle to overcome is to see if they will start their run in the arena from the semi-finals or quarter-finals. This will be decided after the Ukrainian team faces G2 on Tuesday, in the upper bracket final to decide where their playoff run will commence.

Meanwhile, Liquid will have a tougher time trying to remain in the tournament. The team will have to face the likes of FaZe, Cloud9, Spirit, and IHC, in the lower bracket if they want to continue forward. Only one team could advance to the next stage and Liquid will have to start that climb by first facing Spirit on Monday evening. 

How Did the Game Go?

Nuid’s encounter started off with the former absolutely dominating the latter on Inferno. The North American team just could not find an answer to Natus Vincere’s T side for much of the first half with any opening kills Liquid made being immediately squandered. s1mple, Ilya “?Perfecto?” Zalutskiy, and Valeriy “?b1t?” Vakhovskiy worked together to help NaVi achieve a humongous 12-3 lead. 

This trend continued as the sides swapped, with Liquid managing to get a pistol round and another one, but that was not enough to turn the tides. Liquid’s poor performance led to a devastating 16-5 loss at Inferno, with the team hoping it could do better on the next map.

And that they did, waking up after the shock from Inferno, Liquid’s Mareks “?YEKINDAR?” Galinskis was crucial in the team’s comeback on Anubis. In fact, the North Americans were so pumped up that they managed to win five rounds before NaVi could finally put the breaks on the train thanks to multi-kills from Denis “?electroNic?” Sharipov. This helped the Ukrainians to pull briefly ahead 6-5.

However, an amazing 1vs3 ace by YEKINDAR allowed Liquid to regain control. With further multi-kill rounds from the Latvian, Liquid was able to get a small yet stable 9-6 lead against NaVi by the time the sides swapped. 

The North Americans managed to maintain this momentum after the break, winning the second pistol round and ensuing anti-eco to extend their lead to 11-6. NaVi finally won a round, but Liquid responded with two more, bringing the score up to 13-7.

With the game being dangerously on the balance, s1mple, electroNic, and b1t once again activated and quickly started to gain rounds. YEKINDAR, oSee, and NAF? responded to the challenge, and a bitter back and forth between the teams ensued. Ultimately, the match was decided when Liquid forced an overtime, which NaVi managed to win, ending Anubis on a 19-17.With a 2-0 hard-fought victory over the North American squad, NaVi continues forward, proving s1mple’s words that his team is back, after the war in Ukraine negatively impacted NaVi last year.

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