Na’Vi’s victory at ESL Pro League Season 14 looked highly likely from day 1. The CIS squad had the best player in the world in its roster, was ranked as the number 1 team in the world, had won the title at IEM Cologne and its only real adversary seemed to be Gambit. However, during the tournament, it became obvious that it wasn’t going to be easy to win the EPL S14 and the Intel Grand Slam.
EPL Season 14 Results
ESL Pro League Season 14 started well for Na’Vi. Despite being in the same group with strong competitors like FaZe Clan, mousesports, BIG, and Fnatic, it managed to win the first 2 matches without losing a single map and then won 2 more matches out of the final 3. The only competitor that bested s1mple was BIG, which unfortunately ended up not qualifying for the Playoffs.
In the Playoffs, Na’Vi started with a demolition match against ENCE. The dispute not only ended after the first two maps, s1mple didn’t have time to warm up, as ENCE won just 7 rounds in total.
The second Playoffs match was a thriller. On every map, the difference was made by tiny errors or perhaps even luck. Na’Vi won on Mirage (16 – 14), Heroic won on Overpass (16 – 13), and then Na’Vi won again on their strongest map in the pool: Nuke (16 – 14). Apart from the fact that the final score was extremely close on every single map, the half-time score was the same. The two competitors went head to head the entire match and weren’t able to put a significant round distance between themselves and their opponent until the very end.
With this victory, Na’Vi qualified for the Grand Final. But its opponent was neither Gambit (eliminated in the Quarterfinals), nor OG (eliminated in the Semifinals). Instead, it was Vitality. The French squad hadn’t played in the Grand Final of an important event all year. ZywOo was eager to add another trophy to his collection and came very close to causing a massive upset.
The two teams took map wins in succession. Each time, one of them won in a dominant fashion. Na’Vi won on Dust II (16 – 10) and Nuke (16 – 11), while Vitality won on Inferno (16 – 6) and Overpass (16 – 7). Because of how dominant Vitality’s wins were, ahead of Mirage everyone was worried for Na’Vi. But their training, extensive experience, and high win rate on this map (13 W – 4 L) proved to be just enough to give them the victory. The final score was 16 – 14.
s1mple Won the EPL Season 14 MVP Award
With spectacular performances in almost every match, s1mple distinguished himself once again and claimed the MVP award of the tournament. Given his results in 2021, I think we already know who will win the CS:GO Player of the Year award this season.
Na’Vi Wins the Intel Grand Slam
Because of its impressive string of victories in 2021, Na’Vi also won the Intel Grand Slam, which means it will receive $1 million for its great performance. There are only 2 other teams that managed to win this prestigious trophy: Astralis and Team Liquid.