Virtus.pro took down the #1 team in the region, Natus Vincere, in impressive fashion in their third IEM New York CIS group stage match. Dzhami “Jame” Ali‘s team had solid leads going into the second halves of both Inferno and Overpass, and denied the comeback attempts from Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy‘s troops to close it 2-0.
Ahead of the game, the CIS rivals played just two matches against each other this year, with one win on each side’s tally. Ranking-wise big underdogs, Virtus.pro (#27) proved too much to handle for Natus Vincere (#3), securing their biggest win since the return of Timur “buster” Tulepov to the lineup.
With three wins from three matches and forZe and Cyber Legacy left to play, Virtus.pro seem like a lock-in for the playoffs of the CIS RMR event, but will hope to go flawless and confirm the semi-final spot.
A 2-0 start for Natus Vincere on Inferno was quickly turned over by Virtus.pro, who built their success on Banana dominance. The score was 7-3 in the favor of the CIS mixture when Jame clutched a 1v3 on B, but qikert was the brightest star as Virtus.pro took a 10-5 half time lead.
Natus Vincere shrugged off the mid aggression in the second half pistol and started their comeback as T, but weren’t able to catch up. At 11-10, Virtus.pro tied two key rounds together and closed out the map after an unfortunately timed Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev techical issue, 16-11.
Overpass, the pick of Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov and co., followed a similar pattern early on, as Natus Vincere‘s good opening were cancelled out by Virtus.pro on the rifle rounds. At 6-4, Jame and qikert turned around a 2v4 to push their team forward, finishing the CT half 9-6.
A second-round force-buy enabled the comeback of Natus Vincere, winning six out of the first eight rounds, but losing another big advantage, this time a 5v2, spelled disaster for the Russian-Ukranian squad (13-12). Virtus.pro were near perfect from that point onward, closing out the series after Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev‘s ninth multikill of the map, 16-13.