Natus Vincere vs mTw
The nightmares of 2010...
mTw probably had nightmares last year whenever they heard Na'vi or maybe even when they watched Avatar, because Na'vi won all seven of their encounters in 2010. It began at last years IEM finals and continued at Arbalet Cup Europe with two more losses that eliminated mTw from the tournament. Next was ESWC where Na'vi eliminated mTw in the semi-finals with a 2-1 score. Arbalet Dallas was the closest mTw came to Na'vi last year as they lost after overtimes on both maps. Na'vi kept on getting important wins over mTw, the next one at World Cyber Games where mTw came close again but Na'vi took them down 2-1 again. Their seventh defeat against the Ukrainian champions came at DreamHack where they already had Arcadion and it was a 2-0 seemingly easy win for Na'vi. After you look at these results you have to think Na'vi are some kind of mTw's Achilles heel, specially considering most of the maps they played Na'vi won by a big margin.
Ready to face the Boogie-man?
But this is not the mTw of 2010 and it's not the same mTw that had "hopes" of winning Dreamhack. It's a determined mTw side, hungry of titles and a different beast alltogether. They looked very good at the European Finals where they took down Frag Executors in the semi-finals in an epic match and later on looked surely to win the final. But they let fnatic back in and lost 2-1 in the end.
They cruised trough their group here giving away only thirteen rounds before the complexity match which had no importance to them. Everyone on their team played amazing, trace playing like a monster, specially against the polish side Frag Executors in a match which they won 16-3. They look fresh with Arcadion in their lineup and ready to face their nightmares. They'll also be fired up to take down the defending champions and book themselves a place in the final.
Defending their crown
Natus Vincere the team 2010 and the IEM defending champions will face their first real test in the playoffs. They met mTw on many occasions last year. You could almost say mTw brought them luck, as every tournament where they eliminated them except Arbalet Europe, they managed to win in the end.
Na'Vi didn't have the best of starts to 2011 though, with only a 4th place at European Finals which was hosted at their doorstep in Kiev and which they entered as heavy favourites. Na'vi lost to some teams you thought they never would but in the end still placed 4th and gave the European Champions fnatic a tough time in their BO3. You could see when they get their momentum rolling they're still VERY dangerous. In the next weeks they were preparing heavily not playing events at home and generally not giving out any strats, which proves Na'vi are still hungry to win new trophies and defend the old ones. Their task won't be an easy one.
Na'Vi's road to the semis
Their start to the the World Finals wasn't the cleanest one too. They took down the underdogs in their group in their first two matches, but suffered a loss to swedish team Lions. They looked in dire straits against SK on de_train being 12-3 down after the first half. Some good old Na'vi de_train defense and some sloppines from SK brought them in a striking distance of winning the map but in the end it was a tie. This meant Na'vi had to win their last match against fnatic or they would face a premature elimination. It wasn't to be though, as we again saw how good the Ukrainians can be when they took down fnatic convincingly when it really mattered. That meant they qualified as 2nd from their group behind SK and had to play a relegation match to reach the semi-finals. Few doubted that Na'vi will take down the Brazilian team of complexity and those who that have were proven wrong as the defending champions didn't let the match in doubt for a second. They took down complexity 2-0 in a match that never looked close and looked even more like the unstoppable team of last year.
Are champions up to the task?
They certainly can be as they seemed to thrive under the pressure that they put themselves under in the groupstages and proved they're still on of the best in the world. They've taken down the European champions fnatic when it mattered and they looked scary while doing it. There were glimpses of that Na'Vi that teams just didn't have hope of taking down because they were hitting or clutching everything possible. And that's the kind of Na'vi everyone wants to see face mTw in the semi-finals tomorrow which promises us a great match between these two top teams. But from the form we've seen these two teams play at this tournament a lot will come down to Na'Vi's momentum. If they start of strong, hit their shots and cheer themselves they can gain that killer momentum that won them so many titles. But mTw look stronger then they did for a very long time, I'd say probably since their era of dominance with sunde, mJE and whiMp. That means Na'Vi will have to come out with all their guns firing if they want to stop the Danes from taking revenge for all those painful losses in 2010. mTw can of course also have a drop in their form but if they'll play close to how they played in the groupstages or in the match against Frag Executors this will be a massive task even for Na'Vi.
Possible outcomes and my prediction
Natus Vincere will have to up their game and ride on the momentum like only they can if they want to take down mTw this time. And if they do this will probably be a final before the final and an unforgettable match that will go down in cs history. I think mTw right now are too consistent and in form that they'll let Na'vi clean them up like they did in their encounters last year, but we've seen all kinds of crazy thing from Na'Vi and even that cannot be ruled out. It can also happen the other way around with the display mTw has been showing, where they just don't let teams get in the match no matter how good they are or what they try. I think this will be a close match and one to remember with mTw coming out on top, because they are the stronger team right now, pardon me the strongest team right now. The only thing they need to do is prove that tomorrow,break the Na'Vi curse and book themselves a place in the final where they in my eyes will again be considered favorites. Share your opinions...
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