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Tactical Recap of NaVi vs ENCE - Semifinal of PGL Major Antwerp

21.05.2022, 20:43

World Number 2 clashed with World Number 3 to get a chance to play World Number 1 in the Grand Finals. Natus Vincere put in a scarily vintage performance against ENCE to defeat them 2-0 and send them packing.

PGL Antwerp 2022Belgium, Antwerp, Antwerps Sportpaleis
$1,000,000Prize Pool
FaZe Clan
Natus Vincere
2nd Place
3rd Place

The map picks were a little unpredictable. ENCE picked Nuke, despite the fact that NaVi had battered Heroic on it, and instead of a surprise win, ENCE’s fate was even worse. NaVi picked Dust 2, instead of Ancient or Mirage. They picked the OG CS map despite not having played it in a long time.

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Complexity Gaming 4.52
Astralis 1.20

Unlike the Heroic game, this was a match with a map pool heavily favouring NaVi. In the end, everything did work out in the favor of the Ukrainians, as they stomped ENCE on both maps to progress into the Grand Final.

Let’s have a tactical look at how things transpired on the server in this iconic, and historic, matchup.


Nuke – the home of two beasts

ENCE picked Nuke, their strongest map. The fact that NaVi blew away Heroic in the Quarterfinals on Nuke didn’t deter them from playing on the power plant.

The early forcebuy wars went NaVi’s way, as they took a 4-1 lead after winning the pistol. ENCE slowed down the game a little and tried to run a couple of early-round tricks, like sending maden deep to catch s1mple off guard near CT spawn. ENCE were also checking their corners diligently, and by that I mean they were looking out for electronic Outside.

Despite that, forcebuy Upper rushes were the only way ENCE were able to post some numbers of the scoreboard. Their T strats were failing, and Snappi had to change that. After calling some timeouts, they tried to get back into the game. In the 12th round, Snappi caught electronic off guard coming out of Mini and two ENCE guys literally walked out Squeaky and silently killed both Perfecto and Boombl4. Smells like strong homework.

But NaVi still prevailed dominantly. A solid 11-4 CT-sided first half meant ENCE had to work even harder on theirs, and possibly even consult zonic.

Much like NaVi, ENCE’s CT side is their strong suit. NaVi knew this and to maintain their economy early on, they faked Upper, drew rotations, and then planted the bomb in Lower many times. The bomb plant cash was necessary for them to stay in contention with the ever-so-strong European defense.

NaVi took their time to study ENCE’s defense. After having their lead cut from 11-4 to 11-7, they finally responded with a Lower hit. They did not throw their outside Smokes, though. They knew ENCE wouldn’t have anyone Heaven or Mini. In the next few rounds, NaVi constantly played different systems to keep themselves unpredictable, and thanks to the weak buys from ENCE amidst the 5-round lead, NaVi didn’t have to open their playbook too much.

s1mple started his warmup as well, getting 28 kills. Three NaVi players had 100+ ADR, and hades and Snappi couldn’t get a single opening kill. Stats like this easily tell a good chunk of the story on that map.

One of the most interesting things about ENCE is how extremely good they are on force buys or even armourless pistols. They won’t win perhaps but they always take 2-3 heads with them, thanks to their positioning and teamwork. They play the economy game perfectly.

It was time for ENCE to shrug off that loss and go play on the dusty lands.

Dust 2 – A Dusty Trip to the Grand Finals

NaVi made this surprise pick of Dust 2. The last time they had played this map was in the Quarterfinal loss to FaZe in the ESL Pro League. NaVi knew how ENCE plays Dust 2 and that made this map potent for the Ukrainians because ENCE knew nothing of how NaVi play it.

NaVi started on their T side, hoping to get as many rounds as they can against the stubborn CT side of ENCE. Mid control was quite necessary for NaVi, by the looks of it.

ENCE won the pistol and converted the following two, but after that 3-0 lead, NaVi ran their strats. To be honest, they weren’t extremely successful. NaVi had to rely on individual prowess like b1t’s 1v3 clutch or s1mple’s 2 Deag kills to get some rounds on the board. It was a very close affair, and the rounds went back and forth constantly. Soon enough, it was 6-6, and NaVi had practically bagged the Semifinal win, since 6 rounds on the T side is pretty damn enough. Regardless, NaVi won the T half 9-6.

NaVi won the pistol cleanly and converted the following two, extending their lead to 12-6. In the gun round, ENCE forced NaVi into an emergency setup of two at Car, and you know how it went. The element of surprise bought them 3 kills, and the game looked like it was as good as done.

NaVi reached 15-7 but ENCE was in no mood of going home without a final fight. They posted some great T rounds thanks to some beautiful utility usage on the B site, and pushed the game to 15-12. Eventually, NaVi took their second tac timeout and ended up closing it in the depths of the map. NaVi closed the map 16-12, and oh god, isn’t NaVi scary after a timeout?

Yesterday, s1mple said that he needed to step up, and today he did. 28 kills on Nuke and 30 kills on Dust 2 meant the Ukrainian is coming into this stride to take home another Major MVP. You ought to be scared if the best player in the world is singing a song in front of the crowd during an interview.

Though there was a hiccup by the end of Dust 2, it still was a devastating showing from NaVi. karrigan must prepare his troops very strongly. He’s on the cusp of losing yet another Major Grand Final.

A legendary storm is rising in the East, and FaZe Clan might end up becoming their final victim.

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