ICE Challenge 2020 has come to a close this Thursday, February 6, with an exciting grand finals fixture between Mousesports and Natus Vincere. The bout was said to be a close one, but the Germans made sure it was anything but, as they decimated the CIS juggernauts 3-1 and pocketed their first LAN title of the year.
Natus Vincere and mousesports met in the grand finals of ICE Challenge earlier this Thursday, where it was all or nothing for the two CS:GO titans, who were chasing their first LAN title of the year.
The match started on mousesports-picked Dust II, where it was Natus Vincere, who got off to a flying start and claimed a 6-2 lead on T-side. From that point onwards, the CIS squad started extending their advantage but were met with the resilient mousesports, who managed to pocket five rounds by the end of the half, to keep the dream alive.
After the swap, it was mousesports who turned on their jets and won six out of the opening eight rounds to reduce the margin to 11-12. Natus Vincere hit back and won the 24th round, but were unable to keep the momentum going, as it was Finn "karrigan" Andersen and company who put up a show and won the five of the remaining six rounds to edge past Natus Vincere and win the first map of the series 16-14.
The next map on the schedule was inferno, where Karrigan's triple-kill on B site after the plant set up mousesports for a strong start, resulting in a 5-0 lead on T-side. Unfortunately for mousesports, Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev was not having it as he produced a AWP quad-kill to get his team rolling. Teams went back and forth and finished the first half three rounds apart, with mousesports holding onto a 9-6 lead.
After the swap, mousesports won the opening three rounds to claim a commanding 12-7 lead, before Natus Vincere were finally allowed a full buy. From that point onwards, the game became very messy as teams went toe-to-toe, yet it was mousesports who came out ahead, thus secured their second map of the series with the final score showing 16-8 in their favour.
After Dust II and Inferno, it was time for Natus Vincere and mousesports to enter Train, where the time has come for Natus Vincere to shine. Playing on CT-side, the CIS squad looked nearly unstoppable thanks to Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov, who helped his team earn a 5-0 lead with his perfect 10-0 KD. Despite Natus Vincere’s strong start, however, mousesports did not give in just yet and responded with four straight rounds to reduce the gap to 4-5. Unfortunately, they failed to keep their streak alive and eventually finished the half 6-9 down.
Once on CT-side, mousesports pocketed the first two rounds, but dropped the ball in the third and fourth, meaning Natus Vincere managed to retain the three-round advantage ahead of the 20th round. The European side won the next round, once more reducing the gap to two points, but eventually fell flat as they lost three in a row (9-14). The two sides split the remaining four maps, with s1mple clutching a 1v2 in the last round to win his team their first map of the series.
Being 1-2 down in the series, Natus Vincere were put in a do-or-die situation as the teams entered Nuke. Unfortunately, the fourth map of the series did not start as s1mple and co. had hoped, as they won only two rounds out of the first nine, meaning they found themselves in a 2-7 hole. Denis "electronic" Sharipov stepped up for his team and helped them reclaim two rounds, but just as Natus Vincere were set to capitalise on mousesports weak economy, they lost an eco, which eventually led to them ending the half 4-11 down.
After the swap, Natus Vincere won the first two rounds on CT-side but were unable to get it going, as karrigan's squad won four rounds in quick succession to get themselves 14-7 up. From that point onward, the two sides went back and forth, eventually leading to a 16-9 win for mousesports, who sealed the series at 3-1.
NaVi’s new signing Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy, who replaced Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács, ended the grand finals with 0.90 rating.
With a dominant performance, mousesports won the title of ICE Challenge 2020 champions and pocketed US $125,000 in prize winnings. With this title, mousesports won their fourth LAN title out of the last five tournaments they attended, which cemented them as the second-best team based on HLTV global rankings.
Winning the ICE Challenge MVP award was Natus Vincere's rifler Denis "electronic" Sharipov, who had a superb showing throughout the whole tournament and was rightfully named as the tournament's best player.
He put up tournament-leading numbers such as in overall rating (1.36), DPR (98.5), KPR (0.86) and clutches (6), while also producing third-most APR (0.16) and opening kills per round (0.16).
The Russian star capped off the tournament with an incredible 1.38 rating in the grand finals, unfortunately, even his performance was not enough for Natus Vincere to hoist the trophy. This marked his first MVP award in his career and his third individual award, having previously been declared as the fourth-best CS:GO player of the year in 2018 and sixth-best in 2019.