The moment everyone remembers won’t be the Finals. It won’t even be the semifinals. The moment that will be remembered took place on Friday, in a quarterfinal match between Team Liquid and Heroic at the ESL Pro League season 14 Finals.
It was map three, and the score was 14 to 15. For anyone who isn’t a CS:GO aficionado, the amount of rounds required to win a game without going to overtime is sixteen. Four of Heroic’s members were already dead when Refrezh, who would end the series with a +26 kda and a 1.37 rating, killed every single member of Team Liquid for what might go down as one of the most consequential 1v5s of all time.
Heroic won in overtime. 19-16. That won’t be remembered either, not really, besides as a fun trivia fact when discussing Refrezh’s play. They lost their next series to Natus Vincere, the eventual winners of the event in a 3-2 over Vitality on Sunday. Navi went home with 1.2 million dollars after completing the Intel Grand Slam.
But that play, that 1v5, is going into the record books for the 23-year-old Dane. That’s the kind of play that kickstarts a career, the kind of play that five years down the line everyone will remember. It’s Coldzera’s jumping AWP on Mirage, S1mple’s falling one on Overpass. It’s those moments that get remembered, not who went on to win the titles in tournaments a lot of fans don’t even remember the names of.
It’s a pity, then, that this Navi deserves to be remembered. The Grande Final it didn’t have the moments that people hang onto, but it was a 3-2 that ended in a 16-14. It was as close scoreline-wise as you get and it was two of the best players in the world head to head. Shot for shot. S1mple ended the series with a 1.22 rating. ZywOo ended with a 1.23.
Now eyes turn ahead, to the Major on the horizon. S1mple has never won a major. Neither has ZywOo. In two and a half months, one of them might be getting their chance.
This time expectations will be at an all-time high for Navi. They didn’t begin the Covid-forced online era well but they’ve ended it well, coming out of that period to win this tournament as well as IEM Cologne earlier this summer. They’ll be a favorite but if this weekend’s tournament is anything to go by Vitality will be right up there too.
There’s a realistic chance that this weekend’s Grand Final was a preview of what will happen on November 6th. And yet S1mple and ZywOo’s head-to-head five-map showdown will forever be overshadowed by what Refrezh did two days earlier on Inferno