Andrey #Jerry Mekhryakov and friends were defeated on Overpass (11-16), but then answered with a 30-round Ancient victory (16-14), before sealing the deal on Inferno (16-11). The victory will be a huge boost for #FORZE, who also experienced a string of inconsistent outcomes in numerous online tournaments prior to their ESL Pro League campaign.
The ESL Pro League Season 17 Group D opener was started on Overpass, but FORZE quickly gained the upper hand due to a double-kill entrance from Vladislav #Krad Kravchenko in Bathrooms, which helped FORZE establish a 4-2 advantage on the T-side. Denis #electroNic Sharipov in the seventh round, downed two with his Desert Eagle to put Natus Vincere back on track. From that moment on, the roster with a large number of Ukrainian players didn’t turn back. S1mple’s outstanding 20-6 effort pushed the team to a commanding 10-5 lead by the switch, and FORZE was only able to add one round after their initial run of success.
Evgeny #r3salt Frolov, who had been relatively quiet until the second part of the game, consistently made an impression and helped FORZE cut the gap to just one round of double digits. Unfortunately, the remaining of the match was a carbon copy of the first 15 rounds. Natus Vincere, who frequently lost rounds to FORZE’s pistols but quickly came back with their own mishmash buys to take their opponents’ map choice, 16-11, only gave up two rounds after gaining their foothold.
Once Ancient arrived, FORZE gradually began their comeback effort as shalfey and Aleksandr #zorte Zagodyrenko combined for 17 kills to bring the Russians to a narrow 4-3 advantage on the CT-side. As the first half went on, this close match remained in the spotlight, but Jerry’s team just barely claimed the lead at the break.
On the second pistol round, Valeriy #b1t” Vakhovskiy more than doubled his kill total from two to five, allowing the Ukrainian team to reclaim the advantage and hit double digits first, 10-9. Forze regained control of the game after round 22 thanks to shalfey’s 1vs2 clutch. The Russian’s valiant efforts, which included a 33-15 K-D by the conclusion of the map, were sufficient to lead FORZE to a grueling 16-14 win and force an Inferno finale.
Natus Vincere’s numerous failed shots handed FORZE the opening round of the Inferno pistol on a silver tray, and the Russians took full advantage by recording five rounds in a succession without encountering any opposition from their opponents. After winning round six because of time, Natus Vincere was able to record their first point, and it didn’t take long for the team’s elite players to start contributing in large numbers. After a less than ideal start, the Ukrainian lineup managed eight rounds by the side change, dropping just two more rounds (both of which came down to 1vs1) to lead 8-7.
Starting off their CT-side, FORZE held NAVI, the No. 5 team in the world, on their toes by winning four rounds to NAVI’s three, keeping the two teams even after 11 rounds. The Russian team profited from Krad’s all-or-nothing 3k on the B bombsite in round 23, which marked the start of Jerry’s soldiers’ late-series dominance. After forcing Natus Vincere to repeatedly step into deathtraps thanks to the team’s gamble-heavy CT-side, FORZE quickly cruised to a 16-11 win to capture the series, 2-1.