FaZe vs. Natus Vincere - Who Will Become the Champion of IEM Cologne?
Who will finish the season on top?
The match will take place in the BO5 format, and, therefore, the map veto must be known in advance. But not in this case. The teams have a shared permaban (Vertigo), which gives one of the teams the advantage of banning another inconvenient map. And in this confrontation, everything will depend on the order of peaks and decisions of the opposing teams. The one who bans first can leave Vertigo alone to prevent the opponent from having a choice. The same team can ban Vertigo to avoid surprises, and however, in this case, they put themself at a disadvantage. But there is a match that shows who will be at a disadvantage in the IEM Cologne final. The only time FaZe played Vertigo with this roster was BO5 against ENCE. From this, we can conclude that the European mix will not ban Vertigo under any circumstances, so this ban should be expected from NaVi. But what will FaZe cross out then? Before that, the European mix banned Nuke and Mirage against Natus Vincere. In the last three matches, FaZe eliminated Mirage, and most likely, they will do it again because Mirage is the most popular map of the CIS team. Thus, the most likely veto map is Dust2-Inferno-Nuke-Overpass-Ancient.
The latest results of Natus Vincere look fantastic. Still, the matches from other tournaments cannot be considered relevant, because if you pay attention to the game shape of FaZe, their performance at IEM Cologne is close in level to their performance at PGL Major Antwerp 2022, which the team won when at other tournaments were in decline. Therefore, only the results of IEM Cologne will be considered in the shape comparison.
FaZe looks incredibly confident. The team did not lose a single map, meeting with such teams as Spirit, Astralis, and Movistar Riders. However, it cannot be said that all the maps passed without a fight. FaZe had an extremely tough match against Astralis, with over 26 rounds played on both maps, so we can't say that FaZe is invincible. Also, one should not forget FaZe's confidence when playing on stage with the audience. Karrigan is an incredibly experienced captain who can always charge his team, and if he is included in the game, then the team cannot be stopped. But can't NaVi be able to fight back?
Natus Vincere is also in amazing shape. With the replacement of Boombl4 with sdy, the team seems to have only gained, not lost. Of course, sdy's individual performance is still not perfect, but all the other players still show an incredible game. Two NaVi players are ranked in the top ten at IEM Cologne, so it's hard to find fault with the individual performance of the performers. However, it cannot be said that the tournament was ideal for the CIS team. NaVi lost the map to MOUZ and Movistar Riders, which is unacceptable for a club that claims the championship, given that your main rival is holding a perfect tournament. However, after a detailed examination of yesterday's match on stage against Astralis, we can say that NaVi plays much more confidently with the audience, and each player turns on at the right moment. At the same time, NaVi won the last personal meeting with FaZe at Blast Premier Spring Final with a score of 2-0.
Perhaps we are waiting for the best match of this season. The two best teams in the world will face each other in a BO5 final that will definitely not be 3-0. At the same time, the clubs are so close to each other in terms of the level of play that it is impossible to predict the winner. Both teams look confident, and the champion will be determined in some moments, which will become highlights after the end of the match. However, the head-to-head statistics speak in favor of NaVi, which slightly tilts the chances in the direction of the CIS team. Detailed pre-match statistics can be viewed here.