The second semifinal of the day saw both teams go the long mile to decide a victor, with NiP finally advancing 2-1 over EnVyUs.
With action kicking off at the CCS Kick-off Season Finals, the first day's semifinal already saw a headline of an opener when TSM defeated fnatic 2-0, surprising many and throwing my preview predictions into immediate disarray.
The second and last match of the day was the other semifinal, deemed by some as "El Classico," with NiP and EnVyUs squaring off. The three drawn maps were de_cache, de_dust2 and de_mirage.
NiP paid due testament to their aggressive Terrorist sides on the pistol round by taking T pistol, however nV also paid in kind by winning a trademark eco round, bringing the score to 1:1.
NiP were undaunted regardless and kept up a slew of site takes and entries, closing the half with a very respectable 8:7 scoreline on cache.
EnVyUs decided to go tit-for-tat with NiP and exploded out on their own T-side, taking nine rounds against NiP's fairly weak CT positioning, ending the first map 16:10. Nathan "NBK-" Schmittfinished at the top of the scoreboard for his team while on NiP it was notably Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg who struggled to have an impact on the game.
|EnVyUs made cache their map photo hltv.org|
The second map was de_dust2, once touted as EnVy's best map but now more of a question mark for both teams.
The first half saw nV take pistol and a early indications were that the Frenchmen were going to run away with the game as they went up 7:1 with Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey shutting down mid and B multiple times.
A one-on-four by Finnish Aleksi "allu" Jalli on B site gave NiP some ammunition to mount a comeback and the Ninjas continued to obstinately hammer away at the B site defense until they finally started to take rounds in their favour. The half closed 8:7 in favour of nV.
Despite a CT pistol win for NiP, EnVyUs bought Tec-9s the next round and Fiey once again won a stellar one-on-two by tapping the pistol from his long position to take out both NiP players, including the defuser.
With the score at 11:8 for nV, NiP drew on their reserves of steel nerves to finally begin a comeback. With Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund, Lindberg and Jalli all hitting their shots, NiP moved ahead to a 14:11 score, not giving up any further rounds.
Despite some of nV's players struggling to make an impact on the game (Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux in particular), Richard "shox" Papillon took matters into his own hands by helping nV win a three-on-four on A site. The next round NiP failed to land their shots and EnVy powered ahead to equalise at 14:14.
|kioShiMa performed superbly on dust2 photo hltv.org|
Both teams still felt they had a round in them and fulfilled, meaning that overtime was the name of the game for de_dust2.
With a MR5 format for overtime, much of the first half saw action happen around the A site which EnVyUs seemed determine to overwhelm. NiP did win the majority of the rounds however, and the half closed at 18:17.
In the second half, rounds continued to swing back and forth and despite Vincent "Happy" Cervoni helping secure the match point single-handedly, NiP rallied again and forced a second overtime.
The third overtime half saw another closely contested series go down, with EnVyUs up a round at the half with the score at 23:22. It looked like the Frenchmen were going to run away with the game on their first terrorist round but NiP put together one of the cleanest retakes possible on B site with a man down (including boosting Finn Jalli to get a pick above a smoke wall) to win the round.
|allu continued to play well throughout the overtimes photo hltv.org|
Both teams absolutely refused to let the other move ahead by more than a round apiece, and almost in a dream the score continued to grow to a prodigious amount. On the 58th round,Richard "Xizt" Landström helped win a one-on-two, finally giving NiP both a two round advantage and match point.
nV somehow rallied in a game that seemed determined to continue, forcing a fourth overtime. NiP finally forced a three-round differential this time on their T side, and on the final round of this half, leader Landström won a spectacular one-on-three, perhaps the most important of the game.
It was this clutch which allowed NiP to rally their momentum and take the map with a giant scoreline: 36:33.
de_mirage was the deciding map and as is common with maps occurring after long overtimes, one team started with a clear advantage over the other due to tapering stamina as the night drew on.
NiP were able to string up a 5:1 lead on their CT side of mirage and though EnVyUs managed to gain rounds later in the half, the Ninjas still ended with the advantage of 8:7.
|GeT_RiGhT brought it home in the final map photo hltv.org|
In the second half, NiP ran ahead with an early lead, picking up five rounds to command a score of 13:7; nV soon began to mount a comeback and brought two rounds to their side.
After a long series however, NiP finally persevered and toppled their biggest rivals 16:10, ending a marathon game and sealing it in the history books.