ICE Challenge 2020: Semi-Finals Recap!

The ICE Challenge 2020 is reaching its climax. Yesterday, we saw MAD Lions and GODSENT overcome OG and Virtus.pro. Now is our first chance to see Mousesports and Natus Vincere since the Group Stage. Who will advance to the Grand Final and compete for the lions share of the $250,000 Prize Pool? Let’s review the performances of the day!

Mousesports vs MAD Lions

It’s the battle of the Danish in-game-leaders as ”Karrigan” and his mercenaries go up against ”HUNDEN” and his Danish stars! This a rematch from the group stage where Mousesports picked up the 2-0 victory, although it was a close affair. Will this encounter be different? We start off the series on Vertigo, the map pick of MAD Lions. ”HUNDEN” and his troops started on T-side, picking up 8 rounds in very even half, but once MAD Lions switched over to the CT-side, they went on to dominate, winning the next six rounds in a row to go 14-7 up. To be fair, Mousesports did manage to recover a respectable 14-12 scoreline. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough, as MAD Lions ultimately came out on top to take the first map 16-13. ”sjuush” was the clear MVP of the map, going 31-16 and having an ADR of 110.8!

1-0 down, we travel over to Dust 2, the map pick of Mousesports. This was a must-win to stay alive in the tournament, and win it they did! An 11-4 CT-sided half gave Mousesports all the confidence they needed. ”Karrigan” and his men are looking to tie the series at 1-1. On the following pistol round, Mousesports, pushed long A, tapping down the Danes with their Glocks! It’s do or die for MAD Lions now, but Mousesports is just too strong! 15-4. We enter the final round, into a 1v1 situation, ”ropz’‘ vs ”HUNDEN”. The Bomb is going B, but ”ropz’‘ gets cut off. However, it doesn’t matter, as he hits the headshot with his SG-553! Final score 16-4, we move over to the final map: Nuke!

Photo via HLTV

MAD Lions have two wins on Nuke so far at this event, whilst Mousesports have yet to play the map in 2020. Thankfully, Mousesports managed to win the knife round to start off on the preferred CT-side. However, they only managed to secure nine rounds, with MAD Lions looking like the preferred team to head to the Grand Final! That was until Mousesports (”Frozen” in particular) flicked the switch turning on the style, breaking the economy of MAD Lions in the process! The score is 14-12, but the Danes are forced onto an eco round, giving Mousesports the match and series point! 15-12, last chance saloon for MAD Lions, and they have just enough money for a full buy! IGL ”HUNDEN” is now in a 1v2 scenario, yet no defuse kit is available, and he goes down. 16-12 and Mousesports are in the Grand Final!

On the MAD Lions side, there is no shame in losing to Mousesports. They should be thrilled to have made the semi-finals of a LAN event while taking the number two team in the world to an intense three-game series! The MVP for the maps has to be ”Frozen”, picking up a whopping 69 kills across the series, getting a positive KD of +27! Meanwhile, on the Danish roster, ”Bubzkji” struggled, coming in with a negative KD of -23 over the three maps played.

Photo via HLTV

Natus Vincere vs GODSENT

Up next is GODSENT vs Natus Vincere. This is another rematch from the group stage which Navi won 2-1 in a tight series. First up is Overpass, the map pick of GODSENT. This series can be perfectly described by the phrase: ”the force buy comes out on top!” Every time Navi or GODSENT took a round in this series, they then immediately would lose the following bout against inferior guns and equipment. It was truly a ridiculous spectacle but highly entertaining! Messy and sloppy Counter-Strike might have been on display, but that didn’t stop ”S1imple” from hitting his shots his AWP. In the end, Navi took the half time lead 10-5 up, switching over to the T-side. Natus Vincere takes the pistol round once again to increase their advantage. A force buy comes out from GODSENT, but it isn’t successful, (about time!)

Navi is looking like strong contenders to win this map and head over to their map, picking Train with a 1-0 advantage. GODSENT finally have enough money for a full gun round; this is a must-win. Thankfully, their defence holds strong, and now GODSENT need to start stringing some rounds together. But another round of sloppy CS gives Navi a 14-6 and then a 15-6 lead. GODSENT will need to win nine rounds in a row in order to force overtime. ”kRYSTAL” and his troops have just been overwhelmed this game, unable to stop Navi on the T-side in particular. The final round was a demolition from Navi, breaking the B site defence with total confidence. The final score ends 16-7 to take Map One, and we now move onto Train, the map pick of Natus Vincere.

Photo via HLTV

Starting off on Train, Natus Vincere dominate the first eight rounds! (8-0) Are we looking at a potential 16-0? Going into round 9, GODSENT only had 4 kills as an entire team; things were looking dismal. However, GODSENT finally break the streak and bring the game back to 8-2, but Navi has so much money in reserve it doesn’t matter! It seems that GODSENT are not going to go down quietly! They are fighting back, bring the score to a 9-6 half. They could still win this!

If they now win the next pistol round, GODSENT could actually steal this map, and they do just that! (9-7) But once again they fall victim to the force buy from Navi. They really need to get their act together, because it’s costing them vital rounds! Navi increases their lead to 10-7 just when it was looking so good for GODSENT, but a double kill for ”STYKO” with the auto shotty keeps things interesting. (btw I wish more players would use the shotguns) The score is 12-9 now and it’s getting intense. Navi is forced to take a tactical timeout and another Eco round, BUT GODSENT LET IT SLIP AGAIN, losing to just pistols when they have a full buy. It’s getting absurd now! 13-11 lead to Navi. Could Overtime be on the cards here? During round 25, we have a 1v1 situation:”kRYSTAL” manages to hold his nerve against ”s1imple” who fluffed his AK spray! GODSENT is now just one round away from tieing the score.

Entering round 26, ”electronic” picks up the quad kill with the SG-557 to open up the A Site and secure Navi a crucial round. In the end, GODSENT just didn’t have economy saved up to counter Navi. The final score ends 16-13, and therefore, Natus Vincere gets the 2-0 triumph and the last place in the Grand Final against Mousesports. This is set to be an incredible Bo5 Grand Final. I fully expect it to go the full five games, but I do believe that Mousesports will reign victorious in the end.

It must be said that GODSENT put up a great fight, particularly on Train, and can be very proud of their run at this event! Before the tournament, I doubt anyone would have bet on GODSENT making it out of the Group Stage, let alone making the Semi-Final! I really hope that GODSENT show the same type of courage at the EU Minor in a few weeks time!

MVP: Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev, KD: 53 – 24 (+29)

Photo via HLTV

In Conclusion:

The Grand Final of ICE Challenge 2020 between Natus Vincere and Mousesports, starts February 6th 2020 – 12:00 CEST

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