Fnatic defeated the Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-1 in the ESL One: Katowice Grand Finals. Both teams outplayed their opponent on their map choice to force the series into an exciting Game 3 on Inferno. All the analysts assumed Fnatic would win the series easily, but as usual NiP worked their magic and made it one of the closest matches of the entire tournament.
Here's how the finals went down.
Game 1 - Dust2
The finals opened up with NiP taking the pistol round on the T side, but Fnatic was not to be denied for long. Fnatic’s Flusha put together a pair of multikill rounds to take control of the game as he led his team on a three-game winning streak that gave them a 3-1 lead. Flusha has been silent for most of the event, but stepped up in a big way and was single handedly shutting down NiP. Other than f0rest, NiP weren’t playing at the same level they had the day before to get to the Grand Finals. The first ten rounds finished 7-3 for Fnatic, but with each round, NiP was looking better. The end of the half was extremely close but Fnatic slightly outgunned NiP and took the half 10-5.
NiP opened up the second half with a dramatic pistol round win, defusing the bomb while being bombarded from olofmeister’s tec-9 from afar. With the economic momentum, NiP brought the score back slightly as Fnatic hit hard with their first buy. NiP were able to recover after a few rounds, but Fnatic had gone up 13-9. Another win for NiP would force a save onto Fnatic and start a run that would tie the game at 13 all. A timeout from Fnatic worked well as they came out and rolled NiP in the next round to go up 14-13. Friberg won a 1v1 to tie the game up again at 14.
A quick take from Fnatic would put them at 15 going into the final round of the game. NiP weren’t able to work any magic and fell 16-14 to Fnatic.
Game 2 - Cache
After losing Game 1,l NiP started off well with a pistol round win on the T side. Fnatic defended aggressively in Round 2, but got picked off one by one as they pushed NiP.
NiP proceeded to go up 3-0 before Fnatic could buy, but they once again got completely shut down. Unlike in the first game, NiP finally looked like they did in their semifinals against Team EnVy. Just like in the previous game, Fnatic won their first round off the back of a multikill from Flusha. The round win reinvigorated Fnatic as they went on a huge winning streak, taking an 8-5 lead. NiP managed to read Fnatic’s defense at the very end of the half to head into halftime narrowly behind 8-7.
The crowd exploded when NiP won the pistol round 2v3 to tie the game. Fnatic failed to break NiP with their tec-9 rush and stumbled again on their first buy. During the entire half Fnatic could not find a single opening in NiP’s defense. Unlike less experienced teams, NiP wasn’t falling for Fnatic’s usual faints and rotations. Fnatic were able to stop the slide, but GeT_RiGhT quickly shut down their very next push with a nice double kill and stall to put NiP on 15 points.
Fnatic took the next round, but NiP took their inevitable win 16-10, taking the series to Game 3.
Game 3 - Inferno
Fnatic opened the game with a strong defense that took them the first round, but a quad kill from allu clutched NiP the Round 2 comeback.
Both teams were force buying round after round in an attempt to take control of the game. Fnatic were able to win a couple rounds in a row to go up 4-2, which finally forced a save from NiP. Fnatic were unbreakable for the entire half, mostly because of olofmeister carrying the entire team. After going behind 9-3, NiP took their time-out but it failed to make much of a difference as the half ended 11-4 for Fnatic.
The second half started off badly for NiP, as they gave up the first round and failed on their Round 17 force buy. Fnatic took the first three rounds of the half before NiP could hold them back. NiP were fighting back one round at a time, but with their 14-6 lead it was Fnatic’s map to lose. Each round saw someone from NiP work some of the team’s classic magic as they attempted to pull off the come-from-behind win.
Fnatic claimed their 15th round with a full push through Apartments, but NiP kept fighting.
Each round was down to the wire and every NiP win was met with huge cheers from the crowd as they cut Fnatic’s lead 15-13.
With NiP closing in, Fnatic finally took the last round they needed to claim their second Major title 16-13 after NiP failed to defuse the bomb in time.
Jacob Juillet is a CS:GO writer for theScore eSports. You can follow him on Twitter.