World No.3 Natus Vincere have been eliminated from ESL One: Road to Rio – CIS after suffering their third defeat in Group B, against Hard Legion.
The IEM Katowice champions headed into the final day of fixtures in a must-win situation in a wide open Group B that had all teams level on six points. NAVI, who had already lost to Virtus.pro and Syman in the group stage, endured another frustrating afternoon as they were defeated in just two maps by world No.48 Hard Legion.
This means that the CIS tournament, the first of three Regional Major Ranking (RMR) tournaments that will be held in 2020, has lost its two highest-ranked teams after forZe were eliminated in Group A, which was dominated by Spirit.
The man of the match was Igor “Forester” Bezotecheskiy, one of the players on NAVI’s shortlist when they were looking for a replacement for Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács, at the start of the year. The 20-year-old topped the scoreboard on both maps and had multiple key rounds, including a triple kill in the last round of Overpass and a 1v3 clutch on Dust2, to power his team to a shocking victory, exactly a month after they lost to NAVI’s academy team.
NAVI found themselves chasing a huge deficit on both maps following sluggish starts but found the strength to come back. They were close to forcing Overtime on Overpass until Forester gunned down three on the B site in quick fashion in the 30th round, while on Dust2 they let three map points slip as Hard Legion equalised the score at 15-15 and then ran away with the game.
Hard Legion finish the group at the top after defeating Virtus.pro and Syman, the other two teams involved in this three-way tie. The former AVANGAR team, who defeated Espada in quick fashion, will take on Nemiga in the first round of the playoffs, with Syman, who edged out pro100 after a double-overtime Mirage game, facing off against Winstrike in the other quarter-final encounter.