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FaZe Clan outlast Natus Vincere in epic final at IEM Cologne

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A crowd full of Austin FC fans cheered for Austin FC's eMLS player, John Garcia, during the eMLS Cup tournament at the Moody Theater on March 13, 2022. The eMLS Cup is the championship tournament that determines which player is the best FIFA esports player in North America.Aem Sxsw Emls Cup 16
Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

FaZe Clan rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Natus Vincere 3-2 in the grand final of the Intel Extreme Masters Season XVII event Sunday in Cologne, Germany.

The American organization, which fields a CS:GO team in the Europe region, continued its winning ways after capturing the PGL Major Antwerp in May. They took home the $400,000 grand prize, while NaVi settled for a $180,000 check for second.

The best-of-five grand final went the distance, with most maps decided by narrow margins. FaZe opened with a 16-13 win on Inferno before NaVi fought back with a 16-13 victory on Overpass and a 19-16 overtime win on Ancient.

FaZe kept their hopes alive with a 16-9 win on Mirage to force an all-or-nothing fifth map, Nuke. NaVi scored five straight points to take a 14-13 lead late in the map, but FaZe tallied the final three for a dramatic 16-14 win.

FaZe’s Helvijs ‘broky’ Saukants of Latvia led all players in kills (115) and kills-to-deaths differential (plus-20). He got major help from teammates Håvard ‘rain’ Nygaard of Norway (110 kills, plus-12 K-D) and Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken of Canada (109 kills, plus-14 K-D).

For NaVi, Russia’s Denis ‘electroNic’ Sharipov led the way with 113 kills and a plus-15, and Ukraine’s Aleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev had 109 kills on a plus-10.

FaZe was one of eight teams to earn a direct berth into the Group Stage, the second of three stages at Cologne. They ran the table from there, not losing a single map on their way to clinching first place in Group B.

Both finalists swept their opponents 2-0 in Saturday’s semifinals. FaZe Clan defeated Movistar Riders and NaVi took out Astralis.

The $1 million IEM Cologne event began with 24 teams, with 16 advancing from the Play-In to the Group Stage. The top six teams qualified for the Playoff Stage. The initial playoff matches were best-of-three before Sunday’s best-of-five grand final.

Intel Extreme Masters Season XVII — Cologne prize pool and points distribution:
1. $400,000, 3,200 BLAST Premier points — FaZe Clan
2. $180,000, 1,600 BLAST Premier points — Natus Vincere
3-4. $80,000, 1,000 BLAST Premier points — Astralis, Movistar Riders
5-6. $40,000, 300 BLAST Premier points — MOUZ, Team Liquid
7-8. $24,000, 300 BLAST Premier points — Ninjas in Pyjamas, FURIA Esports
9-12. $16,000, no BLAST Premier points — Team Vitality, G2 Esports, Cloud9, Team Spirit
13-16. $10,000, no BLAST Premier points — Heroic, ENCE, 00 Nation, Outsiders
17-20. $4,500, no BLAST Premier points — Sprout, BIG, Imperial Esports, TYLOO
21-24. $2,500, no BLAST Premier points — paiN Gaming, Complexity Gaming, ORDER, MIBR

–Field Level Media