Natus Vincere entered the Season 10 Finals as the presumptive favorite. The Pro League newcomers had absolutely torn through their first season at the top level, with a near-flawless second split that finished with them stealing the first seed away from Giants Gaming. Many of the traditional powerhouse teams had missed the mark in the online season and were therefore not in attendance in Tokoname, Japan.
To improve their chances, the field consisted of unproven North American teams, Brazilians crippled by visa issues, a European rival known for coming up short on LAN, and two unknown APAC teams. Na'Vi was considered the single largest first-round favorite to win their match against Wildcard Gaming.
The match they ended up getting was nothing like what was expected. Wildcard played excellently on map 1 of Kafe, eventually stealing a win 7-4. Na'Vi looked shaken -- they were a strong Kafe team but nothing seemed to be going right for them.
Heading into Coastline, things looked bleak for the UK Side. It was Wildcard's home map, with a 10-2-1 record on Coastline leading into the tournament. For the tournament favorites to recover, they needed a momentum shift to get them mentally back into the game and throw Wildcard off their rapidly building confidence.
Then, it happened:
It is often said that in order to win a clutch, the other team has to give you the opportunity. Your opponents have to make some form of misplay to allow an opening into winning the round. In nearly all cases, this is true; most Xv1 losses are plagued by over peeking or miscommunications that cost a team their advantage. However, neLo was able to force his way back into the round with pure aim skill and game sense. He predicted and pre-fired each successive peek from Wildcard, prevented a trade and earned a spectacular multi-frag. Wildcard did all that they could, but in this instance, nobody could stop neLo.
With help from the momentum and hype gained from this play, Navi was able to dominate Coastline 7-1, and went on to win the series after a close map 3. They would also win their next two series and claim the team's first-ever Pro League championship. For this, neLo's 1v4 Ace Clutch earns Play of the Year honors!
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