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Esports: NAVI humbled in 2022 opener

Natus Vincere will have to do things the hard way at BLAST Premier Spring Groups, with an 0-2 group stage record giving them last seed.

The reigning Major champions Natus Vincere failed to start the 2022 season as they left off the prior one, suffering a pair of shock losses at BLAST Premier Spring Groups.

The results mean that the Russian squad will be at the last chance saloon throughout the knockout stage, with just one loss meaning they will miss out on the BLAST Spring Final.

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MIBR were first up for Natus Vincere and it was expected to be a rout in favour of Aleksandr "⁠s1mple⁠" Kostyliev and his men, but the world's best player failed to shine and MIBR walked away with a surprise 16-12 victory.

s1mple could post just a 0.83 rating, with a brazen MIBR winning 20 of the 28 opening duels overall. Playing on the front foot worked well for the Brazilians and Natus Vincere's woes would continue against Astralis just a few hours later.

Astralis add to the problems

Natus Vincere kicked off Mirage by racing into a 6-0 lead on their attacking half, but Astralis quickly pegged them back and went in at half-time just one round behind.

The momentum was with the Danes and they quickly found themselves on match point at 15-9, with Benjamin “blameF” Bremer leading the charge.

Natus Vincere weren't ready to lie down, however, and levelled the scores at 15-15 to force overtime. Both sides would have felt aggrieved to lose after throwing away leads at different stages, but it would be Astralis leaving the server elated, winning a nailbiter 19-17.

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