posted by Blue_Knight,
After a long delay, the Grand Final of SLTV Star Series finally got underway late at night at the Cyber Sport Arena in Kiev, Ukraine. The match saw the defending champions, ua Natus Vincere, go head-to-head with their group stage opponents and impressive challengers to the title, ru Empire, in a thrilling best-of-five contest. Ultimately, the challengers didn't have enough in them to make it past the final hurdle, but they can hold their heads high having pushed their opponents all the way. Read on for the recaps.

Grand Final
ua Natus Vincere vs. ru Empire

One-game Winner's Bracket advantage to Na'Vi

There were no surprises sprung or risks taken in the first game, as both teams went for tried, tested and trusted heroes in their drafts, which included Lycanthrope, Dark Seer and Disruptor for Na'Vi, and Chen, Batrider and Naga Siren for Empire. The early phase of the game proved to be a closely contested affair, with both teams trading kills and towers back and forth, without either ever gaining a definitive advantage. Such a stalemate seemed to continue onwards as the game progressed, but in reality it was Empire who were slowly creeping into the lead, consolidating their dominance of the map and exerting it over their opponents. Much as Na'Vi struggled, in the end the gap between them and their opponents simply because insurmountable, and Puppey called the “GG” at the 47th minute.

Game two saw Empire take their signature Clinkz and Undying, whereas Na'Vi took Keeper of the Light and the uncommon pick of Earthshaker. This time, they also got their hands on the Batrider for Dendi to take, whereas Templar Assassin made it through the draft this time for Empire's Scandal to happily play. The pace of the game was slower and less frantic than the first, but Na'Vi gained the upper hand as their heroes allowed them to manipulate their opponents placement and punish them for bad positioning. Empire found themselves unable to stand on equal footing in team fights, and after 3 Roshan kills and 50 minutes, they conceded defeat, leaving Na'Vi on the brink of outright victory thanks to their one-game Winner's Bracket advantage.

In game 3, Na'Vi once again secured the services of Batrider, Puppey's signature Chen, Chaos Knight for the third time in a row, and the dreaded Pudge, of course for Dendi. Empire's response included Nature's Prophet, Bounty Hunter, and their infamous Doom Bringer. Both teams stepped it up a notch this time around after an arguably lacklustre second game, but Na'Vi were that bit better as they fearlessly dived towers and ganked constantly in the search for blood, and all whilst quickly pushing down Empire's outer towers. High on confidence, and with Dendi playing a typically phenomenal Pudge, Na'Vi' quickly ascended into an unassailable lead, and with the game having spiralled way out of Empire's control, it was only a matter of time until they folded. In the end, with mega creeps laying waste to their base, Empire yielded in the 31st minute, to confirm Na'Vi as the Star Series Season III victors.

Final Standings

1st - ua Natus Vincere - $6000
2nd - ru Empire - $3000
3rd - eu The GD B Team - $2500
4th - se PULSE - $2000
7th - ru Moscow Five - $500
7th - ru Virtus.Pro - $500
7th - eu Meet Your Makers - $500