The weekend was full of intense action as some of the best teams in the world took to Katowice for the Intel Extreme Masters 2019 event. Of the 24 teams that fought for their spot on the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament ladder, Astralis proved to be the best as they played a flawless series of matches to take home first place and $500,000 USD.
The New Legends stage of IEM Katowice saw Astralis clean house against CompLexity Gaming, Cloud9, and Renegades. The Round 1 matches against coL saw Astralis lose only six rounds on Nuke. This impressive resistance carried through into their fight against Cloud9 where Astralis absolutely obliterated the team 16-0. A slight stumble in Round 3 against Renegades saw Astralis lose the first match, 17-19, an extremely close loss. But they rallied and ended up taking the next two rounds 16-9 and 16-2, securing their spot in the quarterfinals.
Astralis vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
As the quarterfinals rolled around, Astralis really began to flex their skills. Ninjas in Pyjamas were the first team up to the chopping block and Astralis was sharpening their cleaver. Astralis burst into Mirage with the force of a cyclone, claiming the match 16-2. Dust 2 was up next, and it’s where NiP kicked things into gear and started to bite back.
Astralis took the terrorist role and ran with it, bringing the first half to a close with only four rounds lost. With only five more rounds needed, NiP needed to act quickly. As the teams flipped sides, Ninjas in Pyjamas really dug in, scoring win after win as the terrorist. By the 26th round, both teams were tied 13-13. NiP was close to pushing it into a third match, but Astralis rallied and secured the last three rounds they needed to move on to the semifinals.
Astralis vs MIBR
MIBR were the next team to face the wrath of Astralis, this time in the semifinals, one step away from the grand final and a large sum of prize money. The first map was Overpass and both teams came out the gate swinging. Both teams were trading rounds toward the start, but MIBR started to pull ahead at the end of the half. Astralis quickly regained their footing, and despite a round lost here and there, managed to secure consecutive rounds to take the map 16-14.
Inferno was up next, and Astralis kicked it into overdrive. The first half of the map was a tidy victory for Astralis, netting themselves a 9-6 lead heading into the counter-terrorist segment. From here on out, it was a wash, except for one round that went to MIBR.
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Astralis vs ENCE
The grand final was finally here and Astralis were ready to tackle it head on. ENCE might not have had the flawless run through the bracket as Astralis did, but they brought their A-game to the finals. Train was the first map and it was a nail-biter in the second half. Astralis crushed the first half of the map, claiming consecutive rounds broken up by a win by ENCE here and there.
The second half of Train saw ENCE come back with a vengeance. At one point, ENCE had won four rounds in a row, bringing the scoreboard to 11-14 in Astralis’ favor. This could have snowballed into a win for ENCE if it wasn’t for Xyp9x’s sneaky skills. After planting the bomb, Xyp9x just waited patiently for ENCE to come to the site, and unfortunately for them, they completely missed where he was standing. A few bursts later and the map was Astralis’.
The second map was Inferno where Astralis barely gave ENCE an inch. The first round was just an absolute wipe out. Astralis secured 10 rounds in a row before ENCE squeaked in with one. Astralis snapped back, closing out the first half with another four rounds won, and some impressive plays by device:
The second half of Inferno started off well for ENCE. Three wins in a row was a good start, but unfortunately the momentum couldn’t stick and Astralis ended up sealing the deal. Both teams were dropping like flies, and it was down to a 1v1 with aerial against device. With a quick scope and a shot to the gut, aerial went down and device secured the round, the map, and the final win for Astralis.
This was a major win for Astralis in more ways than one. Claiming the Katowice Major victory means a back-to-back Major victory, with their previous being the FACEIT Major in London in 2018. Astralis just keeps proving to the world that they are the best in the game. We can’t wait to see what’s in store next for Astralis!
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