Luminosity eliminate Astralis from the $512,000 ESL Pro League Season 3 finals following a 2-1 victory in the Group A elimination match (9-16 on Dust2, 16-12 on Overpass, and 16-13 on Train).
An elimination match that practically no-one would have foreseen was the final game of the first day of the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals, as two elite level teams in the form of Luminosity (#1 ranked in the world) and Astralis (#4 ranked) played a best-of-three series to determine who would go home early in 7-8th place.
The first map kicked off on Dust2 and it was the Danes who got an early lead in the game by securing both the first pistolround (in which they only lost one player) and the first gunround of the game, and thus moved all the way to a 5-0 score early on.
Luminosity broke out the CT-side stratbook and began to play patient and coordinated defensive set-ups and answered back with four rounds of their own. The two teams dueled out the rest of the first half in tit-for-tat fashion, with the Brazilian side finishing up 8-7 and looking to kick off a T-side on the second half.
Although Luminosity managed to enter the bombsite and plant with a five-versus-three advantage on the second pistolround, it was actually Astralis who somehow clinched the retake and equalised the score.
Luminosity played Astralis to a tense three map series
With Nicolai "device" Reedtz on a tear with the AWP for his team, the Danes continued to acrrue rounds for their side and deny Luminosity's attempt to enter sites, although Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo did pick up an ace on the 21st round to give Luminosity their ninth round on the board. Ultimately however, it was the Danish team who simply played better defense and sealed the map 16-9.
The teams moved on to Overpass, where Luminosity started on their T-side and promptly took the pistolround and won both anti-ecos. A heroic 3K hold from Finn "karrigan" Andersen on the first gunround put the Danes on the board as well and they were ultimately able to equalise the score.
Luminosity utilised the AK entry power of Lincoln "fnx" Lau to take the seventh round but Astralis then answered right back and it was off of this round that the Danes established some economic control and moved as far forward as 9-4 before Marcelo "coldzera" David and Fernando "fer" Alvarenga chipped in to close the half out with a 9-6 score.
Luminosity yet again had no trouble securing a pistolround, this time on their CT-side, and the score stood at 9-9 after two anti-ecos; the first gunround then went the way of Astralis to move the Danes ahead yet again with a 10-9 score.
The next round saw FalleN in a one-versus-two sticking a defuse behind a smoke on the B bombsite which gave Luminosity a much needed round.
Astralis looked ready to run away with the series at multiple times
The game then entered manic mode as Astralis won a force buy powered by tec9 entries, and then Luminosity won a force buy to further shake up the economy of both teams, and after two successive rounds went the Brazilians way, Astralis won a force buy again to keep the score close at 13-12 for Luminosity.
That was all she wrote for the Danish team however as FalleN and his team finally buckled down and closed out the remaining three rounds (a showcase that Liquid could well learn from) to take the second map 16-12.
With the final battleground being Train, Astralis commenced their CT-side by winning a three-versus-three retake and claiming the first pistolround and the next two anti-ecos. FalleN then won an unlikely one-versus-two with the Scout on the first gunround to put Luminosity on the board.
Although the Brazilians moved as far forward as a 5-4 advantage in the first half, René "cajunb" Borg and device worked in tandem to give Astralis a string of rounds that ultimately saw the half end in 9-6 in favour of the Danish side.
FalleN and the rest of Luminosity seized the second pistolround and the first gunround of the second half and looked ready to run away with a map win, until a AWP 4K by device on the 21st round suddenly reinvigorated the Danish team and allowed them to fight ahead to a 12-11 lead.
The next few rounds however went the way of Luminosity, including a three-versus-five retake and an overall strong commitment to avoid error-prone play fron the Brazilians, and Luminosity thus emerged victorious 16-13 and thus avoided elimination.
Tomorrow is the second day of the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals and it will be reserved for three best-of-three games: the Group B elimination match and the two remaining decider matches to determine the final two teams moving on to the semifinals of the event.
There will be no games taking place on Friday as teams and crew move from ESL's studio in Leicester to the Indigo at the O2 venue in London.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter