Astralis have won the ELEAGUE Group C final 2-1 over CLG (16-7 on Mirage, 16-19 on Dust2, and 16-11 on Overpass) and advance to the playoffs of the $1.4 million tournament.
The third week of televised finals at Turner's $1.4 million ELEAGUE tournament marked the first time that the two highest seeded competitors in the round robin stage did not meet in the final, as CLG (who played the event with coach Faruk "pita" Pita as a stand-in as they search for a new fifth) were able to take down SK in the semifinals.
Nevertheless, group leaders Astralis remained the heavy favourites going into the Group C final and things indeed looked to start off the way on Mirage as the team's two heavy hitters Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen obliterated CLG on the first pistolround as the North American team tried to split onto the A bombsite.
Astralis join Luminosity and NiP in the ELEAGUE playoffs
Astralis continued to hold this position of dominance for much of the early first half, and despite a round where Josh "jdm64" Marzano claimed four crucial T-side kills with his AWP, it was only on the ninth round that the mostly American team began to string some rounds together.
However, with Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye and the rest of his team all hitting their shots and playing aggressive when needed and holding at other times, CLG had not much more egress for their executes and the half finished 11-4 in Astralis' favour.
A strong B hold by CLG, including a final knife kill by Tarik "tarik" Celik, gave the North American team the second pistolround but two opening Deagle kills by device and three P250 kills by Kjaerbye on the anti-eco quickly re-established Astralis' dominance on CLG's map pick.
Despite being a coach-turned-standin, pita had strong moments in the series
Although CLG were able to defend successfully a few more times in the second half, Astralis simply looked too powerful and the Danish team easily cruised to a 16-7 closer on the first map.
The second map was Astralis' pick of Dust2 and CLG fired up the crowd thanks to coach-turned-player pita getting a quad kill on the team's T-side pistolround. Despite a messy second anti-eco round, CLG moved into the first gunround with a 3-0 lead but two strong AWP kills by device put CLG on uneven footing and it was the Danish team who claimed the round.
The next round seemed as if Astralis had it in the bag but jdm64 threw in a classic Lounge nation round, winning a one-versus-four and putting CLG up 4-1. CLG kept the momentum until they reached their sixth point, and then a resurgent Kjaerbye (the new 18-year-old addition to Astralis) powered his team to a strong 9-6 first half closing score.
As expected, LoungeDM had some highlight worthy plays
CLG managed to also win the second pistolround of the map, but a planted bomb allowed Astralis to buy up on the third round of the second half and it was off this round win that the Danes advanced to a 15-9 score.
However, CLG suddenly kicked into comeback mode with James "hazed" Cobb leading the way for his team and began to bring the score ever closer until somewhat improbably the score stood at 15-15. Overtime went even smoother for CLG and a triple kill from jdm64 sealed the map 19-16 for CLG in telegenic fashion, and not to many people's expectations.
Overpass was the decider map and a massive flank in the halls between A and B by pita gave CLG the necessary entries and they thus won the pistolround. CLG seemed like a team possessed and continued to get the necessary picks and pressure pushes and moved ahead to a 7-2 lead, and an upset truly began to look possible.
Astralis' recent addition Kjaerbye spearheaded the second half comeback on Overpass
A strong B-site take by Astralis on the second pistolround equalised the score and a narrowly won one-versus-two by Finn "karrigan" Andersen on the first gunround moved the score even further forward. However, with Astralis leading at 13-8, CLG again started to claw their way back, led by hazed getting three kills on the 22nd round and tarik getting three early M4A1 picks on the 23rd.
With things looking dire at 13-11, dupreeh suddenly picked up two TEC9 kills at short near B-site and the Danes exploded onto the site and planted the bomb, with dupreeh walking away with another two kills at the end of the round. With Astralis having identified that the B site was CLG's weakpoint, the Danes continued punishing pita and the defenders of B and finally cruised to a 16-11 victory.
K - D
Nicolai 'device' Reedtzdevice
76 - 58
Markus 'Kjaerbye' KjærbyeKjaerbye
76 - 53
Andreas 'Xyp9x' HøjslethXyp9x
63 - 48
Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussendupreeh
60 - 55
Finn 'karrigan' Andersenkarrigan
47 - 57
Next week we will see Group D action of ELEAGUE begin and it will be a big group as we will see fnatic play after much speculation, as well as FaZe, Dignitas, and the North American TSM all coming through Atlanta to compete in the $1.4 million event.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter