Astralis have won the fifth season of the Esports Championship Series (ECS) after defeating Liquid 2-0 in the grand final, in London.
Mirage, the first map, was Liquid's pick, but anyone watching the first half would have thought otherwise, as the North American side were dismantled during the early stages of the game. It took Liquid ten rounds and two tactical pauses to finally get something going as Astralis' defence was simply impregnable.
After taking just two rounds, Liquid instantly put Astralis' economy in a very difficult situation. The North Americans were almost caught off-guard in an anti-eco, but Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken saved the day for his team with a 1v3 clutch. The Danes then put their foot down, winning two of the final three rounds of the half to secure a commanding 11-4 lead.
More misery was to come for Liquid, who lost a 2v1 and then a 4v2, which propelled Astralis into a 15-4 lead. The game looked to be done and dusted, but Liquid's players showed great composure and clawed their way back into the game.
With Twistzz and Keith "NAF" Markovic in stunning form, Liquid won many close situations and took the game all the way to the 30th round, but then Nicolai "device" Reedtz denied the overtime with a decisive 1v1 on the B site to give Astralis the lead in the series.
Map two, Dust2, began with Astralis taking the pistol but then losing the next round following a straight B push from Liquid in a force buy. The North American side rode their momentum to a 6-1 lead, forcing the Europeans to call a tactical timeout.
Shortly after the pause, Astralis got their second round on the board, only to get instantly reset following a 1v3 clutch from Epitacio "TACO" de Melo. Liquid remained in the driving seat and brought their lead to 10-2, but Astralis tightened up their defence and bagged the final three rounds of the half to keep their hopes alive.
Now on the offensive side, Astralis bagged a chaotic pistol round thanks to three quick kills from Emil "Magisk" Reif on B, taking advantage of a massive blunder from NAF. That was the start of a phenomenal run from the Danish team, who won eight rounds straight to bring the scoreline to 14-10.
Liquid then finally got a round on the board, but their hopes would soon be crushed as Astralis responded with two rounds in a row to seal a convincing 2-0 victory and pick up the grand prize of $250,000.
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||49 - 40||+9||94.1||1.27|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||45 - 38||+7||90.8||1.23|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0||41 - 41||0||86.0||1.16|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||43 - 39||+4||74.0||1.11|
|Epitacio 'TACO' de MeloTACO||26 - 44||-18||46.0||0.69|
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Andreas 'Xyp9x' HøjslethXyp9x||48 - 34||+14||79.4||1.23|
|Nicolai 'device' Reedtzdevice||44 - 41||+3||82.0||1.11|
|Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossandergla1ve||36 - 42||-6||76.4||1.09|
|Emil 'Magisk' ReifMagisk||40 - 44||-4||84.8||1.02|
|Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussendupreeh||34 - 43||-9||70.2||0.91|
ECS Season 5 Finals prize money breakdown: