Astralis take down Liquid to win BLAST Pro Series São Paulo
For a while, it looked like the playing field had started to level out. Liquid took the lead in the series with a close yet impressive victory on Dust2, exacting revenge for Friday's loss on this very same map. But then the North Americans suddenly ran out of steam and were bullied by Astralis for the rest of the series. The one-sided Inferno game was hardly a surprise, given the Danes' impressive streak on it, but the same cannot be said about Overpass, where Nick "nitr0" Cannella's troops were shockingly poor, showing that there is still quite a big gap between the current top two teams in the world.
Liquid went into their map pick, Dust2, in a must-win situation, well aware that a defeat here would most likely result in a series loss, given Astralis' current 15-0 LAN streak on Inferno. The North American side hopped out to a 3-0 lead following a successful B execute in the pistol round, but the landscape of the game changed once Astralis had money to work with, with Nicolai "device" Reedtz pulling off a quad-kill near the A site, which was followed by a trio of frags from Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen in middle.
The Danish side rode that momentum to a 5-3 lead, but Liquid were unwilling to let things get out of hand and picked up the pace, winning five of the last seven rounds of the half to secure a narrow advantage heading into the CT side.
The second half began with a solid start from Astralis, who lost just one of the opening six rounds. It looked like the Major champions had the game under control, but, unlike the round-robin stage match between the two, they were not able to deal the finishing blow. Liquid set up a water-tight defence and won six rounds in a row en route to a 16-13 finish, though things could have taken a completely different turn had device pulled off the 1v3 clutch in the 26th round, when his team were up 13-12.
Inferno, a map where Astralis had run out 16-4 winners the last time these two teams had faced each other, started the same way that many had expected, with the Danes dominating proceedings from an early stage. A missed opportunity in a 5v2 situation was the perfect example of the state of disarray in which Liquid seemed to be as they struggled to contain the Danish offense for the first ten rounds of the game.
Curiously, the North Americans got their first round on the board with nothing but pistols - a round injected new life into Liquid's players, who brought the scoreline to 4-11 to keep their comeback hopes alive.
With very little margin for error, Liquid took the pistol round in an A execute, punishing Astralis for a team kill while trading blows in the site. The North American side kept the pressure high as they searched for a miraculous comeback, but the Danes were too far ahead to feel the heat and maintained their composure, locking down the map at 16-8.
Astralis carried that momentum into the decider map, Overpass, which followed the same pattern as its predecessor. The Danish team ran all over the Liquid defence and surged to a 13-2 lead, putting one hand on the BLAST trophy.
Things then went from bad to worse for Liquid as the North Americans were further frustrated after losing the pistol round. With no money in the bank, nitr0's troops simply had no tools to contest the game and lost the map without winning any more rounds.
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Andreas 'Xyp9x' HøjslethXyp9x||57 - 41||+16||86.0||1.32|
|Nicolai 'device' Reedtzdevice||58 - 36||+22||83.3||1.30|
|Emil 'Magisk' ReifMagisk||47 - 42||+5||75.1||1.13|
|Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossandergla1ve||39 - 44||-5||66.5||1.06|
|Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussendupreeh||41 - 47||-6||63.9||1.00|
|Liquid||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Nick 'nitr0' Cannellanitr0||47 - 43||+4||63.6||1.00|
|Russel 'Twistzz' Van DulkenTwistzz||44 - 45||-1||66.4||0.99|
|Keith 'NAF' MarkovicNAF||43 - 49||-6||76.5||0.94|
|Jonathan 'EliGE' JablonowskiEliGE||35 - 49||-14||66.1||0.82|
|Jake 'Stewie2K' YipStewie2K||39 - 56||-17||70.3||0.78|
BLAST Pro Series São Paulo final standings: