Astralis see off EG to book grand final spot in Arlington
The third time was the charm for the Danish side, who finally managed to beat Evil Geniuses after losing the first two matches against the North Americans following their departure from NRG, both of which back at ESL One New York. Astralis exacted revenge on their closest suitor in the rankings and now await the outcome of the other semi-final, featuring Liquid and fnatic, to learn their fate in Sunday's title decider.
Astralis put up such a strong performance on their opponents' map pick, Inferno, that it was hard to believe we were watching a game between two teams separated by just one place in the rankings. Evil Geniuses fought valiantly on Nuke - a map where Astralis once again showed some problems at this event -, only to be completely outclassed on Overpass, where the Danes were in cruise control.
Evil Geniuses took an early lead on Inferno after winning their CT side pistol, but things quickly fell apart for the North Americans. Astralis responded immediately on a force buy and ran all over the EG defense with their searing pace and aggression, with the scoreline blooming to a 9-1 advantage.
Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov came to EG's rescue with a key triple kill to breathe new life into the game and bring the Arlington crowd back to life. That was the sort of push that the team needed as they would go on to win the remaining rounds of the half to bring the deficit to 6-9.
Things went from bad to worse for Evil Geniuses as they lost the pistol round after spurning a 5v3 situation, with Astralis riding that momentum to a 12-6 lead. With Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander on point with the AWP, the Danes constantly frustrated the North Americans wherever they went, leading to a swift conclusion to the map.
Nuke followed the same pattern as the first map, with Astralis romping to a commanding lead after preventing their opponents from stringing rounds together. Just like on Inferno, Evil Geniuses improved as the game wore on, and were the better team in the final stages of the half to cut the gap to three rounds.
Astralis further added to their lead by winning the pistol round - their first of the series - and the next one, but then they were caught off-guard as Ethan "Ethan" Arnold and Tarik "tarik" Celik turned a 2v4 situation around, giving Evil Geniuses some much-needed breathing room.
That round relighted a fire in tarik, who was on a six-map streak with below-average ratings. He led the charge for EG as the North Americans kept their defense very tight and shut down any chances of Astralis stringing rounds together, securing the map at 16-13 to send the crowd into seventh heaven.
Astralis were given a taste of their own medicine on Overpass: after winning the pistol round, the Danes were caught off-guard by EG's force-buy following a 1v2 clutch by Ethan. The North Americans capitalised on that to build a 3-1 lead, but their momentum would be short-lived as Astralis were in control for the remainder of the half and went into the break in double-digit territory.
The second half was just as rough for EG, who were put on the back foot from the start. The North Americans still attempted a response, but they could only muster one round before Astralis ran away with the game to seal passage to the grand final.
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussendupreeh||56 - 42||+14||76.8||1.28|
|Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossandergla1ve||61 - 49||+12||88.4||1.26|
|Nicolai 'device' Reedtzdevice||60 - 40||+20||81.9||1.26|
|Emil 'Magisk' ReifMagisk||55 - 47||+8||78.2||1.14|
|Andreas 'Xyp9x' HøjslethXyp9x||39 - 44||-5||61.7||1.02|