Astralis reverse-sweep NAVI to claim ESL Pro League S12 title
The Danish team came back from two maps down to win their first trophy in almost five months.
Astralis rallied past Natus Vincere with a reverse-sweep on Sunday to win the ESL Pro League Season 12's European division. After almost six hours and over 120 rounds, the Danish team finally claimed their first victory against NAVI in 2020 — following three losses — in a nail-biting series that could have easily gone the other way.
NAVI entered the final with a one-map advantage due to coming from the upper bracket, and they quickly doubled that lead with a convincing performance on their pick of Dust2. But doubt started to come into their mind following close losses on Nuke and Train, where they alternated between dominant and downright ordinary, and they simply fell flat on Overpass, where Astralis were on the front foot from the offset.
Playing their third match of the weekend, the Danish team made an inauspicious start to the series as their defence was cut through by NAVI's players with ease during the opening stages of Dust2. A trio of AWP kills by Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen over on B gave Astralis a little bit of a breather after five painful rounds, but it would take them a while to get into their stride. After watching NAVI increase their lead to 8-2, the Danish team finally tightened up and managed to reduce the deficit to three rounds before the break.
Astralis picked up where they left off and quickly equalised the score on the back of a flawless pistol round. The landscape of the game changed after NAVI had money in the bank, however, with the CIS giants locking up the game in the 28th round following a trio of frags by Denis "electroNic" Sharipov to put an end to the Danes' comeback hopes.
dupreeh, who was the sole Astralis player with an above-average rating on Dust2, carried his strong form into Nuke as he pulled off a quad-kill in the pistol round to kick his team into the lead. But it did not last: Natus Vincere took control of proceedings in the gun stages, keeping Astralis' players at bay to secure a 9-6 lead at the half.
Things went from bad to worse for Astralis, whose strategy to lobby crunch NAVI in the pistol round backfired horribly. The CIS team increased their lead to 12-6, but Astralis tightened up once they finally had guns and gradually took the upper hand. With the score tied 13-13, Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy's triple-kill looked to have sent NAVI on the way to victory, but Astralis held on and eventually took the map in the final round of regulation with a 1v2 clutch by Nicolai "device" Reedtz.
Train began at a frantic pace as rounds went both ways and neither side was able to take a firm grip of the game. But that quickly changed: after that highly-contested early period, Astralis took the game by the throat and outplayed their opponents for the rest of the half as Kirill "Boombl4" Mikhailov's troops lacked solutions and struggled to get any map control. With 23 frags to his name and nine multi-kill rounds, Patrick "es3tag" Hansen was the nickname on everyone's lips as the Danes enjoyed a commanding 13-2 lead.
The game seemed to be a foregone conclusion as Astralis quickly picked up two rounds — the first with nothing but P250s — to get within touching distance of victory. Down 7-15, NAVI dug deep to withstand the pressure and won eight rounds without response, but their efforts would be in vain: after a first overtime that did not determine a winner, Astralis won two rounds in each half in the second set of extra rounds to level the series at 2-2.
Astralis came out on Overpass with guns blazing, racing to an 11-4 lead following a dominant T display, with device leading the charge with 20 kills and a 109 ADR. NAVI came fighting back and brought the deficit to a minimum after a bright start to their T side, but a comeback was not on the cards as the Danes made one final push to seal the victory with a string of rounds.
|Natus Vincere||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|96 - 87||+9||90.7||1.19|
|100 - 87||+13||80.5||1.15|
|73 - 85||-12||70.9||0.93|
|77 - 88||-11||70.5||0.92|
|68 - 81||-13||59.7||0.88|
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|91 - 73||+18||70.0||1.13|
|83 - 86||-3||76.8||1.11|
|94 - 90||+4||80.7||1.11|
|82 - 81||+1||67.5||1.03|
|77 - 84||-7||69.0||0.92|
ESL Pro League Season 12 Europe final standings:
1. Astralis - $99,000
2. Natus Vincere - $54,000
3. Heroic - $34,000
4. MOUZ - $30,000
5-6. BIG - $31,500
5-6. Complexity - $31,500
7-8. Spirit - $25,000
7-8. ENCE - $25,000
9-10. OG - $20,000
9-10. Vitality - $20,000
11-12. fnatic - $19,000
11-12. G2 - $15,000
13-14. AGO - $13,000
13-14. FaZe - $13,000
15-16. GODSENT - $12,000
15-16. Ninjas in Pyjamas - $8,000