Astralis qualify for Antwerp, NIP secure Legends spot
The favourites came out on top as the qualification period for the Major finally came to a close.
Astralis managed to secure the final spot available for the Antwerp Major, earning their tag as favourites by defeating HEET 2-1; the Danes lost the Frenchmen's pick of Dust2 before taking Ancient and Nuke.
In the third place decider Ninjas in Pyjamas proved too much for ENCE in the battle for a Legends spot, the two sides trading map picks before the Ninjas secured the victory with a convincing win on Overpass.
The series began with HEET's pick of Dust2, a map that Astralis have struggled with in 2022, with the Danes starting on the CT side.
It was a tightly contested first half, HEET finding success accessing bombsites but struggling to convert rounds early, with Benjamin "blameF" Bremer and Asger "Farlig" Jensen the main contributors in shutting down the offense; the Frenchmen did manage to find a few rounds in the middle of the half, but only managed to get to a 5-10 scoreline, a less than ideal return on the T side.
A second half pistol win for HEET brought the game back into the balance, the Frenchmen getting the score all the way back to 12-10 before their Danish opposition found any traction on their offense; once they did, Astralis picked up a couple more and seemed they might be able to close the map out. Fortunately for HEET they once again put up a wall, largely due to their double AWP setup finding so much success, and they eventually closed the game out 16-13.
The Danes were left rueing another disappointing T side, which has been their Achilles heel throughout the RMR.
Next up was the Astralis pick of Ancient, a map where the Danes could very well claim to be the best T side in the world.
HEET began on the favoured CT side and got themselves out to a solid lead, picking up six without reply in large part due to the impressive defensive work of Thomas "Djoko" Pavoni. Astralis were not to be shut down completely and they managed to grow into the half, their default-heavy approach on Ancient bearing fruit; they picked up seven of the final nine rounds to go into the second period at a mere 7-8 deficit.
A pistol win and conversion put Astralis in the driving seat, but HEET proved resolute opposition and they battled their way back into the half, even finding a couple of rounds in man-disadvantage situations; the Frenchmen ran the score all the way to 13-11 before Astralis got back into it. Farlig picked up an ace as the Danes began to take control of the game, HEET seemingly having run out of ideas on their T side; Astralis closed the map out 16-14, with Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke and Farlig key in taking the victory.
The series was decided on Nuke, and the map began in scrappy fashion, the teams trading rounds back and forth; with the score at 3-3, Astralis finally began to dominate on their defence, taking control of the economy and getting to a 11-4 score line that seemed insurmountable for HEET going into the second period.
HEET managed to grab four on the bounce at the start of their defensive half to make the map competitive, but they threw away a 5v3 advantage to squander a chance to shut Astralis down after their first gun round win; this gave the Danes their way back into the half and they duly took it, grinding to a 16-11 victory.
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|77 - 59||+18||94.8||1.32|
|67 - 48||+19||73.4||1.17|
|57 - 54||+3||81.0||1.05|
|49 - 54||-5||65.0||0.94|
|42 - 54||-12||56.3||0.82|
|HEET||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|62 - 65||-3||81.1||1.07|
|59 - 57||+2||77.2||1.06|
|59 - 62||-3||75.8||1.02|
|45 - 52||-7||65.7||0.90|
|43 - 56||-13||50.9||0.78|
Nuke, the pick of ENCE, was the opening map of the Legends-deciding series, and the European squad were left to rue their map choice.
Ninjas in Pyjamas began on the defence and won their pistol and converted, running the score up to 6-0 before ENCE got a look in; the European squad did manage to claw their way into the game, picking up a handful of rounds, but in reality only Lotan "Spinx" Giladi was finding meaningful success. Regardless, a return of four T rounds was reasonable for ENCE considering the lost the pistol.
Moving onto their offense, Ninjas in Pyjamas once again won the pistol and converted to get the score to 13-4, leaving ENCE needing a miracle to recover their map pick. The miracle was not forthcoming, with Ninjas in Pyjamas comfortably closing the map out 16-8 and setting themselves up for a likely 2-0 series victory.
The Ninjas in Pyjamas map choice of Vertigo came next, and the Ninjas struggled to find any traction on their T side. ENCE picked up the pistol and converted, before rounds were traded back and forth in a scrappy middle portion of the half; eventually the European squad settled on their defence, Olek "hades" Miskiewicz, Spinx and Pavle "Maden" Bošković all posting 90+ ADR on the way to a convincing 12-3 half win.
Unfortunately ENCE could not carry their momentum into the start of the second half, and they lost six of the first seven rounds before really getting a foothold; once they did it was a straightforward task to close the map out, the score ending 16-9 in their favour to send the series to the decider of Overpass.
A back-and-forth battle ensued on Overpass, with rounds traded in close circumstances to a 4-3 score in favour of ENCE, before Ninjas in Pyjamas began to take control of the half, picking up seven of the remaining eight rounds to secure a convincing 10-5 score on their CT side.
Ninjas in Pyjamas carried their momentum into the second half, winning their T-side pistol to get themselves up to 13 rounds and on the verge of securing the Legends spot; ENCE's individuals seemed to have gone off the boil completely, the EU squad picking up only a couple more rounds as Ninjas in Pyjamas comfortably closed out the map 16-7.
|Ninjas in Pyjamas||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|55 - 51||+4||87.2||1.22|
|53 - 48||+5||74.4||1.09|
|48 - 39||+9||64.7||1.07|
|48 - 49||-1||80.0||1.01|
|41 - 46||-5||69.3||0.99|
|ENCE||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|57 - 47||+10||85.8||1.19|
|53 - 53||0||84.8||1.14|
|49 - 47||+2||70.4||1.01|
|41 - 49||-8||62.3||0.87|
|32 - 49||-17||58.0||0.81|