Spirit demolish Astralis in EPL Group D opener
Astralis got off to a rusty start in Malta, unable to compete against an up-and-down Spirit squad.
Ranked 14th and 15th in the world with Astralis as the favorites over Spirit in the eyes of the bookies despite their lower ranking, the two teams looked set to clash in a close match.
That couldn't have been further from the truth, as the ESL Pro League Season 17 Group D opener went the way of Spirit after the Russian-Ukrainian side dismantled their opposition on two maps, limiting them to just four rounds on Ancient and getting off to another dominant first half on Mirage.
Astralis did not turn up individually in their first return to LAN since the BLAST Premier Spring Groups in January. Benjamin "blameF" Bremer and Nicolai "device" Reedtz, the star duo the Danes so often rely upon to be competitive, had a rare disappearance on Ancient, and the team could not seem to recover on Mirage in time when facing a Spirit offense that was tough to put away.
Spirit had Robert "Patsi" Isyanov firing on all cylinders in key moments of the first map, while on the second it was Igor "w0nderful" Zhdanov who led the way with clutch AWPing. The Ukrainian star got Spirit out of a couple of hairy situations and late-round scenarios that otherwise might have allowed Astralis a way back into the first half of Mirage, such as this quad-kill in a 3v5 on B:
w0nderful ended the second map just short of a 30-bomb after a late resurgence from Astralis. The Danes mounted a comeback attempt from 4-13 down and got to double digits but ultimately could not match Spirit's commanding offense.
Spirit now head into the upper bracket semi-finals, where they will face the winner of Natus Vincere vs. FORZE for a spot in the playoffs, while Astralis await the loser of the same match in the lower bracket.
|Spirit||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|46 - 19||+27||94.8||1.52|
|37 - 26||+11||102.4||1.44|
|37 - 29||+8||77.6||1.22|
|36 - 30||+6||76.1||1.14|
|24 - 31||-7||57.1||0.90|
|Astralis||K - D||+/-||ADR||Rating 2.0|
|32 - 34||-2||72.0||0.98|
|25 - 40||-15||67.7||0.90|
|29 - 34||-5||75.0||0.86|
|27 - 36||-9||67.2||0.84|
|21 - 36||-15||60.9||0.69|