Over the weekend, the Danish powerhouse of Astralis conquered the Counter-Strike competition at the Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland.
By claiming the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship title, Astralis took home an attractive prize purse of $100,000. This was also the team’s second consecutive Major tournament victory of the year, further cementing its place as the undisputed best Counter-Strike team in the world right now.
However, the journey for first place wasn’t easy. The Danish squad had to endure the new roster of FaZe Clan in the grand finals, who had less then a month to prepare following the addition of Nikola “NiKo” Kovač from Mousesports. As such, many believed that it would get stomped at IEM Katowice.
FaZe, though, surprised everyone by pushing past every challenge and stepping on to the stage against Astralis. In the first map, Cache, the Danish lost five of the first six rounds to mark a significant deficit. While Astralis was successful in reducing the gap to just two rounds, an impressive clutch round from Finn “karrigan” Andersen, captain of FaZe, brought the game back in Europe’s favor. Cache ended with a score of 16-9, forcing Astralis to step up.
Overpass saw both teams play cautiously, capitalizing on each other’s mistakes and waiting for windows of opportunity to clinch rounds. In the end, Astralis secured an important eco-round to gain the upper hand and level the series with 16-12.
The third map of IEM Katowice was Nuke, and Astralis wasted no time in running all over its European opponents. The team quickly amassed a 7-1 lead which ended at 10-5 upon half-time. FaZe fought back well but had to face a lack of funds near the end. Astralis closed out the game with another 16-12 victory.
Inferno was only recently added to the competitive map pool of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, leading many to believe that no team would risk its chances by picking the map. However, Astralis proved why it is able to feel comfortable on a variety of maps.
FaZe already had very little of practice time to prepare for IEM Katowice, In the fourth map, it had to play Inferno on Astralis’ saying. The Danish began dominating in the early rounds but FaZe refused to back down. The score was leveled at 13-13, and it was Astralis that managed to come out victorious in the nail-biting end.
Astralis was always one of the favorites to win IEM Katowice but FaZe took the opportunity to sound alarm bells for all in upcoming events.