The international roster clinches a victory in the dying embers of a crazy series to secure their first Grand Final of 2021, after finishing in 3-4th place in the last 4 tournaments they played in.
The Danes showed immense grit and backbone throughout the tournament, after having been made to sweat in their last 2 games but it just wasn’t enough today.
Despite taking an absolute beating on their own map pick, they clawed back Dust2 and very nearly closed out Inferno, taking it to the full 30 rounds but the Kovac cousins, ‘NiKo’ and ‘huNter-‘ rose to the occasion to land them in their first Grand Final with this roster, after the benching of veteran AWPer Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub.
A pretty conventional veto from both the team’s perspectives ensued, with the perma bans going out first in the form of Mirage and Overpass, Astralis chose to go back to the ol’ reliable playground of Nuke, while G2 went with Dust2, not afraid of Astralis’ recent results on the map. Inferno was left over as the decision, almost becoming a default decider map for any series in CS:GO in recent times.
MAP 1: Nuke (Picked by: Astralis, Won by: G2, Final Score: 16:6)
There used to be a time once, a time when Astralis had a 31 map win streak on Nuke, such was their ferocity that teams used to ban the map first, instead of their own permaban just to save themselves from the trauma. But those days are long gone now, as put on display by G2 esports today.
Backing themselves on this map, the Danes picked into it, and started off well with a pistol round and force buy win to follow. But nothing could’ve prepared them for what was in store. With brilliant calling and individual prowess coming into play, G2 taught Astralis a lesson on CT holds as they put up 12 rounds without reply, allowing the Danish side only 1 to end the half 12:3.
G2 almost sent us back to 2017, when Nuke used to be the CT side’s bread and butter, but it had changed or so we thought. The international roster had no problems closing it out as they ended the map swiftly 16:6.
MAP 2: Dust2 (Picked by: G2, Won by: Astralis, Final Score: 16:12)
Brushing aside their dismal start, Astralis moved to the CT side of Dust2. The ‘gla1ve’ led roster had a CT masterclass of their own in their back pocket as they racked up 11 rounds, never letting G2 put up 2 consecutive terrorist side rounds. Peter ‘dupreeh’ Rasmussen didn’t let them feel lost without an AWPer as he held down the fort with just a rifle, to comfortably end the half for Astralis at 11:4.
G2 bounced back again, as they looked to finish the day’s work in just 2 maps, putting up 4 on the trot. But Astralis’ experience and incredible resilience showed again as they put up 5 T rounds with ease, finishing at 16:12, to take us to Inferno
MAP 3: Inferno (Decider, Won by: G2, Final Score: 16:14)
Inferno, almost a second home map for both the rosters was where the score would be settled. Starting on the T side, Astralis again looked hot to the touch, picking up 6 of the first 8 rounds. But a crucial 1v2 Clutch from ‘huNter-‘ seemed to reinvigorate the whole team as they mounted up 8 on the defense, keeping it as close as possible heading to the T side.
The second half was as brawly an affair as you’re ever gonna get, with both teams pulling out all the stops to get to a victory. Exchanging rounds back and forth throughout the half, Astralis were in the driving seat with the score at 14-13. It all came down to a 2v3 retake, with the Kovac cousins alive, but a measly 30 health between them, Astralis looked set for 15.
But proving family is above all, the cousins took down all three members to once again spark a huge comeback, eventually resulting in a hard-fought victory at 16:14.
CHANGES FOR ASTRALIS COMING?
G2 will face the winner of Navi vs Faze in the Grand Final of Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2021, to vie for the trophy. Astralis performed well above expectations but leave in 3-4th place with $80,000 in prize money.
Things will get interesting, whether they sign a permanent, dedicated AWPer remains to be seen.