Astralis have perhaps etched their name in the history of Counter-Strike Global Offensive with their third Major title as an organization – second in a row. The Danes beat ENCE in straight maps (Train 16-11, Inferno 16-4) to retain their crown.
- Astralis won Train 16-11
- Astralis won Inferno 16-4
The Grand Final started on ENCE’s pick Train, with Astralis on the CT side. The Danes though, found themselves on the back foot early on as early outer aggression from ENCE yielded them the pistol round.
Astralis did not go for the second round force and instead bought well into the third round, which worked in their favour. Before we knew it, Astralis were leading 3-2. But, the scores were level soon, with ENCE converting an inner take. The following round saw a similar attempt, albeit with the opposite outcome as Astralis successfully retook the inner bombsite.
Astralis rushed to a 7-3 lead on the back of some successful defences, forcing ENCE on a quasi. The Finnish rookies were unperturbed and responded with a brilliant Quasi buy round to lodge their fourth round on the T side. Astralis did not give their opponents any more leeway and ended the half 11-4, with Magisk recording a 3k in the final round of the half.
Dupreeh failed to convert a well-worked 1v3 that ended in a 1v1 to hand ENCE their second pistol round of the map. A 3k from xseven and a foiled inner split attempt from Astralis later, ENCE cut the deficit to just four rounds.
Astralis chose to forcebuy and made it work to respond. The Danes then rushed to a 14-7 lead before a brilliant 1v2 retake from sergej brought one back for ENCE. A 2k at the inner bombsite from Allu helped ENCE add one more round.
ENCE added two more rounds before Astralis chose to up the ante with a quick take of the outer area. With the score at 15-11, Xyp9x was left with a 1v2 with just a cz in his hand, which meant only one thing – Astralis managed to claim ENCE’s map pick Train with the scoreline 16-11.
The second map started with a triple-man ENCE mid push on the CT side of Inferno. While ENCE got the first pick, dupreeh and device responded with a 3k and 2k respectively to earn their first pistol round of the series.
Dupreeh raked in some cash with the SMG with a 3k as ENCE went for the full-eco. Astralis rushed to a 4-0 lead soon after a couple of B hits and did not look like letting up anytime soon. Magisk’s 3k ensured the streak worsened for ENCE, who were yet to put up a round despite being on the CT side.
With the score at 6-0, Astralis seemed to be finally facing the short end of the stick with Dupreeh and Xyp9x left in a 2v4 situation, which the duo converted with some brilliant teamwork. Another 2v3 afterplant, this time on the A bombsite, saw ENCE falter once again in their quest to put up a round on the board.
A gla1ve double nade kill at B bombsite ensured another round and a 3k from Device in the subsequent round saw Astralis hit double figures without any response from ENCE.
The Fins finally responded with a B shutdown but were immediately reset by Astralis. With the score at 12-1, Device mopped up an ENCE eco mid push with a 4k. The Danes finished the half strong at 14-1, with just two round separating them from the defence of their major crown.
ENCE chose to rush mid and it yielded them the pistol round. Consecutive pistol rounds saw ENCE push the score to 14-4 before a B shutdown and a foiled Mid rush saw Astralis secure the map, series and the IEM Katowice 2019 title with a scoreline of 16-4 on Inferno.
Train was a matter of patience for Astralis. ENCE did try to shake the Danes up with some quirky rounds and CT aggression at the T connector. But, Astralis prevailed by catching ENCE off-guard with a couple of quick rounds at the end.
The Danes also lost a couple of clutch situations and would not be happy with the fact that they lost both pistols on Train, something that could have had a much bigger impact on another day.
Train already gave us a glimpse of just how dominant the scoreline could be if Astralis manage to get the pistol round and that is what happened on Inferno. Astralis won the first pistol and then just rolled over ENCE with momentum and some precise teamwork.
The utility efficiency from Astralis was a joy to behold on Inferno, a map that was not known for the HE meta a year ago.
ENCE’s run was no fluke. But, the fairytale had to end in order for the Astralis dynasty to be established, if not already.