Maintaining their status as the best team in the world, the Danish powerhouse of Astralis swept all in their path to become champions of the Esports Championship Series Season 5 Finals.
Astralis the one to beat
Astralis entered as favourites, with their wealth of talent complimented by an incredible consistency that teams can only dream of. Another benefit for Astralis was the recent adjustment in many of the rosters attending the Finals, with FaZe, G2 Esports and Fnatic all having at least one new player entering this event. Meanwhile, Cloud9 announced FNS would be removed after this competition.
Cloud9 a good test
Astralis’ initial match-up was much more hotly contested than originally anticipated as Cloud9 gave them a run for their money on Inferno.
Astralis had a rough T (terrorist) side start, only acquiring a total of 3 rounds out of the 15 available before the half-time swap. The CT (counter-terrorist) side was a different story, however, with Astralis completely smothering Cloud9, losing only 1 CT round on their way to a 16-13 comeback victory.
In the Winners’ Match Astralis dominated the side considered second best at this event, Team Liquid, winning in a convincing 16-6 romp on Inferno once again.
FaZe Clan use a stand-in
This placed Astralis in the Playoff semifinals where they met FaZe Clan, who were attending their first event with cromen as a stand-in. Cromen had previously done well during his time standing-in with Heroic, with hopes that he could continue his success even in a top tier side such as FaZe.
Once again Astralis found themselves in a hole early, this time falling to 9-14 down on the initial map of Train, with FaZe only needing two more rounds to achieve victory. However, from there it was all Astralis, with the Danish side sweeping the final seven rounds on their way to a 16-14 comeback win.
Unfortunately for FaZe, they appeared all but out after this defeat, transitioning into a mediocre effort on Inferno that saw Astralis handily claim victory at 16-8.
Even in defeat, FaZe’s GuardiaN had an incredible series though, finishing with a series high 48 kills.
Rematch in the Finals
The Finals were a rematch of the Group A Winners’ Match, with Astralis meeting Team Liquid for the title.
Continuing a trend from throughout the tournament, the first map was incredibly close, but this time it was due to Astralis faltering while ahead. Astralis had appeared to put away the map early, bursting out to a 15-4 lead on Liquid’s pick of Mirage. However, from there it was nearly all Team Liquid, as they clawed their way back to the final round with a 14-15 score line.
Astralis finally broke through in the last possible round of regulation, halting Team Liquid’s incredible comeback and giving themselves a too close for comfort 16-14 win.
After such a rollercoaster, it was expected that Team Liquid would fall completely flat on the second map of Dust II, but they were able to find success early on and gathered a 10-2 lead. Unfortunately for Team Liquid, from there it was all Astralis, with the Danes dropping only one round for the remainder of the game on their way to a 16-11 victory and the title.
Astralis reign supreme
Even with a 6-0 slate at this event, Astralis were much closer to faltering than their record would indicate, continually finding themselves in a poor position on the first map. However, their dominance remains intact, with their incredibly deep map pool, consistency, coordination and talent all streaming into a well-oiled machine.
Dev1ce claimed the MVP, with his continued brilliance with the AWP (sniper) being one of the bases upon which this Astralis dominance is built.
Astralis continue to be the best team in the world, but the perception is that the gap has narrowed between them and the chasing pack. With ESL One: Cologne 2018 due up in early July, it will be instructive to see if the Danes can retain their crown or whether one of the other top teams are able to come to the fore.