The last couple of months have been tough for Astralis but on Sunday, the hard work and extra hours the team has been putting in finally paid off when they were able to lift the ECS S2 trophy and climb their way to the top of the HLTV rankings.
The team has been knocking on the door of a historic win for a while and behind the scenes, the boys have all been hard at work perfecting their technique, tactics and team play, which they were rewarded for in the last premier tournament of the year.
Entering the ECS Season 2 Finals, we were on the a 10-0 win streak and confident that we could replicate our success against some of the bigger teams left in the tournament and the boys certainly gave an early Christmas present to their fans all around the world.
Playing clinical, quick and supportive Counter-Strike, they were able to play to their strengths, and more importantly work their way to the final where sweet, sweet revenge against the towering green wall of OpTic loitered.
Our recent run of fantastic results also means that we have moved into the top spot of HLTV’s rankings and have finished the year as the best in the world.
Here’s our tournament recap:
Group stage vs. OpTic on de_dust2 (16-7)
Facing up against the North American’s in our first test in Anaheim was a daunting task for the boys, who fell short the last time they faced off in ELEAGUE, but they kept their cool to take the important win.
We had a rough start as terrorists, losing the first three rounds but gla1ve and the boys got straight back into it on the fourth round with a full buy on B site, which isolated RUSH and forced him to retreat.
Although we took the round, the economy had been shattered from defending the site and the boys were forced to play an anti-eco with only two AK’s and an AWP and after a great smoke on A long, the boys were able to push through and secure another round.
Kjaerbye was able to mow down the entire team from short with only a MAC-10 in another anti-eco which set the team up for another round levelling the scores at 4-4.
The teams continued to play ping-pong for the next couple of rounds until we finally took the 8-7 lead before the half time break.
Relishing the opportunity to show off their impenetrable defence, the boys quickly got to work eliminating their opponents and defusing bombs, ensuring that we did not lose a single round and instead took the Bo1 16-7.
Revenge! The game was closer than it looked though. Good game @OpTicGaming – super happy that we are off to a good start
— Danny Sørensen (@zonic_cs) December 9, 2016
Group stage vs. FaZe on de_dust2 (16-3)
The pressure was on to top the group after karrigan and FaZe defeated Cloud9 and once again the boys stepped up to the plate. Playing on dust2 again, the boys started confidently as CT’s taking the first seven rounds.
Xyp9x, who finished the game with a stunning 148.5 ADR, showed off his prowess from the offset, shutting down a mid rush from B site with a triple kill in the second round before holding A site with a quad kill using the M4 and an AK in the fourth.
A beautiful 1vs4 clutch from aizy with an AK on A site helped FaZe secure their first round of the half but our boys were able to bounce back with a reinforced economy.
At 10-1, karrigan’s team were able to string another two rounds together, the first coming from great team work following a full buy and the second from a great B push.
Two more rounds helped us strengthen our lead to 12-3 before the switch where we were able to execute flawless moves to take the final four rounds and secure our place in the semifinals.
— Nicolai Reedtz (@dev1ce) December 9, 2016
Semifinal vs. SK Gaming on de_cache (16-9) and de_overpass (16-4)
Feeling confident from our last matches against the Brazilians, the boys got straight to work on SK’s unusual map choice, Cache, and made quick work of it.
We took the first round as CTs and in the second dupreeh was able to unload a whole UMP clip into Fallen and fer from vent room, before popping his head into main to take out coldzera with a USP.
TACO hit back with a triple kill in the fifth round, which helped SK make it 4-1 before the boys stood firm on both bombsites to take the next six rounds. In the end we closed out the CT side 10-5.
Our second half did not get off to a great start though as we lost the second pistol round to a triple kill from TACO on A site. We attempted to force the Brazilian’s hand in the third round with a force buy without success and as a result suffered a pretty poor economy for the next couple of rounds.
During that time, SK were able to close the deficit to 10-9, but a great play from kjaerbye in squeaky allowed Astralis to get back on track to end the win streak. That round helped the boys get in the zone and as a result we were able to take the next five rounds without a problem and close the first map of the series 16-9 in our favour.
We then moved onto our map pick Overpass, where dupreeh had a great start on A site with two entry frags which set the boys up to take the first three rounds as T. Although the first full buy from SK in the fourth round went their way, the boys were able to crush the Brazilian defence right after and that paved the way to an incredible 11-1 lead.
Needing a break from the onslaught, SK decided to take a tactical break to talk about their options and set up the next three rounds which they took without an issue, ending the half 11-4.
In the second half, Astralis once again won the second pistol round thanks to an incredible ace with two knife kills and a defuse from device on A site. The ace quickly became a talking point of the semifinals and it is so good we had to post it once again:
— Mäxerino (@Cellex97) December 12, 2016
While fans and casters alike were recovering from the incredible retake, the boys ploughed on, proving to be too much for SK and continuing to run away with their lead as CT’s until they secured the match and our place in the final against OpTic for a good old fashioned ELEAGUE rematch.
Grand Final vs. OpTic on de_overpass (16-6) and de_train (16-11)
Although we had already beaten the North Americans in a Bo1 in the group stages, emotions were running high among the boys who were vying for a chance to prove themselves in a final and get proper revenge for our ELEAGUE defeat last week.
Starting off on Overpass, which is one of OpTic’s best maps, the two teams battled to take the lead in the early stage and after NAF’s filthy double deagle kill on B site, Kjaerbye was able to spray three down with an UMP on A site to secure a 2-1 scoreline.
From this point onward, the boys started to show the tens of thousands of fans watching that they wanted the win. Stringing flawless plays and incredible take downs together, Astralis raced to a 14-1 lead in a clinical first half performance.
OpTic were able to snatch the second pistol round away from us and tarik reinforced their improving form with a M4A1-S quad kill from A site. Their comeback however, was cut short at 14-6. Charging onto B site, the boys were able seize match point and in the following round, dupreeh closed the first map out with a triple kill for a 16-6 scoreline.
16-6 and Overpass is ours! pic.twitter.com/rfvWysdVel
— Astralis (@astralisgg) December 12, 2016
We then faced OpTic on Train, which has become one of our most successful maps since gla1ve took on the role as our in game leader. We started off well, with dupreeh finding a triple kill and clutching the pistol round and the second round.
The two teams continued to trade rounds until the scoreboard was levelled at 6-6. A fantastic quad kill hold from device on A site allowed the boys to take the lead and another two rounds to play mind games with the North Americans as the first half ended 9-6 in our favour.
Taking the second pistol round, the boys sat comfortably in the lead, even surviving a force and full buy for a flattering 14-6 score line. Mixwell then began to close the gap starting with a quad kill while defending A site and two triple kills from RUSH helped cut the deficit to three rounds.
In a change of tactics, the boys decided to rush B site to take match point before attacking A site in the final round of the match which saw us take the series 2-0 and become ECS Season 2 Finals champions.
The boys lifted their first trophy of the year, split a prize pot of $250,000 and dev1ce was presented with the HLTV MVP Award by ZOWIE for his incredible record in the tournament.
— ECS (@ecsleague) December 12, 2016
The boys are already eyen the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta from January 22-29 next year, but before then the whole team are looking forward to a hard earned rest over the Christmas break.
After improving week on week, Astralis have ended their year on a high and will continue aiming for the stars in the new year.