Astralis added yet another jewel to their crown with an undisputed run to the ECS Season 5 Finals trophy. The world’s number one team didn’t even lose a map in London and have dropped one map in this tournament and the ESL Pro League Season 7 finals they won last month combined.
The Danes had to wait their turn on Sunday, as the first semi-final for the day was between American sides NRG and Liquid. NRG came out winners of group B after upsetting FaZe, but an underdog fairytale was not in the cards. Liquid was clicking on all cylinders and won all four halves that were played, winning quite handily 16-6 on Inferno and 16-8 on Nuke.
The following match was what all fans were waiting for - the two best CS:GO teams in the world going at each other. Due to FaZe losing to NRG in the group, they had to go through Astralis as early as the semi-final, which proved costly. The first map on Train was a story of runs, with both teams having multiple streaks of five or more rounds. In fact, Astralis was down 9-14 before going on a run of seven straight, sending FaZe to despair – 16-14. The FaZe players were visibly down after letting the lead slip away and were never really in the match from then on, losing on Inferno 16-8.
That set up the final game of the weekend where Team Liquid were facing the tough task of taking down the heavy favorites Astralis. Starting off with nine lost rounds in a row on Mirage was hardly their plan, and at that point it was beginning to look like the final was going to become a walkover. The Americans tried to push back but still found themselves down 15-4 and only a round away from going behind 1-0. Then came the third longest streak of the entire tournament, as Liquid took ten in a row, getting as close as possible to a shocking turnaround. As they often do, Astralis pulled one out of the hat with perfect timing, grabbing round 30 to finally close out the map 16-14.
The second leg of the final was a polar opposite of the first. Liquid held a 6-1 and later a 10-2 advantage just to see it go to waste when Astralis replied to the 10-round run of their opponents on Mirage with twelve unanswered rounds on Dust II. By the time Liquid won another round, The Europeans were already 14-10 up and eventually won the map 16-11, the match 2-0, and the $250,000 allocated to the champions.
While Astralis are going on a deserved break for the rest of the month, Team Liquid have ESL Belo Horizonte coming up in just two days and would need to recover from heartbreak quickly in order to put up another legitimate title challenge.