Intel Extreme Masters XI: Katowice 2017 - Astralis join FaZe Clan in grand final
Astralis defeat Heroic 2-0 on maps to secure the second placement in the grand final of Intel Extreme Masters XI: Katowice 2017.
de_Train - 16:12 (7:8, 9:4)
The second semi-final kicked off on de_Train, with the underdogs, Heroic, starting out on the defence. The pistol round went in favour of the team, with Andreas "MODDII" Fridh landing beautiful headshots onto three members of Astralis. The underdogs had seemingly developed momentum, as they were able to keep the surplus up, capping out at a total of five, before Astralis were able to produce a round. At 1-5, it wasn't looking too hot for the major title holders, as on paper they were predicted to have dominated this match-up against their countrymen.
Astralis grabbed a further round in their favour, leading to a 2-5 score, however, the gap widened as a further two rounds went in favour of Heroic, with Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen dropping three members of Astralis in round nine. Over the remainder of the map, both teams went blow for blow, neither securing a massive lead at any point. The initial half concluded at 8:7 in favour of the underdogs.
Astralis mounted a comeback on the second half, initialising it with a victory during the second pistol round. Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Markus "kjaerbye" Kjærbye clean up the entire team on the defence, securing the first step to success. The team seemed to be significantly more comfortable on the CT side of the map, consistently coming up with answers to Heroic's aggression. Good reads and a strong defence allowed the team to run away with a further five rounds, placing Astralis at a 13-8 lead. At this point the sway in rounds started, as both teams were desperate to secure the map. Blow for blow, the teams slowly approached the final rounds. In conclusion, Astralis sped ahead, securing map point and a 15-10 lead, placing Heroic in a shaky position. The underdogs landed a couple more rounds, after which the tournament favourites cut the lights, securing the last round of the first map with a 16:12 score.
de_Nuke - 16:12 (12:3, 4:9)
De_Nuke, a map Astralis are known to perform very well on, would decide whether or not the series would be cut short at two maps. The Danes of Astralis commenced on the defence, landing the first pistol round. In this round Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen stepped up during in particular, landing a total of three frags, all of which were headshots. Having secured one of, if not the most crucial round of the map, the team went on to dominate a further four, until Heroic's Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer shut down four members of Astralis in the 6th round, securing the underdogs' first digit of the map.
A follow up was also secured, as three members of Astralis were left in the aftermath of a site rush. The remaining members made the decision to save their devices, conceding another round to Heroic. Despite a minor setback, the major winners pushed on, scoring three consecutive rounds in their favour, producing an 8-2 lead. The final round Heroic were able to secure was the 11th, where the team shut down three members of Astralis with no repercussions, leaving Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen and Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth skittering for their lives, hoping to retain their rifles. For the remainder of the half, Astralis absolutely pummelled Heroic into the ground, grabbing six consecutive rounds and calling the half at an astonishing 12:3 lead.
The second pistol round went in favour of Heroic, as the team systemically removed the life from every single member of Astralis. The underdogs bought rifles in the second round of the half, however despite the advantage, things turned sour, as opening kills by Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen mean stolen rifles for the terrorists and hence a higher win percentage. Astralis punished their opponents for the mistake, as Nicolai "device" Reedtz dispatched the newest member of Heroic, Jakob "JuGi" Hansen in a 1v1 situation, securing the second round of the half. Heroic, unhappy with the result of the previous round, decided to give Astralis a taste of their own medicine, force buying the next.
This move proved to be fruitful, as Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså was able to secure a frag with his CZ-75, followed by two frags with a stolen M4A1, closing out the round and slightly closing the deficit gap at 5-13. Astralis were able to secure a further round, however things stopped going so well for the team as Heroic consistently outperform the team. The underdogs went from a 5-14 score to 12:14, accruing seven consecutive rounds against Astralis. Round 27 saw a turning point, where Astralis were finally able to secure map and match point, bringing the team ever so close to victory and a placement in the finals. The Danes were able to achieve the former without losing a single member to Heroic. Astralis proceed to the grand final of Intel Extreme Masters XI: Katowice 2017, where they will meet FaZe Clan.
Image courtesy of Astralis Twitter