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Intel Extreme Masters XI: Katowice 2017 - Astralis lift Champions trophy

CS:GO Aleksei “Aleksei.L” Louchnikov

Astralis are announced Champions of Intel Extreme Masters XI: Katowice 2017, as they claim victory over FaZe Clan with a 3-1 map score.

Europe FaZe Clan vs. Denmark Astralis

de_Cache - 16:9 (10:5, 6:4) 

The grand final kicked off with a pistol round win in favour of Astralis. Despite a Deagle on Nikola "NiKo" Kovač that accounted for two kills, FaZe were unable to secure the B bombsite, falling short in one of the most crucial rounds. UnFaZed by the loss, the European mix forced, dismantling an anti-eco equipped Astralis. Exploiting the opponents' UMP45s, Håvard "rain" Nygaard and Finn "karrigan" Andersen dispatched four members of Astralis between the two of them, securing the second round of the half.

Momentum was building up for FaZe, as a result of successful rounds the team was able to disrupt the Danish economy, forcing Astralis into a series of eco rounds. Round six saw a spectacular performance from Markus "kjaerbye" Kjærbye, where the young Dane was able to deal with three members of FaZe in a 1v3 clutch situation. Unfortunately for Kjaerbye, Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey was able to draw time out to a point where there was no time for a defuse, additionally causing the Dane to lose an important AWP due to the bomb's explosion. Disheartened by the previous predicament, Markus "kjaerbye" Kjærbye took action against the enemy, eliminating three members of FaZe in the 7th round. These frags, coupled with two from Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander meant a digit in the team's favour at 2-5.

The following two rounds went one each way. At 6-3, FaZe dashed ahead of their opponents, snagging a further two in their favour. After working with a broken economy, Astralis were finally able to organise a full buy for the team, one that was stolen from them by an A site push from FaZe Clan. The Danes were able to retain but a single rifle, further hindering the team's chances at securing subsequent rounds. Round 13 saw another round fall in favour of the major title holders, as FaZe were unable to open up a bombsite. Two frags were secured by Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, however all of his teammates had fallen to the opponent, leaving the Bosnian superstar in a 1v3 clutch situation. Unable to surprise, NiKo fell to Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth conceding the round. Astralis manage to grab a couple more rounds, closing the first half at a 5-10 deficit.

The second pistol round, again, was secured by Astralis. The Danes poured onto the B bombsite after a beautiful opening kill from Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen. Two additional rounds were secured by the team, with zero casualties sustained over the course of the 18th. Retaliation was inevitable from FaZe Clan, as AWPer Aleksi "allu" Jalli grabbed two kills prior to his death, courtesy of Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth. With four members dead, leaving only team captain Finn "karrigan" Andersen alive, it was all riding on the ex-Astralis member, and boy did he deliver. The in-game leader pulled off a 1v3 clutch against three of his previous teammates, demonstrating a beautiful individual performance in the 19th round and expanding the round gap to 11-8 in favour of his team. Focused, the European mix kept at it, securing a further three consecutive rounds. Astralis cut the momentum developed by their opponents, securing the 23rd round of the half thanks to two kills a head from Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth and Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander. With a 14-9 score on the board for FaZe Clan, the team culled the final two rounds thanks to a rounded team performance, closing the lid on the first map with a 16-9 score.

de_Overpass - 12:16 (9:6,3:10)

Astralis keep the pistol rounds coming, securing their third consecutive one. Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen steps up massively on the A bombsite, culling three members of FaZe with a Glock. All members of the opposing team were subsequently dispatched, securing a 1-0 score in favour of Astralis. The European mix decided on a risky play, opting to purchase Deagles across the board. It proved to be a futile weapon choice, as the UMP45s of Astralis mowed down a grand total of $3,500 in pistol cash, grabbing the second round, as well as destabilising the economy of FaZe.

The next round was a full save on part of the mix, with Astralis stashing some cash for future use. Håvard "rain" Nygaard and Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey acted as bulwarks for their team, securing two and three frags respectively, shutting down the offense and securing the first round of the half for the team at 1-3. A broken economy, coupled with an equipped opponent meant that the Danes would concede a further two rounds, equalising the score at 3 a pair. Markus "kjaerbye" Kjærbye was not content with an equal score, wrecking four members of FaZe Clan with his AK-47, granting his team a lead in 4-3. Astralis were able to secure a further round, following this temporary victory, the European mix erupted with a flurry of rounds. A whopping five consecutive rounds were gathered by FaZe, bringing the round score to 8-5. The last two rounds were distributed equally between the teams, with Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey performing a 1v2 clutch when his team needed him most.

Pistol number four predictably went in favour of the Danes, with a strong performance from the B site duo of Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, fragging three and two respectively. Something that's essentially become religious for FaZe Clan - a round 2 force buy, that nearly blossomed into a round victory for the team, thanks to the antics of Nikola "NiKo" Kovač's Deagle. The FaZe member reaped Nicolai "device" Reedtz's life, along with his M4A1, that subsequently went on to assist the frag machine in grabbing a further two kills in an after-planet situation.

Despite the colossal effort, in-game leader of Astralis, Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander stepped up with the UMP45, splitting NiKo's skull and defusing the bomb. At this point Astralis had very nearly erased the round gap at 8-9. The teams took a round each in the coming rounds, keeping the difference at one. Round 20 had both teams biting nails, as Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth found himself in a 1v3 situation after his teammates fell to FaZe. The Danish clutchmaster managed to take care of two members of the opposing team, but Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey shut him down, making sure the mix grabs a round in their favour. Highlight reel alert - FaZe Clan pushed onto B site in round 21, only to meet their maker, courtesy of Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen.

Five members of the team fell to a Deagle'd up dupreeh, with the whole stadium erupting in awe. Riding on their teammate's immense success, Astralis went on to equalise the round score at 11-11. Equality was sustained in the following two rounds, with both teams grabbing one each - 12-12. Round 25 was where Astralis managed to pull ahead, in great deal thanks to yet another outstanding performance from Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, grabbing three kills. With confidence peaked, FaZe force bought, attempting to dismantle their opponent with a device disadvantage. Unfortunately for the mix, it didn't work out, furthering their economic disparity and more importantly placing the Danes at a 14-12 lead. FaZe were simply unable to recuperate from a difficult situation, conceding a total of five consecutive rounds to the Danes, culminating with a 16-14 victory in favour of Astralis.

de_Nuke - 12:16 (5:10, 7:6)

The fifth pistol round goes in favour of Fa... Astralis, of course. A good hold on A site creates an opening for the Danes to start securing an early lead. Following up with two flawless rounds, where the team retained their lives throughout both, Astralis keep the pace up at 3-0.  Round 4 saw FaZe's Finn "karrigan" Andersen and Aleksi "allu" Jalli grab two frags each, leaving the opponents at a severe disadvantage. The mix exploited this opening to secure the first round of the map. Unfortunately the single round outcome didn't draw a performance improvement from the FaZe boys, as they went on to concede four consecutive rounds following this strong showing.

Nikola "NiKo" Kovač woke up in the 9th round, punching in a casual three headshot frags with the AK-47, pulling out a second round for his team at 2-7. The following two rounds are exchanged, with the teams grabbing one each. In an unfortunate change of circumstances Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth finds himself yet again in a 1v3 situation, where he manages to claim the lives of all remaining members of FaZe Clan, however the Dane was playing against the bomb, which unfortunately did what a bomb does at the end of it all - exploded, granting a third point to FaZe. Astralis keep at it, securing a further two rounds followed strong team performances. In yet another astonishing individual performance from FaZe Clan, Aleksi "allu" Jalli slaughtered four members of the Danish roster in round 14, securing the fourth round of the half. Following this remarkable performance from the Finnish AWPer, FaZe stepped up to grab a fifth round, concluding the half at a rather promising 10-5 score in favour of Astralis.

On this occasion FaZe didn't give up the pistol round, grabbing their first in the entire series. Aleksi "allu" Jalli and Nikola "NiKo" Kovač amassed four kills between then, bringing their team to a victory, with a projection for further rounds to follow. And so they did, as the mix seemed a lot more confident on the defensive side of the map. Astralis face a broken economy in round 18, with three members of the roster falling to Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey's M4A1-S, granting the Frenchman $900 cash and an 8-10 round score. FaZe went on to claim the following round in flawless fashion, closing the score gap further.

The idea of an equaliser didn't seem to appeal to Astralis, as they leap away from the European mix securing three subsequent rounds, extending the difference to 13-10. An exchange of rounds was seen once again, producing a 14-11 score line.  Round 26 was an incredible display of intelligence from FaZe Clan, as the team was able to defuse a planted bomb on the B bombsite, despite two members of Astralis remaining alive. Aleksi "allu" Jalli snuck behind a placed smoke to hold down the bomb, grabbing an all-important round for the struggling team. The Danes were destined to grab the map, as Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen obliterates the opposing force in a 1v3 clutch during round 27, followed by three kills in the final round, closing out de_Nuke at a 16-12 surplus for his team.

de_Inferno - 13:16 (9:6, 4:10)

FaZe seemed to become fed up of losing pistol round, grabbing their second in the series. Losing but a single member, the defence was able to dispatch the Astralis offense in a post-plant situation, with AWPer Aleksi "allu" Jalli grabbing two kills and a defuse on the bomb. Round two saw a successful force buy from Astralis, with a rush onto A site complemented by an entry frag and a bomb plant, as well as a triple from the usual suspect, Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth. Snatching the momentum from the opposing team, the Danes push ahead, securing two further rounds. To add insult to injury, Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and co. flew into bombsite A yet again, where the in-game leader is able to drop three defending members, consequently securing a bomb plant and the round at 4-1.

Astralis went on to secure a further round, subsequently followed by a victory for FaZe Clan, as the defending Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey was able to shut down three members of the opposition with his M4A1-S and a HE grenade. Round 8 saw a swift A site take from Astralis, securing yet another round for the team. Tired of conceding rounds, FaZe woke up; at a 2-6 deficit, the team refocused, punching away at their opponents round after round, closing the gap entirely at 6-6, with team captain, Finn "karrigan" Andersen defending B site on his lonesome, all the while fragging two members to conclude round 12. The winning streak kept running all the way to a 9-6 finish in favour of FaZe Clan, with Aleksi "allu" Jalli pulling off an ace with his incredible AWPing skills in the final, 15th round.

A third consecutive pistol in favour of FaZe, as Finn "karrigan" Andersen showed up for his team on yet another occasion, dropping four members of Astralis with ease. A recurring theme with the second round, as a force buy came out from Astralis, producing an absolute brawl of an engagement on A site, where the Danes come out on top, disrupting any potential momentum from developing for the European mix. Having prevented their opponents from progressing, Astralis quickly snatched two more rounds, closing the gap to a single round at 9-10. Round 20 saw FaZe Finally secure a round of their own, as a bomb plant secured by Aleksi "allu" Jalli blooms into a successful mushroom cloud, producing the 11th round for the terrorist side. The surplus was seemingly short-lived, as Astralis resumed their initial pressure onto FaZe.

Two rounds were effortlessly amassed, equalising the score at 11-11. Not only did the Danes equalise, they proceeded to grab rounds with Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Markus "kjaerbye" Kjærbye securing triple and double kills in the 23rd and 24th rounds respectively. As FaZe Clan looked at the prospect of losing the series, the team find motivation to perform. The team grabbed two rounds in their favour, one of which saw three members of Astralis save rifles, as the idea of a 3v5 victory is not one they are willing to humour. Scales balance, as both teams had 13 rounds to their name. Astralis come out on top of round 27, as a superb hold on the B bomb site from Nicolai "device" Reedtz saw the Danish superstar slay three FaZe members with his infamous AWP. This halt was instrumental to Astralis' victory, as the economy for FaZe Clan was in tatters going into the final round of the map. With an AWP, two UMP45s, and AK47 and a Tec9, the European mix set out to bring themselves back into the series. The crippled economy proved to be too much of a disadvantage to come back from and despite all efforts, Astralis close out the tournament with a 16-13 round and a 3-1 map score.

Images courtesy of Astralis Twitter

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Aleksei “Aleksei.L” Louchnikov
<p>Former CS:GO Section Editorial Lead at GosuGamers.net. Contact - @Aleksei_Lushni/[email protected]</p>

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