If there was any doubt as to who the top team in CS:GO esports gaming is at the moment, they’re disspelled now. After a stellar year and another outstanding performance this weekend, Astralis have once again shown why they are undeniably the CS:GO team to beat by landing first place at the Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals.
The Danish giants claimed the $250,000 top prize in Texas in style. The win is their seventh Premier-level tournament victory of 2018 and their third in this tournament. This follows their victories in the Season 2 and Season 5 Finals. With this win, they become the first team to win back-to-back ECS Finals and the only team to win multiple times.
Astralis’ dominance in 2018
In Premier tournament wins alone in 2018, Astralis have pocketed $1,950,000 in winnings. When you add onto that their rewards for competing in, but not winning, other tournaments, they’ve raked in well over $2 million.
That’s all the more remarkable when you consider this team is a very tight-knit outfit, consisting entirely of players and coaches from Denmark. Zonic is the team’s coach and, along with dev1ce, dupreeh, and Xyp9x, has been part of the team since January 2016. Gla1ve joined a few months later in October 2016. Their newest recruit is Magisk, who joined in February 2018.
Since then, Astralis’ rise to dominance in CS:GO has been inexorable. It began with a win at the DreamHack Masters Marseille in April. Then, in each of the next three months, the team won a big tournament: the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals in May, the ECS Season 5 Finals in June, and the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018 in July.
They followed those with another big win in September at the FACEIT Major in London. Tack on one more this month at the Intel Extreme Masters XIII in Chicago.
It is also worth noting the team has elected not to compete in a number of other top-level tournaments due to what they feel would be an excessive drain on their players. This was met with a mixed response from some in the CS:GO community, but what cannot be argued is that this strategy seems to be paying off. Astralis players are exquisitely fresh and focused for events at which they do compete.
How Astralis won the ECS Season 6 Finals
Starting off initially in Group A, Astralis were paired with MIBR, Cloud9, and mousesports in what looked to be the more difficult of the two opening groups. Astralis were utterly dominant in their opening game, defeating Cloud9 16-3 in the best-of-one contest.
Then, they came unstuck in their second game in the group. Facing MiBR, formerly SK Gaming and the top team in CS:GO esports before Astralis’ dominance in 2018, the eventual champs fell in a hotly contested series.
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That sent Astralis into a deciding match with mousesports. Despite a valiant effort from mousesports, Astralis’ quality showed and, they took the No. 2 seed in Group A.
As the second seed, Astralis faced the top seed in Group B. In this semi against Ninjas in Pyjamas, action ebbed and flowed. Astralis raced into a 1-0 lead, taking the opening map 16-7. However, Ninjas struck back in the second to defeat Astralis 16-11 on Train. In the decider, Astralis found another gear and wrapped up the win and a place in the final.
MiBR awaited them. Once again, MiBR put on a fine display in the final, but after the group stage defeat, there was an extra edge to Astralis’ game. The fans in Texas were witness to a CS:GO mMasterclass as the Danish side clinched a 2-0 victory with two very hard-fought wins in both games, 16-14 in the opener followed by an epic 22-20 victory in the second.
Intel Grand Slam payday in Astralis’ grasp?
Astralis will next be in action in the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals in their home country of Denmark Dec. 4-9. They are the top seed from Europe in the event, and this could also mark a big payday for the members of the team.
Part of the Intel Grand Slam series, this event boasts a bonus of $1,000,000 for Astralis if they can claim their fourth win in 10 consecutive Intel Grand Slam events. Astralis have won three tournaments out of the last eight, meaning they have two chances to land that $1,000,000.
This may be their best chance. They face 16 teams in their home nation and are sure to enjoy huge partisan support. Furthermore, a number of their key rivals, such as Cloud9 and FaZe Clan, have not qualified. Remember though — should Astralis reach the final, their opponents would have a chance to win a $300,000 spoiling bonus by defeating the Danish side in the final.
If Astralis falter on home soil, they would have a second chance to claim the bonus prize in the Intel Extreme Masters XIII Katowice Major beginning Feb. 14.