Danish CS:GO team Astralis were not among the Legends for the FACEIT Major London 2018 tournament. However, by the end of 19 days of top quality esports action in Wembley, the all-conquering Danes had ensured more than participation at the IEM Season XIII World Championship. They’re now among the true legends of all CS:GO gaming.
Their victory in the 13th Valve Sponsored CS:GO Major Championship earned the team a top prize of $500,000. It marked the second time the team landed victory in a CS:GO Major tournament, following their success at the ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017. Historically, they are now the second-most successful team in all CS:GO Majors, just one win behind Fnatic. Astralis’ “dev1ce” was named the tournament MVP.
New Champions Stage
With the quarterfinals, semifinals, and Grand Final of the New Champions Stage all best-of-three formats, the pressure was always on the teams to get off to solid starts.
Astralis could not have had a much tougher route to the final. They opened with a match against fierce rivals FaZe Clan. As expected, the match was one of the most exciting of the tournament. Astralis produced the goods at key times to win the opening two games 16-14 and 16-12.
In the semis, they met Team Liquid, one of just two teams to beat Astralis to that point. Spurred on by that defeat in the New Legends Stage, Astralis produced another superb performance. They won the opening two games 16-8 and 16-7 to progress smoothly into the final.
Natus Vincere, two-time finalists prior to this tournament, lay in wait, undefeated at that moment. However, Astralis were not to be denied. Once again, they did not allow their opponents a single win, taking the final 2-0 (16-6, 16-9) to claim the top prize.
Astralis defeated the teams ranked No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 in the world on their way to that victory.
No Astralis at ESL One New York 2018
Despite their stellar performance in London, the Danish team will not be heading to New York for the next Intel Grand Slam event. Despite having two wins to their name, and requiring just two more to claim the $1,000,000 bonus on offer, Astralis will once again turn down the chance to play in an event that takes place a short time after another Major.
FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, Natus Vincere will be in attendance in New York. It will be interesting to see how fresh they are following a grueling campaign in the UK. Other teams competing in New York include Fnatic, mousesports, Gambit esports, G2 Esports and NRG Esports.
Instead, Astralis will take a couple more days to relax and prepare for the BLAST Pro Series on Sept. 28 and 29. The tournament, hosted at the Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul, offers the same $250,000 prize fund as the New York event but only features six teams. Astralis, Cloud9, MiBR, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Space Soldiers, and Virtus.pro are likely to be the heavy favourites to win the event.
The six teams competing in Turkey will play a round robin stage. Then, the top two teams compete in the Grand Final the following day. The third-place team will qualify for the BLAST Pro Standoff, where their individual team members will play five 1v1 aim duels against opponents they can select from any of the teams that finish below them.
The winner of the BLAST Pro Standoff will pocket a $20,000 bonus prize.
Looking further ahead
These two events will serve as the final warm-up for teams before the next ESL Pro League Season in Europe, Oceania, Asia, and North America gets underway on Oct 2. This will be the eighth season of the tournament with the teams in each qualification section battling through the online qualifiers to try and earn a place in the Season 8 Finals from Dec. 4-9.
It is unsurprising Astralis are the current holders of this title too, having defeated Team Liquid in the Season 7 Finals in Dallas back in May.
After their dominant victory in London, Astralis remain the team to beat heading into what promises to be a busy time for tournament play and qualifiers. The question is whether any of their rivals can now close the gap over the coming weeks and eventually oust Astralis as the best CS:GO team in esports at present.
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