After three weeks of exhilarating Counter-Strike, the FACEIT London Major champion is wearing the crown. Astralis has absolutely stomped Na’Vi to place another huge event under their belt.
— FACEIT (@FACEIT) September 23, 2018
Astralis were coming into the Grand Finals of the FACEIT London Major looking like the best team in the world. For example, they would only lose two games throughout the whole Major against Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Liquid. They would take down the latter in impressive fashion in the semifinals. Additionally, they would FaZe Clan in the quarterfinals beforehand. There didn’t look like there was another team that could take down the Danish powerhouse, except maybe the likes of Na’Vi.
Na’Vi were also looking very strong, only losing to Astralis in the Legends Stage. Also, they would end up sweeping both MIBR and BIG to reach the Grand Finals. It was a chance for Na’Vi to solidify their status as one of the best in the world. Having just won the ESL One Cologne title, a win here could help them see the beginning of the Na’Vi era. The big difference between these two teams is that Astralis relies a ton on their excellent team play. Unfortunately, Na’Vi is very dependant on the performance of their stars, AWPer Aleksandr “s1mple“ Kostyliev and Denis “electronic“ Sharipov. This would be the difference maker in today’s series.
We would kick things off on Nuke, Astralis’ pick for the Finals. The Danish superteam has not lost on the map this Major and even have an 18-0 win streak on LAN. Things would not go any different as they would dominate Na’Vi pretty easily. Na’Vi would actually win the first three rounds of the match after a great triple kill from Egor “flamie“ Vasilyev. After two eco-rounds, Astralis’ first buy round would spell the beginning of the end for Natus Vincere. After almost answering back with a great win of their own, Na’Vi would lose several rounds in a row. Astralis would have won every round to the half if it weren’t for electronic’s 1v3 heroics:
— Natus Vincere (@natusvincere) September 23, 2018
Still, Astralis would hit the half up 11-4 and with a sizeable amount of momentum on their side. The CIS-based team would flash a glimpse of hope with a pistol win, but after some questionable mistakes, Astralis would seize control of the game again. On their T side, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz and co. would shut down the offense of Na’Vi and take the map, 16-6. The Danes were just too good on Nuke; their utility usage and sheer firepower and teamwork were too much for Na’Vi to handle. They would use the “Triple Smoke to Secret” strategy over and over to great effect.
— Astralis (@astralisgg) September 23, 2018
Their second map would be Overpass, which is a better map for the CIS super squad. The last time these two teams met on Overpass, Na’Vi ended up taking the win. However, history would not repeat itself on this day. Astralis would actually flip the script early in the match, taking the first four rounds in a row. Luckily, Na’Vi would make a game of it with their first buy round, pushing the score to an even 5-5. Unfortunately, Na’Vi would take their foot off the pedal for only a moment, but it would prove costly. Astralis would wrestle control back of the map, and end the half at 9-6.
A round win against the odds and we're back in the lead by a small margin.
— Astralis (@astralisgg) September 23, 2018
The second half of the London Major Finals would be somewhat of a disaster for Na’Vi, who would not be able to stymie the attack of Astralis. The Superdanes would take the first four rounds on their own T side, although Na’Vi would push back with a decent defense. However, Astralis would pick up the pace and end the match with ease, 16-9. It was a pretty disappointing end for Natus Vincere, who were looking to make a statement at this tournament. It was especially surprising to see s1mple struggle in both maps, not getting anything going at all. He is the X-factor for Na’Vi and with him not producing, they did not stand a chance.
Meanwhile, Astralis has not solidified themselves as the best team in the world with their win at the London Major. It truly is the Astralis era, as they are the team to beat in the Counter-Strike scene. They are approaching a level that could make them one of the best teams to ever play competitive Counter-Strike. Their exemplary team play combining with the individual skills of their members just shows how one simple roster change could make a world of difference.
On the other side of the stage, Na’Vi now needs to think about the future of their team and roster. This is not the first time that they have finished just short of a trophy, and it must be frustrating for the organization and fans. This may be the tipping point that forces Na’Vi to make changes to their roster. One member that many people have been singling out is Ioann ‘Edward‘ Sukhariev, who has been underperforming in the last few events. He could be someone that the CIS superteam may replace for the success of the team. Maybe adding more firepower to the team in the form of Abay “Hobbit” Khassenov could be beneficial to return them to their winning ways.
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Born and raised in Toronto. Sometimes a writer. Sometimes a creative director. Sometimes bored. Catch me with hundreds of unplayed games in my Steam library.