The first semi-final of ESL One Cologne set the French Vitality against the Danish kings of 2018, Astralis. In the best-of-three encounter, the match went all the way to three maps and didn’t lack for crazy overtime on Inferno, something that is quite common for this map. The matchup may as well have been the final of the whole event. A very tight matchup emerged, especially on Inferno and the decider, Overpass.
Coming from an outstanding 2018 and beginning of 2019, Astralis has been dethroned relatively recently by Team Liquid. Despite the Danes getting off to a great start at ESL One Cologne up to this semi-final, Vitality was a force to be reckoned with and simply proved too much.
Dust 2 went smoothly for Vitality, as they defeated Astralis without too much effort, 16-8. Naturally, Vitality’s young star, Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, sat at the top, closely followed by Alex “ALEX” McMeekin. Only Cédric “RpK” Guipouy finished the match with below-average numbers.
Map two, Inferno, was an entirely different match. Astralis finally woke up, as Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth decided to take matters into his own hands. He grabbed 36 kills in the match and attained the highest rating. Astralis did, however, choke on their 15-10 lead. Vitality made a comeback on their ct-side to force double overtime. In the end, Astralis would seal the deal to move onto map three by winning 22-19.
The decider, Overpass, went in a surprising direction. The first half was a very tight encounter, with neither side letting the other slip ahead. This half ended with a score of 8-7 for Vitality. Unfortunately for Astralis, nothing was going right on their t-side. They lost the pistol and only found two rounds as the terrorists. This led to Vitality winning the series 2-1 after snatching Overpass 16-9.
Vitality now advance to the grand finale of ESL One Cologne, while Astralis pack their bags.
Despite having some highlights, Astralis did not look as dominant and confident as they had at other events. The biggest disappointment was definitely Nicolai “device” Reedtz, the star AWPer, who had a very underwhelming showing overall. Emil “Magisk” Reif was also not as impactful as we’ve become accustomed to.
On the other side, ZywOo yet again proves his worth as the world’s very best at the age of just 18. Ignoring the fact that the whole team of Vitality played excellently, ZywOo definitely stood out through the three maps and ended with a k/d of 75/52. That is fantastic, especially considering the caliber of team that he was up against.
If ZywOo’s form isn’t temporary, we are sure to have a contender for the #1 spot for best player of the year in 2019.
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I like to give out free AK-47 headshots in CS: GO, spend some quality time in the kitchen marinating a tender chicken breast and approximately 3 times a week I lift some relatively heavy metal stuff at the gym. Oh, and I also like to write about e-sports and everything related to gaming. Who knew one could have such contrasting interests?