Astralis finished a season in great style continuing their dominance in CS:GO esports. Fnatic won PLG Grand Slam in a tough tournament on Saturday.
There will be no big tournaments till the end of the year. Today ended the last two majors in 2018. Fnatic, G2, HellRaisers, and others were competing for the trophy in Abu Dhabi, while several top teams, such as Astralis, MiBR, and Natus Vincere were fighting for $125.000 in Lisbon. They are very different tournaments and a gap between the quality of teams is significant. PLG Grand Slam was classical Group & Knock-out Stage tournament. On other hand, BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018 was a tournament with only single Round-Robin format group and all matches were Best of 1 except Grand Final which was Best of 3. The prize pool of PLG Grand Slam was $100.000 US, and the prize pool of BLAST Pro Series was $250.000 US, so we can already see a notable differences.
ForZe surprises everyone in the Group Stage
ForZe played a surprisingly good tournament. No one really expected that forZe can end Group Stage as one of two top teams. It was even harder to believe that they could win the first spot. However, they did both. ForZe had two very hard opponents in Group C. G2 Esports and AVANGAR were absolute favorites to win first two places. But the Russian team disagreed with that. First, they won against G2 on Overpass 16-11, and then beat AVANGAR in Winner match on Mirage 16-8. Therefore, AVANGAR booked match versus G2 to reach Knock-Out Stage. The French team prevailed and advanced further.
Another big surprise was ECL.gg in Group B who managed to beat NASR in Elimination and Grayhound Gaming in Decider. The winner of Group B was, of course, TYLOO. In Group A and Group D, we didn’t see anything spectacular. Fnatic crushed Energy Esports 16-3 on Mirage and defeated Sharks 16-8 on the same map. Sharks won their matches against 5Power 16-4 in an Initial round and 2-1 in Decider round. HellRaisers confidently won against Chosen 5 and Boot.ds in Group D. Second team in Group D was INTZ eSports.
Great performance from G2 and Fnatic
We saw great matches in the Play-offs. There also were upsets like in the Group Stage. First, forZe knocked INTZ out of the tournament. It was a really bad result for INTZ (16-4, 16-3). On the other side of the bracket, Sharks achieved victory over TYLOO. That indeed was an upset, considering how much TYLOO is a bigger name than Sharks. G2 and Fnatic were convincing in their matches. Fnatic defeated ECL.gg, and G2 triumphed over HellRaisers. In the first Semi-final, we saw an extremely exciting and interesting match. Fnatic confronted forZe and Russians were so close to winning that match. They won the first leg 16-4 and then lost 16-4 on Overpass. The third, final leg went into Overtime three times. The Russians tried their best, but Fnatic advanced into the Final.
In another Semi-final, G2 lost the first leg to Sharks 16-6. Afterward, the Frenchmen won on Dust II 16-4 and humiliated the Brazilian team on Nuke. Sharks didn’t win a single round in final leg. Fnatic was full of confidence after their tight win versus forZa. They transferred their confidence into the final and won the third title this season. It really means a lot to them considering their unsatisfactory results after two consecutive titles in the Premiers in March this year. Fnatic earned an additional $70.000. G2 has nothing to regret, counting that this was their biggest achievement in 2018. So, it seems like changes they made are good. The French team is richer for $20.000.
Astralis didn’t lose a single match
The Danish team was coming in Lisbon after historical achievement at home in Odense. People would think they would feel a lot pressure on their backs after an enormous number of accomplishments. However, it seems that it just motivates the Danes to win more. They did so well in this tournament and won all 15 points in Group. Second place was won by Natus Vincere. The Ukrainian team lost, of course, their game against Astralis in the second round and was crushed by MiBR in last round 16-2. They had the same number of points as Cloud9, but according to rules, Head-to-Head score determined who was going to play Final. MiBR was the fourth team with 7 points, and they were followed by FaZe Clan with 2 points and Ninjas in Pyjamas with 1 point.
There was something called Pro Standoff which is basically a prize bonus show match, with five 1v1 aim duels. As the third team, Cloud9 could choose who they were going to face. They have chosen FaZe. It turned out to be a bad decision as FaZe won Pro Standoff and $20.000 bonus prize.
However, the main event was the Grand Final. Astralis faced Natus Vincere one more time. The funny thing occurred in the map selection phase. NaVi had an opportunity to ban map first, of course, they banned Nuke (Astralis’ ultimately best map); Zonic from Astralis banned Train. NaVi chose Overpass as the first map and then Zonic wanted to choose Nuke, but he remembered it was banned.
Without a doubt, it was the joke. NaVi managed to beat Astralis on Overpass 16-7 but then lost on Cache and Dust 2(16-9, 16-4). So, Astralis clinched another trophy this season. Perhaps even they don’t know how many titles they won in 2018. But Danes are definitely sure that they gained $125.000 US, which is a prize for the winner of the tournament.
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