They say the third time’s the charm but Team Liquid may have something to say about that. In their third grand final showdown against main rivals Astralis, the home team failed yet again to beat the #1 team in the world. The Danes showed exactly why they’re sitting comfortably in their thrones. They showed grit, determination and overall better skill against a team that, for a while, usurped their #1 spot.
Liquid taking Vertigo as their own
Team Liquid surprised everyone, including Astralis coach Danny “zonic” Sørensen, when they chose Vertigo as the first map. Astralis have won all six of their Vertigo games, including two against Liquid themselves, this year. Well, up until this match. The home team brought their A-game and showed a lot of confidence heading into the grand final. Their aggression on Vertigo, led by IGL Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella, gave them a 10-3 round lead early on. Team Liquid will use their economy advantage to rip through Astralis, finishing the half with an 11-4 advantage.
After the swap, Astralis slowly clawed their way back into the game. They closed the gap at 12-9, thanks to sharpshooting by each individual player, especially in crucial moments. Then, in the blink of an eye, Astralis used smart, calculated retakes to tie the score at 13 rounds apiece. They punished Liquid’s missteps brilliantly and covered their angles into the retakes well. The North American squad quickly fought back afterward. They took two rounds but failed to close the game out, giving us overtime.
In the extra period, the crowd gave Liquid a huge boost, allowing them to win four straight rounds straight. It must have felt great for the audience to watch the best North American team back to their winning ways after seeing them slump through the past few months. Evidently, something changed within the Liquid lineup, because their issues seemed to have lessened by quite a lot. Also, it’s amazing to think about how confident Liquid must’ve been to pick Astralis’ previously unbeaten map pick and turn it against them.
Astralis overcoming Nuke issues
Down 0-1, Astralis proved their championship mettle against Team Liquid in the second map. The Danes have struggled mightily on Nuke, which they have admitted to being shaky on. Nevertheless, they shook off the overtime loss in the previous map and took Liquid head-on. The first half saw a really close fight between these two top teams. No team managed to string more than three rounds together and the home team scraped off an 8-7 lead going into the side swap.
On CT side, Astralis pulled off some counter punches to Liquid’s early aggression. After that, they ran away with the rest of the game and never looked back. Their clever use of utility on their site defense and retakes made Liquid’s players run around their perimeter and into their crossfires. They tied the map score 1-1 in round #27 with a score of 16-11.
Dust 2 domination
On the final map of the tournament, Astralis stepped on the gas pedal from the get-go and Team Liquid failed to keep up. The sharpshooting Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, in particular, had a field day picking off the Americans one by one. In some cases, he even found himself pushing through smokes with an AWP, showing how confident Astralis have gotten throughout the series. What fans thought would be another closely fought map turned to a blowout. Astralis went into the second half up by 9 rounds.
To be fair, Team Liquid didn’t just lay down and give up. They mustered enough firepower to close the gap to within 13-8. However, it just wasn’t enough. Astralis played better in almost every facet of the game. With this win, they will most likely maintain their #1 spot for the rest of the year.
Dev1ce for MVP
With a 68 – 51 KD Ratio (+17) in the final round, dev1ce won his fourth Face-it MVP award. He earned the individual honor despite having a rough start to the ECS season. However, his stellar numbers in the latter half of the tournament more than made up for it. He ended the tournament with a 1.27 rating and 0.79 KPR, , good for 2nd most as well as a 0.57 DPR, good for second fewest. Overall, his clean, surgical removal of his opponents from the server paved the way for Astralis to lift yet another trophy this year.
We want to send a shout-out to all of you guys supporting us during this tournament 🙏
And a special thanks to our American fans for having us. This place is like a second home to us 🇺🇸
— Astralis (@astralisgg) December 2, 2019