The last day of EPL Group D Qualifier featured an incredibly intense duel between the best team in the world and BIG. After losing Dust 2, BIG surprisingly ended Astralis’ Inferno streak and forced them to play the third map.
The match kicked off on BIG’s map pick, Dust 2. Astralis started the first map on CT side and they successfully denied most of BIG’s attempts to take bombsite A. The first half was pretty one-sided as BIG struggled to establish their economy.
Astralis won ten out of twelve rounds in the beginning, but then BIG gained momentum. BIG won eight out of the next nine games. Although Astralis had a decent lead heading into half-time, it looked like BIG was going to catch up to them. Eventually, Astralis concluded the map in convincing fashion winning the last five rounds in a row.
Despite the loss, BIG achieved something that no other team in EPL Group D could achieve against the Danes. They won more than seven rounds and actually made it be double digits. That was just a hint of what was coming next on Inferno.
Inferno was the map where Astralis had their second-longest winning streak – 20 wins on LAN events. Also, it is the fourth longest map winning streak in the history of CS:GO. Astralis holds another Top 4 map streaks as they won 32 times in a row on Nuke. So, it was unexpected that BIG was going to end Astralis’ Inferno streak. But, the Germans (BIG) led by tabseN and XANTARES exceeded expectations.
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At the beginning of the second map, it didn’t look like BIG was going to end Astralis Inferno streak. The Danes (Astralis) quickly gained a big lead after winning seven out of the nine first rounds. Gla1ve and co. managed to plant the bomb in the following three rounds as well, but BIG successfully defused the bomb each time.
The big impact on that had tiziaN who took down three Astralis’ players and leaving Xyp9x very low on that side of the map.
XANTARES Ruined Astralis’ Plans
Although the best team in the world was in the driver’s seat, they had big problems with the economy. When BIG was winning rounds, they were winning clean rounds with minimal casualties. On the other hand, Astralis struggled with numerous and unnecessary losses which damaged their money.
Indeed, Astralis was so close to taking down BIG’s players as they dealt a lot of damage, but their shots and grenades were not lethal. They basically had the same problem throughout the whole second leg and on some occasions on the map of decision.
XANTARES appeared to be a cause of all problems for the Danes. For example, in the 22nd round, Astralis had to retake B site and defuse the bomb. They had men advantage (3v2) and one of two BIG’s remaining player was low. Nevertheless, XANTARES did the whole job on his own as he eliminated all three Danish players to secure 10th round for German squad.
Beside XANTARES, Astralis’ big problem also was dev1ce who was under-performing. But he improved his performance a little in the final map.
Overpass featured a game where both teams were winning many rounds in a row. Hence, Astralis won the opening four rounds, but BIG then went on 9 rounds streak. Then teams split the last two rounds of the first half to end it with scoreline 10-5 in BIG’s favor.
Despite Astralis being the best team in the world and despite Overpass favoring CT side, the Danes didn’t feel very comfortable after they side switched. Indeed, they gained advantage again after winning six rounds in a row, but BIG bounced back in a similar manner. They set the score 14-11 in their favor and got so close to beating the worlds number one.
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Astralis’ economy was pretty damaged again. But they found their way through to victory after taking the last five rounds of the match. Hence, they won the Overpass 16-14 as well as the whole match. Also, they topped the Group D and secured the spot on LAN ESL Pro League event in France. On the other side, BIG and HellRaisers finished as the second and third team. Therefore, they are going to play the second Group Stage against 2nd and 3rd teams from other groups. The French squad, ex-3DMAX failed to win a single map.