Astralis Smash Liquid In The IEM Global Challenge Final To Round Off 2020 As The World’s Best
The biggest sign of a legend is being able to step up and perform on the biggest stages when the stakes are at their highest, and Astralis have once again showed their credentials as Esports royalty by taking down Team Liquid in the IEM Global Challenge grand final and crowning themselves as the world’s best CS:GO side.
It had been a turbulent year for both Astralis and Team Liquid, the two dominant sides over the course of 2019, with both sides going through roster changes, bouts of fatigue and long periods of playing second fiddle to other sides in the world at the top of the competitive tree, but seeing both of them back in the server for a grand final was a welcome sight for fans all over the world.
Astralis’ head to head record over Team Liquid is more than a little impressive, but the long marathon best of five series fans were expecting turned into a bit of a romp for the Danes.
Astralis had only played Team Liquid once during the course of the online era at DreamHack Masters where they took a quick 2-0 win, and their higher rankings on the HLTV World Rankings ensured they came into the grand final comfortably ahead in the Esports betting markets for the series.
Things kicked off on Astralis’ map pick of Inferno, a map where they are still arguably the greatest in the world on.
Liquid actually gave a decent fist of things on the map, trading rounds pretty frequently with the Danes and only being edged out 16-11 by the end of play. The difference between the two sides were just how costly Liquid’s rounds won were in comparison to Astralis, with all members of the Danish side bar Dupreeh managing to bag a rating of over 1.00, whilst only Stewie2k and Twistzz were able to make the same for Liquid.
Liquid made the surprising decision to have Overpass as their first map pick, a map that neither side is particularly known for playing, and it soon became a lop-sided battle of two incredibly strong CT sides winning rounds on the defence.
Device and Dupreeh both combined, as they have done for so many years now, to post a server high rating of 1.70, with only Grim’s 1.17 reflecting anything close to comparable for Liquid in response. Astralis finished their first half on the CT side with a 13-2 scoreline, an absolute romp that no side could realistically come back from.
Nevertheless, Liquid gave it another good fist and mounted an impressive comeback all the way back to the 11 round mark again. It would prove to be another 16-11 finish for both sides in favour of the Danes, with Liquid left with just one more chance to complete a wholly unsurprising reverse sweep.
Dust II is another map that neither of these two sides are particularly known for playing religiously, however Astralis have had a good amount of exposure to it over the course of the IEM Challenge through playing against the likes of Natus Vincere, BIG and Team Vitality over the course of the event.
Once again it was a case of the first half being a series of force buys and rounds swinging from one side to the other, finishing out 8-7 in Astralis’ favour. Again however the superstars of Astralis were on hand to step up when things really mattered, with Device pulling off two collateral doubles and an ace clutch that is sure to go down in the history books as one of the finest plays in grand final history.
Astralis blew out the remainder of the map and swept the series with a 16-10 win. Their 3-0 win netted them $200,000 of the tournament’s prize pool but, perhaps more importantly, practically secured their status as the world’s number one ranked Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team at the close of another year.
And there’s no doubting the fact that they truly deserved it either, taking down their two biggest rivals of the year in Na’Vi and Vitality on the way to besting their old rivals.
For Liquid, it marks the end of an era. They’ve had a long struggle this year relocating to Europe and competing in this new online era, so it was nice to see them round things off with a grand final appearance back at the top.