Astralis win IEM Chicago

Astralis took home yet another trophy in Chicago after beating the home side Team Liquid 3-0 in the BO5 grand final.

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The journey to the championship title began in the Quarter-finals where they faced Mousesports. This series began relatively easily for the Danes on the first map of Train. Here, Astralis looked to have a dominant CT side, despite losing the pistol and subsequent 2 rounds the Danish side put up a stalwart defence on this map securing themselves a 10-5 first half. After this the Danish dominance continued as Astralis clean swept the second half, rounding off the first game 16-5. However, Nuke would be a much more competitive affair. Despite Astralis’ reputation for having the best T side in the world on Nuke, Mousesports put up and impressive first half scraping together a respectable 7 rounds. Following this, Mousesports gained the upper hand going 11-8 after the pistol round granted them a hot streak entry back into this game. Despite this, a monstrous 33-kill performance from Device would prove to be too much for Mousesports to handle and allowed Astralis to close the series out with a 16-13.

In the other Quarter-final, Liquid and LDLC had an utter brawl of a series.

It all began on Overpass and began evenly with LDLC narrowly edging out an 8-7 first half. Afterwards, Liquid seemed to be revitalised after winning 4 of the first 5 rounds in the second half. However, LDLC began to gain momentum after this and claimed a 16-11 victory despite Elige putting up a respectable 26 kill game. Next, it was Cache. This map started out incredibly poorly for Liquid as LDLC asserted their dominance on the T side earning and 11-4 first half. Yet, in the second half, Team Liquid began to awaken. Canadian star player Twistzz had an incredible game in the second half that earned him 30 kills total in the game and a 103.4ADR. This performance gave Liquid the power to struggle back into the game and eventually claim victory 16-14. After this, LDLC appeared to be mentally broken and Liquid rolled over them with a 16-4 win on Mirage, winning the series 2-1.

As a new day dawned in Chicago, the Semi-finals were upon us.

The first of which would be Astralis vs Fnatic. The series started off on Dust 2 and appeared to be the Astralis show where they picked up a dominant 12-3 first half and after winning the first two round of the second, the game looked all but finished. But Fnatic weren’t out just yet. Fnatic wins the subsequent three rounds but concede one, putting Astralis on map point. Staggeringly, Fnatic then lasted 8 consecutive match point rounds before falling at the last hurdle and losing the map 16-14. Twist was the star player of this map with a 31-kill game. On Mirage, Fnatic seemed to continue their comeback convincingly defeated Astralis 16-12. Inferno would prove to be the decider of this series and it looked like Fnatic had all but won after securing an 11-4 first half. Nevertheless, Astralis showed of their world-class ability to play under pressure mirroring Fnatic’s 11-4 T side and forcing the final game to overtime. Astralis then managed to edge out the game 19-17 and progress to the final.

Next up would be Team Liquid vs FaZe Clan. This series looked like it favoured the Europeans after the first map as FaZe convincingly defeated Liquid on their map pick of Inferno 16-7. Next, when it came to FaZe’s pick of Mirage, Liquid had an insane resurgence and dominated the Europeans 16-1 with Twistzz, Nitro and NAF all having a 100% KAST ratio(Kill, Assist, Survived, Traded). On Cache, Liquid earned their spot in the Grand-finals by defeating FaZe 16-4.

At last, the Final was upon us. Home Team Liquid vs World No.1 Astralis. The first map of the BO5 series would be Mirage. Magisk kicked this game off with an incredible pistol round earning himself a quad-kill. Despite this, Liquid continued to show their strength on Mirage and earned themselves a 9-6 first half victory. Liquid seemed to be able to take this map as they went 14-10 up midway through the second half. Nevertheless, Astralis stood up to the task and closed out the first map 16-14. Next up would be Nuke, Liquid weren’t expected to have much of a chance on this one due to Astralis’ excellent calibre of Nuke play. That proved to be the case as Astralis secured a 16-7 win in this one. Inferno would be Liquid’s final chance of finding a way back into this series but ultimately it wouldn’t be the case as Astralis crushed the American’s hopes of a title with a 16-4 victory.

This series would be the one that named Astralis as the Inaugural IEM Chicago champions, earning them $100,000 and their third title in the Intel Grand Slam putting them one title away from the $1,000,000 prize.

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