Steven R. September 29, 2019
Evil Geniuses’ investment into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is already paying off.
In their debut under a new banner, the former NRG Esports squad picked up a huge win at ESL One New York. The team took a convincing 3-1 win over Astralis in the grand finals of the event to earn one of their biggest live event victories to date.
The series was a best-of-five, something that seemingly favored Astralis as they have a history of success on maps like Nuke and have also been surging on Overpass and Vertigo recently. Evil Geniuses banned away Overpass while Astralis got rid of Mirage. The map order was then set to be Inferno, Dust 2, Train, Nuke, and Vertigo.
That put Evil Geniuses into a spot where they needed to establish themselves early, something they did on Inferno.
Evil Geniuses puts pedal to metal against Astralis in ESL One New York Finals
The blue side started on the CT side and kicked off the map with five straight rounds. Astralis got on the board, but EG immediately retook control and bludgeoned Astralis. Almost every play Evil Geniuses made worked out, with Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte making the difference when things started to go off the rails. Astralis fell behind badly and never found a chance to stem the bleeding, leading to a rough 16-3 loss to start the series.
Things moved to Dust 2 from there and quickly went wild. Astralis took the pistol round only to have Tarik “tarik” Celik deny the conversion with some P250 heroics. That kicked off a back-and-forth first half that ended with an 8-7 score favoring Astralis.
The Danes seemed ready to close things out when they started the second half with four rounds in a row, but the wheels came off from there with Astralis surrendering a pair of rounds when the team lost after being unable to plant the bomb in time. Whether that frustrated them or was indicative of a lack of coordination is ultimately irrelevant, as it led to a nine-round skid that gave Evil Geniuses a 16-12 win to advance to match point.
The third map on Train started with another strong opening from Evil Geniuses, using the CT advantage on the map to sprint to a 7-2 lead. Astralis came back hard and managed to take the lead early in the second half. Cvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov came through huge for Evil Geniuses, making key plays to swing the momentum back in EG's favor.
Astralis’ economy was bled dry and they couldn’t finesse their way to wins eco rounds. They conceded match point to Evil Geniuses but mustered up enough money, enough willpower, and enough kills to force overtime.
The first overtime set was a wash, with Astralis opening well only to have CeRq rally Evil Geniuses. The second overtime started the same with Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen propelling Astralis to map point. This time, the Danes held on and took the 22-20 victory.
EG makes a championship debut in Counter-Strike
The series went to Nuke from there, which hinted that a reverse sweep may be in the making. The trouble is that while Astralis has a reputation for being unstoppable on Nuke, the team just hasn’t lived up to that since having its 31-game winning streak on the map broken by ENCE in May.
Evil Geniuses got out to a massive early lead thanks to big openings from Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz and Brehze. Astralis recovered and nearly knotted things up by halftime, but Evil Geniuses took complete control from there.
They took the second pistol round, converted, and didn’t let Astralis back into the game. Astralis could only muster up one more round, which set up EG with the 16-8 win to win a dominant series 3-1.
It’s an emphatic win for Evil Geniuses’ players and the organization itself. The players got revenge on the team that knocked them out of the StarLadder Berlin Major while the blue brand is instantly positioned for a return to Counter-Strike that is impossible to ignore.
The team gains an extra boost as they head into a hectic fall season as they will quickly turn around to compete at DreamHack Masters Malmo.