Nick J. November 28, 2019
Astralis almost dropped their opening match against Sharks Esports at the ECS Season 8 Finals, with the Brazillian team taking the fight to Astralis better than anyone had thought possible.
Despite taking the first pistol round, the number one team in the world gave up seven rounds on the favored side of Nuke to a team barely anyone had heard of just a year ago. Casters and fans alike were stunned at how poorly Astralis handled the up-and-comers on a map that is considered home for the Danes.
The nailbiter of a match came after the first two matches of the day went just as expected. Earlier in the day, Evil Geniuses took down AVANGAR and Team Liquid beat Ninjas in Pyjamas handidly. After the first two matches went as planned, it wasn't a stretch to think that Astralis could take care of Sharks Esports on a map the Danes are notoriously good on.
The Sharks had different ideas for Nuke, however.
Sharks take Astralis to overtime, show Astralis isn't invincible
The Sharks came at Astralis with everything they had, marking what feels like the first real upset of the ECS Season 8 Finals despite the fact they lost. It all started with a Leonardo "leo_drunky" Oliveira post-plant where the rifler managed to defend the bomb against three of the best players in the world in round 3. After that, it was off to the races on Nuke.
The Brazillians put up four in a row to take the lead before Astralis found a foothold. Even then, the Danes only managed to trade rounds back and forth before the first half ended 8-7 in their favor.
The Sharks took the second pistol, but Astralis would take the third-round buy and continue the trading game. At one point, it looked like there was a serious chance that the world’s number one Counter-Strike team would take a loss to a Sharks Esports team ranked 38th.
Unfortunately for Sharks Esports, Astralis quickly ended the game in the first overtime. The final score was 19-15.
Astralis’ trouble with the Sharks doesn’t bode well for the Danes, but should come as a relief for the other teams at the ECS Finals. Astralis looked legitimately weak against the Sharks on a map they're famously good on. That makes Astralis a much less intimidating team to play against, especially if you're the likes of Fnatic, EG or Team Liquid.
If the Sharks can take Astralis to their limits, pretty much anything is up for grabs at the ECS Season 10 Finals.
Luken and the Sharks show they're legit at ECS
Luca “Luken” Nadotti put on an absolute show on Nuke today, and its safe to say that his play had a massive impact on how the match unfolded. In round 28, Luken managed to grab three Astralis players as they aggressed the B-site, guaranteeing the Sharks match point. Astralis would win the ensuing round and send the game to an unexpected overtime.
That was only one of his game-changing plays. Luken ended overtime with 105.8 ADR and a total of 32 kills.
While it only took Astralis a single overtime to take the win on Nuke, Emil "Magisk" Reif had high praise for the Brazillian team in a post-game interview with Sue "Smix" Lee.
Astralis will play the winner of the final match of day one between MIBR and Fnatic on November 28, while Sharks Esports and their newfound confidence will play the loser of that match on November 29 in an elimination game.