Steven R. November 19, 2018
Astralis are the champions of Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII.
The Danish squad added another trophy to its mantel in Chicago by taking first place at the event with a 3-0 win over Team Liquid in the grand finals. Though it managed to knot up the top spot with a sweep, Astralis didn’t skate through the tournament by any means.
The team started its run with a pair of solid wins over MVP.PK and North in Group A. That set Astralis up in the upper bracket finals for a best-of-three with Faze Clan. After taking a tough 16-7 loss on Mirage in game one, Astralis battled back in a highly competitive game two that went to overtime. FaZe got the better of Astralis once again to seal the set with a 19-16 win.
The loss forced Astralis to start its playoff journey in the quarterfinals opposite Mousesports, where the Danes took a dominant 2-0 series win. That victory allowed the team to advance to the semi-finals for a showdown with European rival Fnatic.
This series would prove to be the highlight of the entire event.
Game one on Dust2 saw Astralis dominate the first half in racking up a 12-3 lead, but nearly throw away the win in the second. The team managed to hold it together but needed all 30 rounds to manage a 16-14 win. The momentum had firmly shifted by this point, and Fnatic capitalized by taking a solid 16-12 win on Mirage in game two.
The deciding game on Inferno initially had the look of a runaway win for Fnatic, who went 11-4 in the first half. But Astralis matched that mark in the second thanks to late-game heroics by Andreas "Xyp9x" Hojsleth. That pushed the match to a deciding overtime, where Astralis found a 19-17 victory.
Whether it had shaken off the rust from a light October schedule or simply gotten fed up with the intensity, Astralis had minimal trouble in the grand final opposite Liquid. After a back-and-forth game one that went the full 30 rounds, Astralis broke away with lopsided 16-7 and 16-4 wins to take first place and the $100,000 prize.
This latest championship continues what has been a banner year for Astralis, who also claimed wins at ESL Pro League Season 7, the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier, and at FACEIT Major: London. They won’t get much of a chance to revel in their victory however, as they immediately have to shift their focus to the ECS Season 6 finals on November 22.