Steven R. February 21, 2019
Astralis is living up to its favorite status at the 2019 Katowice Major.
On Day 2 of the New Legends Stage, Astralis scored a 2-1 victory over Renegades. That win advanced the team’s record to 3-0 and establishes it as the first to qualify for the Champions Stage playoffs.
The opening contest on Mirage was shaping up to be a squash. Despite dropping both pistol rounds, Astralis managed to rack up a massive 14-5 lead and looked poised to close out the game as the Australians struggled to crack through an imposing defense. Things shifted hard in the second half when Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad and Justin "jks" Savage came online, leading Renegades to break off 10 rounds in a row.
Astralis finally got back on track in the 30th round to force overtime, but Renegades’ momentum was too much, leading to a 19-17 win for the Aussies.
The tide turned on Nuke. Playing on one of its favorite maps, Astralis posted a solid first half on T side before blanking Renegades with 10 straight CT rounds to close out the game 16-9. That dominant victory seemed to suck the wind out of Renegades’ sails.
Despite winning the game three pistol round, Renegades struggled to find any kind of offensive success on the deciding map. Successful saves and bomb plants were hard to find for Renegades, and kills became more scarce as the game went on. Renegades slid its way down to a disappointing 16-2 loss to end the series.
Though it took a bit longer to get there than most expected, the final outcome was hardly a surprise.
Astralis has been the consensus best team in Counter-Strike for some time now, with two major championships to the team’s name and a long list of first-place finishes at other events. Despite entering the Katowice Major following a second-place stumble at iBUYPOWER Masters IV, the team was the consensus favorite to win the tournament.
With its space in the Champions Stage playoff secure, Astralis gets to kick back and scout the opposition for the next week. It will return on February 28, facing the lowest-rated team to reach a 3-2 record in the New Legends Stage.
Meanwhile, Renegades still has two more opportunities to earn a spot in the playoffs.