Steven R. March 1, 2019
If there were any doubts about Astralis at the 2019 Katowice Major, the Danish team quashed them with a dominant semifinals performance.
Astralis rocked Ninjas in Pyjamas in the Champions Stage quarterfinals. Though the series was not without drama, it still ended in a convincing 2-0 sweep for Astralis.
The match opened with Astralis in complete control. Emil "Magisk" Reif led Astralis to a 15-0 first half on Mirage, immediately establishing the team’s dominance. NiP managed to avoid being swept off the map by taking the second half pistol round, but it made little difference as Astralis won 16-2.
The second game on Dust 2 looked to be headed in a similar direction. Astralis looked dominant early and took an 11-4 lead into halftime. NiP rallied hard in the second half, took the lead late, and moved to steal victory in the final rounds. That precarious situation awakened a sleeping giant in Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth, who shut down the comeback and sealed a 16-14 win for Astralis by racking up eight kills in the final three rounds.
Though the match was tight at the end, the series was still a brilliant display from Astralis. The team showed off its excellent coordination, individual talent, and resilience in knocking out its veteran opponents from NiP.
It will need those same tools in the semifinals as Astralis takes on MiBR. The Brazilians looked formidable opposite Renegades earlier in the day, cruising to a 2-0 series win of its own.
As for NiP, Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund and company still had an excellent run in Katowice. The Swedish stars will enjoy Legend status for the first time since 2016 and have a spot in September’s Berlin Major locked down, allowing it to skip a crowded European qualifier.