Steven R. March 2, 2019
Astralis is headed to the finals of the 2019 Katowice Major, just as predicted.
Facing MiBR in the playoff semifinals, tournament favorite Astralis posted a convincing 2-0 victory. That seals for the team a spot in the grand finals of the event.
MiBR initially had the look of being a legitimate threat to Astralis on its map pick, Overpass. Though Astralis got out to a hot start courtesy of Emil "Magisk" Reif notching seven kills in the first three rounds, MiBR tapped into its signature aggression to swing the momentum and leaned on Fernando "fer" Alvarenga’s clutch skills.
Astralis took back over after halftime thanks to strong output from Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen, but a triple kill from Epitácio "TACO" de Melo sparked a rally for MiBR. As team inched towards map point but once again, Astralis showed off its resilience by settling down and clinching the 16-14 win.
The second match on Inferno proved to be a frustrating one for MiBR. Though the Brazilians posted a good first half with big plays and solid ratios, the team struggled to actually win rounds, ceding the first half despite playing on the favored CT side.
MiBR began inching towards a comeback in the second half but Astralis left the Brazilians deflated and poor by taking a full eco round. That seemed to make MiBR revert to the timid, awkward style that it initially showed in Katowice and led to a 16-7 loss.
Now in the finals, Astralis sets its sights on ENCE.
The Finnish squad has transformed from an intriguing upstart to a real contender during the playoffs. Despite narrowly scraping its way through the group stages, ENCE kicked off the playoffs with a stunning upset of Team Liquid and earned its own spot in the grand final with a dramatic victory over Natus Vincere.
Though Astralis will enter the grand finals as the favorite over ENCE, the Danes will need to be on point in over to capture a third major title.