While there was a time where it looked like Astralis might actually drop more than a single game on their way to the final, the Danish superstars took down FaZe earlier in the week to lock up a grand finals appearance. G2 did the same by taking their semifinal series against FaZe 2-1. It was an unexpected result, with both FaZe and G2 taking wins on one another’s map picks.
Astralis actually looked like it might struggle early on in Europe’s Road to Rio, dropping a series against Fnatic and a map against Complexity and Ninjas in Pyjamas. But in true Astralis fashion, the Danes settled down and swept the remainder of the tournament.
The team secure its grand finals berth with 2-0 playoff wins against none other than G2 and FaZe. Astralis is once again atop the standings for both Road to Rio and the world, a tiring notion for fans who just want to see something a little bit different.
Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz has finished in the top two on his team over Astralis’ past four matches, totaling a combined 191-152 with an average 1.34 rating. That’s not even counting the fact that dev1ce is putting up better numbers against better teams than he is against worse ones. While dev1ce’s thought process in regards to Counter-Strike can hurt him against teams that don’t play like he thinks they will, its an incredible asset against teams that always “play the right way.”
Unless a team is making a player shout, “Why would he do that! It makes no sense,” dev1ce is going to perform well. Against veteran G2 AWPer Kenny “KennyS” Schrub, there likely won’t be any surprises for dev1ce, so expect him to continue his winning ways against G2. While this makes dev1ce a solid fantasy option, Astralis as a whole is a solid choice. While in-game leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander consistently sits at the bottom of the Astralis scoreboard, even he has gone positive over the past five series in Road to Rio. The question isn’t “how well will Astralis play,” it’s more like “How close can G2 make it?” The problem, as always, lies in Astralis’ map pool.
It’s crazy to think that Astralis has a 60% minimum win rate on every single of Counter-Strike’s seven available competitive maps. In tomorrow’s best-of-five showdown, that puts the Danes as the clear favorites. That success rate over the past three months isn’t even on LAN, with the entirety of these stats taking place online. With Astralis’ dominance in front of a crowd, some wondered whether they’d be able to keep it up online with no crowd to back them up or psych out their opponents. Well, Astralis has answered that question.
All the way back at IEM Katowice 2020, G2 nearly beat a surging Natus Vincere for the title. While they didn’t take home the trophy, one player showed that time hadn’t slowed him down as much as the fans and analysts had thought. KennyS seemed revitalized by the players around him and played in a form that fans hadn’t seen since his days with Titan eSports.
For some reason, KennyS has been decidedly average during G2’s push at Road to Rio. It’s unclear whether the change is due to the switch to online play or another factor, but the player to thank for G2’s Katowice run is now the one G2 is missing. KennyS isn’t holding G2 back by any means, but the team needs KennyS to be hot in order to qualify as a truly dangerous team.
Recently, it’s been G2 IGL Nemanja “nexa” Isaković that has taken the reins. nexa managed an impressive showing against a FaZe Clan that had many of its members running in top gear. His 75-47 scoreline came along with a 93.8 ADR while leading the entire server with a 1.39 rating over G2’s three maps against FaZe. Despite how good those numbers look, another performance like that still won’t be enough to carry G2 against Astralis.
It is enough to put him on the fantasy player radar.
As far as lines for Europe’s Road to Rio grand finals, Astralis should be able to take the best-of-five but don’t count out G2, especially if KennyS comes to play. After the first map, users should take a look at KennyS’s performance. If he’s posting higher than a 1.2 rating, a bet for G2 to take a map or two is a solid wager. The most concerning stat is G2’s desire to pick Dust 2. The team owns a dreadful 35.3% win rate on the classic map.
Stay away from pistol round bets unless you’re betting is Astralis’ favor. The Danes hold a 60.5% pistol round win rate. Some bettors may be tempted to capitalize on G2’s ability to win the second round after winning the pistol, but don’t buy into that one. Astralis also boasts a remarkable 87% second-round win percentage after winning the pistol round.
Instead, look for G2 to perform on their one strength. If they can sneak Mirage through the veto, as unlikely as that scenario is, they’re almost a sure winner on the map. It’s the one map Astralis avoids like the plague, and its also the map G2 baited FaZe into in the semifinal matchup. Even if Mirage doesn’t come out, G2 is a contender on the majority of the others. It really all depends on whether KennyS comes out to play.