Both NiP and Astralis came into the match looking for the grand final spot, but the Ninjas played like they had nothing to lose. After digging an early hole on train, Ninjas in Pyjamas ran it back with six rounds to end the first half on Train 7-9 in the BLAST Global Final upper bracket semifinal.
Despite eventually taking the loss on Train 16-12, NiP showed some impressive plays on the map. At one point, Fredrick “rez” Sterner pulled off a clean triple kill from inside ladder room during a Ninja’s eco round.
Another clutch by Rez put pulled the match even closer as almost every Ninjas member put in their share of work on the team’s CT side.
NiP threw conventional Train play out the window on the CT side. They threw everything they had at Astralis, including just flying up ladder room and grabbing an opening kill or two. Either the Ninjas played like they had nothing to lose, or Björn “THREAT” Pers had a game plan from the start.
Astralis has let several teams come back against them after amassing large leads. But they’re still winning these games, as Astralis has the ability to turn it on when it matters the most.
The most concerning player on Astralis was Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, who went 12-15 after performing well in recent tournaments.
Train was the perfect example that anyone games should at least consider betting the underdog at better odds. They do look strong. But they’re beatable enough to drop a series here or there.
To NiP’s credit, they’re a much better team than they were a year ago, but they’re still not good enough to break Astralis in a best-of-three.
For some, Astralis latest win restores faith in the team, but it poses questions for others. If the team really is the same one from last year, where is the dominance? Where are the blowout matches?
Astralis often turns up against teams like the Ninjas, that’s for sure. Astralis won Train 16-11 and Nuke 16-8, so it’s possible they’re still on the upswing. After Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth starts turning in plays like these again, it’s hard to continue to doubt them.