Big things could be just around the corner for NRG Esports.
The North American squad scored an impressive win over Astralis in round three of the StarLadder Berlin Major Legends Stage. That advances their record to 3-0, giving them a spot in the Champions Stage playoffs and a guaranteed spot in the next Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major.
Game one initially looked like it would be a quick one. NRG Esports got out to a hot start on Train despite playing on the T side, opening the game 6-0 and advancing to 10-5 by halftime. While that kind of success would typically forebode a lopsided win, Astralis fired back hard in the second half by winning the first seven rounds to take the lead and advance to map point. NRG battled back and won the last four rounds of regulation to force overtime, kicking off what evolved into a marathon game.
Each individual overtime period followed the same pattern. One team got an early lead and looked ready to close it out, only to have the other side battle back and force a reset through some absurd heroics. This included an ace from Cvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov and a razor-thin denial of a ninja defusal from Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz. Both teams stayed strong, but Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte and Tarik “tarik” Celik were able to lock things up for NRG Esports with a late rally.
Whether that marathon of a game sucked some of the life out of Astralis or NRG was just feeling invigorated, the next showdown on Nuke was a swift one.
After winning the pistol round, NRG was spurred to a massive early lead by a series of plays from Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz. Astralis couldn’t seem to get anything going after that, sputtering to a 16-4 loss which closed the series 2-0 in NRG’s favor.
The StarLadder Berlin Major has been a surprising event thus far. The Challengers Stage saw favorites Team Vitality and Furia Esports post underwhelming performances, and the Legends Stage has been no different to this point.
That puts a premium on teams that are riding a hot streak in Berlin and NRG Esports certainly fits that bill.
Though their event started with a surprising overtime loss to DreamEaters, NRG hasn’t dropped a map since. Their performance in the Legends Stage has been beyond reproach, with the team taking wins off Renegades and Team Liquid beforehand. Now holding wins over two of the tournament’s favorites, it’s getting hard to doubt NRG’s chances.
The team certainly has a tough road ahead with ENCE Esports looking similarly powerful en route to their 3-0 start. But much like the Finns, NRG Esports can relax while they wait to find out who they will face in the playoffs.