Astralis adds their 7th title - this year alone in their already stacked trophy cabinet after beating Team Liquid 3-0 in a lopsided grand finals at the Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII – Chicago
The Danish group proved their superiority once again as they climbed all the way from the quarterfinals. Initially losing to Faze Clan at the finals of the group stage, the Danes were forced to begin their run at the quarters where they finished off mouseports 2-0 before taking care of a relentless Fnatic in the semis.
The same goes for Liquid who spoiled Team LDLC’s return to tier 1 relevance before upsetting Faze Clan. Blowout has been the name of the game for the North American group as they lost their opener 7-16 (Inferno) to the Europeans before muscling their way with an impressive 16-1 and 16-4 (Mirage and Cache) beat down to advance to the grand finals.
Map 1: Mirage
Liquid picked Mirage for a reason – it is one of their best map picks at the tournament that gave them convenient wins over LDLC and Faze.
Astralis tried to think otherwise as they began T side strong behind Emil "Magisk" Reif tapping four kills to prevent a Liquid retake in the pistol round. But Liquid immediately answered as soon as they earned a gun round by tallying an 8-1 run to overtake and assure a lead at the end of the half which they took 9-6.
Things looked bad for the Danes after Liquid jumpstarted the second half by taking the pistols and both anti eco rounds to lead 12-6. Luckily for them, they managed to turn the heat on after establishing their economy by winning four consecutive rounds. Keith "NAF" Markovic tried saving the day for Liquid with a 1v2 clutch plant, but Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen came bigger as he led Astralis to win six consecutive rounds to take Mirage 14-16.
Map 2: Nuke
Astralis holds one of the longest records in Nuke being undefeated on LAN since December 2017. They just showed how Danes play Nuke with a whopping 6-1 opener on T side. Liquid despite the pressure seized a decent 5-1 run to cut the deficit to three at the end of the half.
The switch worsened things for the home group after Astralis displayed tight defense on CT, limiting Liquid to just two bomb plants and one round win to close out 16-7 and move closer towards the title.
Map 3: Inferno
Inferno started well for Liquid as they opened strong 3-0. But as soon as Astralis established their economy, the momentum immediately swung. dupreeh led the Danes as they bulldozed their way with rock hard defense to win all but one of the succeeding rounds for the first half 11-4.
Desperate to get something going, Liquid tried their best to make the most out of the switch, but Nicolai "device" Reedtz denied them via 3 kills at the pistol. They followed up with two more anti ecos and a gun round deny to eventually win the Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII – Chicago title.
Astralis now has a total of three victories at the Intel Grand Slam Season 1. They are just one win away from bagging home the $1,000,000 USD prize for winning 4 ESL and DreamHack events under a window of 10 consecutive events. They have one of two chances from doing so in front of Faze Clan who have two registered wins.