Astralis Emerge Victorious from ECS Season 8 Finals
This weekend Season 8 of FACEIT's Esports Championship Series came to a head in Arlington, Texas. The event was a culmination of two months of online play, which resulted in eight teams qualifying for the offline event.
While it had a $500,000 USD prize pool up for grabs, the event also offered a look at where some of CS:GO's major teams were at. The last months of the year are packed with events, which has caused several teams to be travelling for a large portion of them. At some point, wear and tear from this is bound to show.
Astralis looked to be in a good place in that regard. The IEM Beijing champions were able to keep their momentum from that event going, which translated into a group topping performance here. Meeting Evil Geniuses in the semi-finals, they gave up a game on Nuke, but still reached the grand finals in convincing fashion.
That Team Liquid has not been performing well of late was not apparent in their performance here either. Their group was arguably the stronger, but they too came out unscathed, only dropping one map to Fnatic in semis to once again meet up with their nemesis.
Clash of the titans
Astralis and Liquid have now met nine times this year. The former has won six of these engagements, with it being five encounters since they last had to admit defeat. The North Americans had their work cut out for them.
They had clearly come with a plan, however, ambushing Astralis with a Vertigo pick off the bat. Considering how the latter have been performing on this map, the choice was unexpected. Perhaps that’s why it ended up working so well for TL, who turned a quick lead into a 11-4 first half. Astralis returned the favor during the second, but in overtime Liquid pushed to a 19-15 victory.
Astralis' pick of Nuke was next. Here the teams opened trading blows, ending 8-7 in favor of Liquid before the change. Things were looking good for them, but the Danish defense rallied and managed 9 round streak, which ended in a 16-11 map win.
This left Dust2 to decide it all. Here, Astralis had already put 12-3 on the board by halftime. While Liquid would start the second half strong, it wouldn't be enough for them to take the series.
Instead, it was Astralis who went home with another tournament win. The timing of this was auspicious for the organization, which is looking to go public on December 9th. Nicolai "device" Reedtz was named MVP of the season. It’s his fourth time receiving the honor which, incidentally, coincides with each season his team won the main event.
As for Liquid, they have once more failed to slay their dragon, but the year is not done just yet. Both finalists are expected to play at the ESL Pro League S10 Finals this week, as well the BLAST Pro Global Final the one after. Perhaps either of those will prove the charm.
Main Image Credit - David Doran | ESPAT Media