Astralis added another trophy to their cabinet by reigning supreme at IEM Chicago on Sunday. The Danes dismantled Team Liquid 3-0 on their own North American turf to win their seventh event in 2018.
Team Liquid kept the lead for the entirety of Mirage up until the very last rounds. Epitácio “TACO” de Melo and Keith “NAF” Markovic were phenomenal for the blue-white jerseys but all the firepower could not hold their rivals at bay. In a flashback to the semifinal against Fnatic yesterday, Astralis rallied in the last rounds to close it 16-14, stealing a map that was going so well for Liquid.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) November 11, 2018
Robbed on what should have been their best map against Astralis, Liquid entered Nuke — the Danes’ 100 percent win-rate map. And the stats told that exact story again: if Mirage was highly contest, Nuke was anything but. By the 23rd round, the reigning Major champions were up 2-0 and on championship point, their Nuke record now extended to 24-0.
Liquid’s semblance of tempo on Inferno lasted for exactly four rounds off the back of a won pistol, before the half went 11-4 to Astralis. The realization of imminent defeat was evident on Liquid’s faces and while the North Americans tried to unsuccessfully take a round on their CT side, the game was merely going through the motions for Astralis. Inferno ended 16-4, as the men behind leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander were once again victorious, only losing once to Liquid in their last ten face-offs.
The IEM Chicago win means that Astralis are one more championship away from winning the $1 milion Intel Grand Slam and further establishing their era. The Danes will get the chance to do that in front of their home crowd in Odense where the ESL Pro League Season 8 finals will take place. For now, though, Astralis will be content with banking $100,000 from their Chicago trip.
IEM Chicago standings
1st place: Astralis — $100,000
2nd place: Team Liquid — $42,000
3rd-4th place: FaZe Clan — $20,000
3rd-4th place: Fnatic — $20,000
5-6th place: Team LDLC — $10,000
5-6th place: mousesports — $10,000
7-8th place: NRG Esports — $6,000
7-8th place: Luminosity Gaming — $6,000