Forward Gaming and J.Storm eliminated from the Kuala Lumpur Major.

Today’s final games at the Kuala Lumpur Major saw Fnatic and Evil Genius stay alive at the Dota 2 Major. With the lower bracket matches all featuring elimination matchups, it was crucial for the teams to win the series.

Fnatic wins 2-1 over J.storm.

Fnatic went up against J.Storm in a closely contested series. With the first game seeing a very team fight focussed lineup on both sides, positioning and timing was important. Fnatic saw Meepo and Enigma on their team, while J.Storm had a Spectre and Earthshaker. Despite having a Meepo against a Spectre, the game did draw out very long. With Spectre as the late game carry, the game was slowly tilting away from Fnatic and rightfully so. Meepo does taper off towards the late game and Spectre has scope for growth. J.Storm won Game 1 and it was off some fantastic team fights and excellent positioning.

Game 2 was quite similar to the first game in the way the teams were positioned. However, there was no super late game carry for J.storm to rely on. At the same time, Fnatic kept poking and prodding at J.Storm until they were able to find their perfect team fight. The third game was a wipeout as Fnatic took the lead in the early game and never let go of their control over J.Storm. The momentum on their side, Fnatic looked extremely strong and dominant on this map.

Despite the loss, J.Storm definitely is a team that, on another day, would have easily defeated Fnatic. For now, they will have to attempt again in the next Dota 2 Major.

Evil Geniuses eliminate Forward Gaming.

The first game was a clean sweep for Evil Geniuses. They had an early lead and they made sure to grow this lead even further. Rtz’s Arc Warden was simply too much for the Forward Gaming roster to handle. It was a game that Forward Gaming would just leave behind them as they prepared mentally for the next game. Outdrafted and outskilled in the game, Forward Gaming was in no mood to give up just yet.

The second game saw Forward Gaming get their hands on a very good set of heroes. With Lina, Pugna, Spectre on one team, the slow siege and the apparent farm in the late game was a long drawn-out process. Both the teams waited for the opponents to make a mistake. They would often wait for high ground hoping that the other team makes a mistake. However, Foward Gaming was definitely the more aggressive one, constantly finding multiple Evil Geniuses players’ unawares and out of position. With so much lockdown in the form of Lina, Shadow shaman etc; they had a relatively easy time controlling the pace of the game.

The third game was a relatively lacklustre performance by Forward Gaming. Despite this, they were able to put up some really strong individual performances. However, S4 was crucial in ensuring a strong performance in this game. His axe controlled the opponents and allowed the space for Sumail and Arteezy to take control of the game. We saw Rtz once again on the Arc Warden. While he did not have the same effect in this game like Game 1, the rest of the team stepped up to ensure that Evil Geniuses stays alive in the Dota 2 Major.

The Kuala Lumpur Major will continue with the upper bracket matches tomorrow.

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Gambit reveal their full lineup after adding Ax1le to their roster

Gambit has announced the addition of their fifth player to their roster. The CIS team will be adding Ax1le to their Counter-Strike team and with this, they have a full five man roster. Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov is a young talent from the region. Barely 16 years old, he has already proven his worth on other teams such as 5Balls.

While their performance in recent months was nothing to write home about, Ax1le was definitely a shining light on the roster. With a 1.12 rating on HLTV, Ax1le’s addition to the team means that Gambit is preparing for the long haul. They recently made multiple roster changes to the team. They added D1masick to the roster. He has experience playing with several of the players on this roster [ in previous teams].

Gambit has been on a slump since several months now. What started as a Major victory quickly turned sour for the CIS team. They were unable to retain Zeus and Kane, the two architects of their PGL Krakow Major. Following this, they did make changes, but nothing seemed to be working for the team.

Dimasick and Ax1le

Dimasick was recently added to the roster. His presence in the CIS region and his familiarity with the existing roster makes him a perfect fit for the team. Ax1le is not really an experienced player but he shows a lot of promise. We can only expect good things to come from this player.

Gambit will debut their new roster at the closed qualifier for the CIS region. In addition to this, they are also scheduled to participate in the SuperNova CS:GO Malta.

The final roster for Gambit Gaming is as follows:

  • Mihail “Dosia” Stolyarov
  • Rustem “mou” Telepov
  • Nikolay “mir” Bityukov
  • Dmitry “dimasick” Matvienko
  • Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov

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IEM Sydney 2019 tournament and details announced.

ESL returns to Australia for the third consecutive year with IEM Sydney 2019. What started in 2017 as a new adventure turns out to be a regular pitstop in the ESL calendar year. WIth top teams attending the event every year, this tournament has seen a lot of interest. Last year, it was Faze Clan that took home the trophy after a dominating 3-0 victory over Astralis.

Unfortunately for them, this also marked the rise of Astralis into their top form. It culminated with the Danish team winning the FaceIT London major. Even now, Astralis remains a top-tier roster with wins such as the Blast Pro Series, IEM Chicago 2018 etc.

IEM Sydney 2019

This tournament will take place from May 3 to May 5. It will be held at the familiar Qudos Bank Arena. Featuring a prize pool of $250,000 and sixteen teams in participation we can be sure that it is going to be an extremely exciting tournament.

IEM Sydney is unique because of the crowd. It is a very energetic and loud crowd in Sydney with no favourites for the most part.

IEM Sydney is quickly becoming a staple esports event not just in Australia but globally and it’s something we’re incredibly proud of.

It’s a true testament to the strength of esports in our country, and we’ll be working hard to ensure it’s another unforgettable experience for every person who attends.

Nick Vanzetti

IEM Sydney is the biggest esports event in Australia and this year there is going to be an increased focus on Asian and Pacific teams. As such, it presents a unique opportunity for the local teams to prove their worth against some of the best in the world. It is also a means for them to gain experience playing alongside or against the top CS: GO teams.

What we have managed to build in just two years with ESL Australia and the ANZ gaming community is absolutely incredible. IEM Sydney is quickly becoming a staple esports event not just in Australia but globally and it’s something we’re incredibly proud of.

Michał Blicharz, VP of Pro Gaming at ESL

IEM Sydney 2019 tickets go on sale from November 16th, 2018.

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Dreamhack reveals more details for Atlanta 2018 event.

Dreamhack has announced further details of its upcoming tournament the Dreamhack Atlanta 2018. The tournament features a prize pool of $100,000 and will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center. There will be a total of eight teams competing in a GSL format Group stage at the event.

The lineup for the event consists of several prominent Tier 2 teams such as EnVyUs, Complexity etc. These teams are a challenge to the top tiers in Counter-Strike but have not been able to provide consistent results. The eight teams are divided into two groups of four teams each.

Each group will see two teams proceed to the Playoffs / Semifinals. With all the schedule and the format for the tournament announced, we wait with excitement for the tournament to commence.

Dreamhack has been hosting tournaments all over the world in the past few years. Their venture into Atlanta is definitely an exciting prospect for fans as they will be able to see their favourite teams in action. For this tournament, Complexity, Rogue and Team Vitality are the overwhelming favourites.

The teams to watch out for

Complexity has shown us their capability at the FaceIT London Major 2018. The team’s performance at the major was a huge surprise for many. The team was able to upset some of the biggest names in Counter-Strike. Under the guidance of Stanislaw, they won matches against BIG Gaming, G2 as well as Space Soldiers. Complexity comes with a lot of experience on their roster especially when it comes to Tier 2 matches.

Hiko will be playing on Team Rogue, can they prove themselves to be a Top Team in North America?

Rogue recently made several roster changes, especially to their leadership position. With SL in control of the team, we hope to see this roster succeed. They have not had much time together with MSL and that might prove to be a limiting factor in this event. Regardless, this team has a lot of firepower and with Hiko on the roster, they have the potential for success.

Another team to watch out for during Dreamhack Atlanta 2018 is Team Vitality. This team has several former best players on their lineup. With the likes of NBK, Happy and Zywoo, no opponent can take this team lightly. Zywoo might be shy on stage, but his performance within the server is nothing short of an MVP.

Dreamhack Atlanta 2018 will commence on the 16th of November 2018.

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Pain Gaming and Alliance eliminated from the Kuala Lumpur Major.

The Kuala Lumpur Major is currently underway with the lower bracket matches in progress. Each lower bracket Round 2 match is a Best of Three series. The team that loses the match faces elimination from the tournament. At the same time, the winner gets another chance to prove his worth in the tournament.

Pain Gaming is now out of the Kuala Lumpur Major.

Pain X lost both their matches in Group D and were unable to prove themselves in the Group Stage. However, they did manage to win over Tigers in the Lower Bracket Round 1. The series saw Pain X use a core Venomancer who was able to deal a lot of damage in the team fights. On the part of Tigers, they chose a lineup with a very heavy focus on ultimates. With heroes like Silencer, Magnus, Enigma, Tigers was unable to time their usage properly.

Pain X played against Vici Gaming today. The Best of Three series saw Vici Gaming win 2-0 over Pain X in sub-40 minute matches. The first game saw Vici Gaming use extremely tanky characters to sustain the initial pressure from Pain X. Vici Gaming only needed to survive the initial burst damage. After that, it was a simple case of the Chinese team diving forth to secure the lead. Despite having Mirana and Lina on their lineup, PainX was not always able to take down the Phoenix Supernova in team fights. This highlights the positioning and the performance of the Vici Gaming players.

The second game saw Pain x pick up the storm spirit. But Vici Gaming had a much better draft with heroes like Enigma, Monkey King and Batrider. The lockdown available on the Chinese squad was just too good. They had no control over the Vici Gaming roster which allowed free reign for Vici Gaming. This game was even easier for the Chinese Squad than Game 1. Overall, despite having a somewhat competitive draft, Pain X was outmatched by Vici Gaming.

Pain X should still be happy with their performance. They will look forward to adding a new coach very soon. This should help them provide better results in Dota 2 events.

Alliance bow out in the Lower Bracket

Former TI champions Alliance are no longer a contender at the Kuala Lumpur 2018 Dota 2 Major. The Swedish team lost 0-2 to TNC Predator who had a core Shadow Shaman. It is very rare to see Shadow Shaman used in a core role. However, once Shadow Shaman got his BKB, he was the reason TNC Predator could control, lockdown and eliminate Alliance’s Morphling. The multiple BKB strategy on all their cores ensured that Morphling was unable to escape. There were instances when Morphling could not be locked down and there was no real counter for the character.

TNC Predator kept their map vision and area control alive throughout the map. Their ability to ensure quick decisive dives on the Alliance lineup saw them emerge victorious in Game 1.

Game 2 saw Alliance being totally confused with the draft. Probably over-thinking TNC predators lanes, they ended up sending Ursa mid versus TA. Templar Assasin had a very free lane for the most part and was able to quickly farm up crucial items. Ursa had only supports for the company when it came to the networth. He never really became the big force that was needed off the hero to become a success in the lineup. It was a gamble, one that did not go in the favour of Alliance.

There are still two more Lower Bracket Matches remaining for the day in the Major. Fnatic takes on J.storm in one match while the other match will see Evil Genius and Forward Gaming compete for survival. You can catch all the action live on Twitch.

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Dallas Fuel sign rCk to their Overwatch League roster.

Overwatch League team Dallas Fuel has announced the signing of a new off-tank player ‘rcK’ to their roster. The Dallas Fuel team was one of the most controversial teams during Season 1 of the Overwatch League.

Richard “rCk” Kanerva is the latest Finnish player to join the Overwatch League. Apart from the South Korean players, Finland produces one of the largest concentration of players in the Overwatch League. rCk will be the ninth player to join the Dallas Fuel’s Overwatch roster.

Who is rCk?

rCk was a part of Team Gigantti from the start of 2018. Prior to that, he represented ENCE Esports. With Team Gigantti, rCk won both the Assembly Summer as well as Assembly Winter. The player usually plays D’va and is crucial to his team’s performance. His ability to peel for his teammates and providing them with adequate cover is crucial to the team’s overall performance.

rCK has a great attitude and that is crucial for the team chemistry going forward. Being on ENCE and Gigantti, he is one of the more successful Finnish Overwatch Players. He has excellent communication skills and the right attitude to be on a top tier team.

With players like Effect already endorsing rCk, we can expect some good synergy between the frontline and the tank line of Dallas Fuel. For most of Season 1, the Dallas Fuel has suffered from one controversy or another. They were unable to find the right mix despite having some of the most talented players in the scene.

The current roster for Dallas Fuel is as follows:

  • Dylan “aKm” Bignet – DPS
  • Richard “rCk” Kanerva – Flex
  • Min-seok “OGE” Son – Tank
  • Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson – Support

EnVyUs owner Hastr0 has promised more additions to the team very soon. The Overwatch league Season 2 starts on the 14th of February 2019.

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Astralis win 3-0 versus Team Liquid to lift IEM Chicago 2018 Trophy.

The stage was set for the Grand finals between Astralis and Team Liquid. These two teams have found themselves on the opposite sides of the server with increasing frequency in the past few months. Unfortunately for Team liquid, they are yet to defeat Astralis in the Grand finals of a tournament. Astralis won IEM Chicago 2018 after a very dominant 3-0 win over the North American squad, Team Liquid.

This adds another tournament to the long list of titles where Team liquid falls to Astralis in the playoffs. There have been multiple occasions in the past when Astralis has easily been able to defeat Team liquid.

Here are a few instances:

  • ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals
  • ECS Season 5 Finals.
  • Eleague CS:GO Premier 2018
  • FaceIT London Major 2018
  • IEM Chicago 2018

The finals match was a Best of Three series between the two rivals. Team liquid, plagued by a map pool problem when going against Astralis was definitely the underdog going into the match. Their inability to be flexible with their map vetoes means that Astralis had a much easier time preparing for the North American squad.

Mirage – Team Liquid’s Map Choice.

Device MVP Trophy

The first map was Mirage, Team Liquid’s map pick. The first half of the map was lopsided towards Team liquid. They had a very strong defence, often rendering the Danish attack ineffective. However, it was also a map where Team Liquid’s star player, Elige had a very poor performance. With a final KDA of -12 at the end of the map, one wonders how the score would have turned if Elige had turned up for Map 1 in Chicago. Astralis won the first map 16-14, after a very close map. Their streak of rounds at the very end took them from 10-14 to 16-14, reminiscent of their win against Fnatic. What is it that enables Astralis to make such plays? It must be the belief in their ability to win any match from any situation.

Nuke: Astralis, still unbeaten

Elige had a poor performance at the IEM Chicago Grand Finals

Astralis has a 23 [ now 24 ] map win-streak on Nuke. The team is simply unbeatable on the map and it is due to their excellent mid-round calls. Glaive and Zonic have mastered the way the team plays this map with a quick gathering of intelligence and changing course mid-round. It is not rare to see Astralis abandon a plan mid-way and change their approach to the round [ at very fast speeds ] suddenly.

The first half saw Astralis put together multiple rounds after taking the first pistol on the T side. Team Liquid did manage to string together a few rounds towards the end of the First half. However, Astralis securing 9 rounds was more than enough on the T side. Once on the CT side, it seemed like Team liquid did not have a plan. Despite being one of the top Nuke CS: GO teams, Team Liquid were often running at Astralis alone, giving them multiple 1v1 battles. Astralis would go on to win every one of these duels and cement their advantage further. The North American squad only managed to win one round on their T side. They lost the map 7-16  to Astralis.

Inferno: Even better than Nuke.

Going into Inferno, there were high hopes that Team Liquid should be able to win this match. Team Liquid won the first pistol round and two subsequent rounds. This was the high point for team Liquid on this map. They won just one more round [ 7th round ]. The rest of the rounds are just Astralis winning round after round.

Overall the Danish squad was the stronger roster in the Grand Finals. Team Liquid once again fall to the Danish squad in their attempt to win tournaments. However, Team Liquid should not be disheartened with this result.

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Dota 2 Developer Valve comes out with a statement regarding Professional Players behavior.

Over the course of the past few weeks, we have seen the Chinese Dota 2 community in arms against Valve. Their demand of action and a public statement from the Game Developer met with stone-cold silence.

During this time, we have seen statements from multiple organisations, players and teams condemning the racist comments. At the same time, the nature of such comments has seeped down into the pub games and matchmaking is no longer a pleasant experience.

Statements from NoTail, resolution and PPD.

In the statement we see the players commenting on the issue of racism. They sympathize with the Chinese community which was at the receiving end of the recent controversy. Players like Notail, Resolution and PPD have come out with statements deploring any racial comments. They urge other players to have respect for people of all races throughout the world. They want to become a positive force in the community and lead by example.

Earlier Chinese professional Burning received an email from Valve regarding the issue. They assured him that they will put forth punishments in case a player’s organisation does not do the same.

Perfect World’s stance.

Perfect World also stepped in and have reprimanded any racial slurs from professional players. They also established their stance that they will disqualify any team/player who uses inappropriate [ racial ] language when it comes to Perfect World Games.

Complexity and Skem apologize for the incident.

The player who started the controversy, Skemm is a part of Complexity Gaming. Since the incident gained traction, both the players and the organisation have issued public apologies for the same.

Valve’s Statement

Recently Valve released a public statement regarding their stance on this issue. At the same time, Valve has issued broad guidelines and urged professional players to control what they speak publicly. It is a grave matter since these players are a huge influence for their fans and Dota 2 players. The recent incident with the Chinese racial slur, saw many pub matches also filled with racist comments and the likes. It was a traumatizing experience for Chinese players as well as people of Chinese origin. It is important for Valve to establish these guidelines and at the same time punish those who flout the rules.

The International has always been about bringing fans from diverse cultures all around the world together to celebrate the game we love with one another. Professional players compete year-round, hoping for a chance to prove themselves on the grand stage. They have strong competitive spirits, with high emotions and drive to perform. That’s why we love watching them compete. We’ve always had an approach of letting the players be themselves, and to express themselves freely. That’s how it’s always been for a long time. However, we also expect pro players to understand that they represent the Dota community regardless of where they are. Words carry a lot of meaning. Some people may not agree or understand why certain words are harmful, but it doesn’t make it any less so to those on the receiving end. The language used by multiple players over the last week has caused many of our fans a lot of pain and is not behavior that we condone.

We’ve been spending the past few days talking to various pro players and community leaders about this. From all the interactions we’ve seen over the years, we know that deep down professional players respect each other immensely. However, we want to be very clear that Valve will not tolerate racist language between pro players in any form. We think it is really damaging to the entire Dota community whenever even a single professional player uses discriminatory language. It pits fans against each other, belittles and demeans entire groups and makes them feel like they are not as important. Going forward, we expect all teams who participate our tournaments to hold its players accountable, and be prepared to follow up with strong punishments when players represent Dota and its community poorly.

You can read Valve’s full public Statement here.

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Team Liquid advance to the Grand finals as Faze Clan suffer a meltdown

After the strong start to the day with Astralis mounting the comeback against Fnatic, we had yet another thrilling series. Faze Clan and Team Liquid battled it out in the second semi-finals.

Map 1: Inferno

The Faze Clan and Team Liquid series started out on Inferno. While it was Team liquid’s map pick, there is little doubt that Faze Clan is one of the best teams when it comes to Inferno. The International roster was able to win multiple rounds in a streak after Liquid took the early lead following the pistol round. The two teams exchanged rounds and firepower to have a relatively even 9-6 half. A 9-6 half on Inferno is as even as it can get, the two teams looked quite set at this point in time.

However, Team Liquid’s lack of a viable CT side was clearly visible in the second half. They were unable to halt Faze Clan’s confidence and their dominant T half. The lack of a good economy did not help matters either. They were simply unable to mount any comeback with the economy at their disposal. Despite the map being Team liquid’s map pick, Faze Clan won the map with comfort in the end.

Map 2: Mirage

Team liquid suffered a very embarrassing defeat on Inferno, their map pick. However, as we head into Mirage we saw an entirely different Team Liquid. The North American squad had no mistakes on Mirage as they won round after Round. Faze Clan looked extremely confused on this map as they were met with either Twistzz or Elige wherever they would go. Twitstzz also had a bit of a luck as he was able to hit multiple shots through the smoke.

Overall, Team Liquid’s dominance on the map seemed to be due to their leadership with Zews and Nitro definitely taking the lead in making the calls. We could see Zews micromanaging each player and explaining their role to the team. The overall performance of Team liquid looked extremely strong and they were able to win the map with a 16-1 scoreline. The only round that went Faze Clan’s way was due to some insane individual skill by Niko.

Map 3: Cache.

Going into Map 3, it was obvious that Faze Clan’s performance was severely impacted by the thrashing they received on Map 2. Cache has always been a strong map for Team Liquid, the open nature of the map allows them to be extremely flexible in their map movement.

Not always surprising, but this time it was Nitro topping the scoreboard for Team Liquid well into the first half. Their new found confidence as well Faze Clan’s lack of synergy on the retakes handed Team Liquid rounds that they should not win. It was not unusual for Faze Clan to throw away an advantage in terms of player numbers to lose the round. The score went to 8-1 very soon. They won the map eventually with a score of 16-4.

The North American squad quickly managed to reach the end of the map. The final score of the map was They were extremely dominant, however, it was also a case of Faze Clan not being as good as their usual self. With this loss, we might just see some changes coming to Faze Clan in the near future.

Team Liquid face off against Astralis in the Grand finals. With Astralis not looking as good as their former selves, we expect a very close series in the Grand finals.

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Astralis scrape past Fnatic to reach the Grand finals of IEM Chicago 2018.

The first semifinal of IEM Chicago 2018 was a very close affair. Both Astralis and Fnatic came extremely close to winning every map and the series in general. However, eventually, the Danish roster came out ahead of the Swedish team. Fnatic put up a strong performance with some quality CS reminiscient of the 2015 Fnatic era, however they choked very hard towards the end. Astralis won 6 straight rounds on Inferno to take the map to Overtime and eventually win the series. It was a thrilling end to one of the most exciting CSGO series in a long time. 

Dust 2 – The Danish Map pick.

The first map was Dust 2, an Astralis map pick. The match started with Astralis taking a very dominant T side half. We saw the likes of Device, Xyp9x and Magisk rise to the occasion in multiple situations. The number of clutch round wins for Astralis definitely tilted the game in favour of Astralis.

Xyp9x’s 1v3 clutch on the eighth round crippled the Fnatic CT side economy. They were unable to recover from it early and had to make a decision to either win more rounds or save for a better economy later. The first half ended with a 12-3 scoreline. At this point in time, it did seem like Fnatic desperately needed to win the second pistol round [ and they probably did ]. However, they lost the second pistol round and that spelt doom for the team.

The Swedish roster managed an equally amazing T side to get the score to 14-15. But the last round saw Astralis being able to defuse the bomb and win the map 1. It was a very close map and we have to remember that it was Astralis’ map pick.

Fnatic Map pick: Mirage

The second map was Mirage, it was a Swedish map pick. However, Mirage has not been a problem for the Danish team. They were one of the first teams to play this map consistently. Their performance on this map sees Dupreeh take up aggressive positions with a lot of backup from either Magisk or Xyp9x. Astralis are always looking forward to ensuring that their team has the best possible chance of going into the map. This comes from their synergy and their coordination which is the reason for the team’s success in the past.

However, Fnatic was ready to play on this map. Despite having good streaks through the map, Fnatic only managed to win 8 rounds on the T side half. At one point in time, it did look like Fnatic would run away with the half and the game. However, Astralis was able to make a mini-comeback and secure a very close 7-8 round at halftime.

However, once Fnatic went over to the CT side, it was a whole different story. Fnatic’s CT holds were efficient and they looked similar to the best teams on the map. Brollan, JW and Krimz looked phenomenal on the map. The veteran players were definitely on point and it was good to see them perform the way they did. Eventually, Fnatic finished the map with a final score of 16-12.

The final map for the first Semi-final: Inferno

It is almost customary to have Inferno as the final map in an extremely close series. Inferno is a map that both the teams are very proficient on. Their performance in this map would boil down to the teams’ performance in this match. The Swedish side is probably most well known for their dominance on Inferno in previous editions of the roster. They were extremely dominant on this map, however, with a quick 11-3 scoreline. For Fnatic, it was a very balanced effort as all the players looked to be on the same page.

Fnatic obviously knew their wall-bangs and they had excellent muscle memory going into Inferno. Xizt’s double wall-bang definitely was a testimony to this. The Fnatic team looked so strong throughout the first half and well into the second half as well. They quickly managed to take the score to 15-9. However, after reaching 15, Fnatic seemed to have taken it casually, a bit too much. They were unable to close out the map.

On Astralis’ part, with every round win, they began to believe in their chances to take the map to Overtime. And they did take it to Overtime and eventually won the map in Overtime. It was a comeback reminiscent of the Fnatic comebacks in Dust 2. The Danish team looked on Cloud9 as they were able to mount this massive comeback to reach the Grand finals of the tournament.

For Fnatic, they performed beyond expectations. Their ability to give Astralis a run for their money as well as their victories over other teams makes them one of the strongest teams in CS: GO. For now, Astralis wait in the Grand finals to meet the winner of Faze Clan and Team Liquid.

The first semifinal of IEM Chicago 2018 was a very close affair. Both Astralis and Fnatic came extremely close to winning every map and the series in general. However, eventually, the Danish roster came out ahead of the Swedish team.

Dust 2 – The Danish Map pick.

The first map was Dust 2, an Astralis map pick. The match started with Astralis taking a very dominant T side half. We saw the likes of Device, Xyp9x and Magisk rise to the occasion in multiple situations. The number of clutch round wins for Astralis definitely tilted the game in favour of Astralis.

Xyp9x’s 1v3 clutch on the eighth round crippled the Fnatic CT side economy. They were unable to recover from it early and had to make a decision to either win more rounds or save for a better economy later. The first half ended with a 12-3 scoreline. At this point in time, it did seem like Fnatic desperately needed to win the second pistol round [ and they probably did ]. However, they lost the second pistol round and that spelt doom for the team.

The Swedish roster managed an equally amazing T side to get the score to 14-15. But the last round saw Astralis being able to defuse the bomb and win the map 1. It was a very close map and we have to remember that it was Astralis’ map pick.

Fnatic Map pick: Mirage

The second map was Mirage, it was a Swedish map pick. However, Mirage has not been a problem for the Danish team. They were one of the first teams to play this map consistently. Their performance on this map sees Dupreeh take up aggressive positions with a lot of backup from either Magisk or Xyp9x. Astralis are always looking forward to ensuring that their team has the best possible chance of going into the map. This comes from their synergy and their coordination which is the reason for the team’s success in the past.

However, Fnatic was ready to play on this map. Despite having good streaks through the map, Fnatic only managed to win 8 rounds on the T side half. At one point in time, it did look like Fnatic would run away with the half and the game. However, Astralis was able to make a mini-comeback and secure a very close 7-8 round at halftime.

Once Fnatic went over to the CT side, it was a whole different story. Fnatic’s CT holds were efficient and they looked similar to the best teams on the map. Brollan, JW and Krimz looked phenomenal on the map. The veteran players were definitely on point and it was good to see them perform the way they did. Eventually, Fnatic finished the map with a final score of 16-12.

The final map for the first Semi-final: Inferno

It is almost customary to have Inferno as the final map in an extremely close series. Inferno is a map that both the teams are very proficient on. Their performance in this map would boil down to the teams’ performance in this match. The Swedish side is probably most well known for their dominance on Inferno in previous editions of the roster. They were extremely dominant on this map, however, with a quick 11-3 scoreline. For Fnatic, it was a very balanced effort as all the players looked to be on the same page.

Fnatic obviously knew their wall-bangs and they had excellent muscle memory going into Inferno. Xizt’s double wall-bang definitely was a testimony to this. The Fnatic team looked so strong throughout the first half and well into the second half as well. They quickly managed to take the score to 15-9. However, after reaching 15, Fnatic seemed to have taken it casually, a bit too much. They were unable to close out the map.

On Astralis’ part, with every round win, they began to believe in their chances to take the map to Overtime. And they did take it to Overtime and eventually won the map in Overtime. It was a comeback reminiscent of the Fnatic comebacks in Dust 2. The Danish team looked on Cloud9 as they were able to mount this massive comeback to reach the Grand finals of the tournament.

For Fnatic, they performed beyond expectations. Their ability to give Astralis a run for their money as well as their victories over other teams makes them one of the strongest teams in CS: GO. For now, Astralis wait in the Grand finals to meet the winner of Faze Clan and Team Liquid.

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