With all eyes of the CS:GO world on the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, the ELEAGUE Major 2017 did not disappoint, with 16 top teams battling it out for a share of the $1 million prize pool. In one of the greatest Finals in Counter Strike history, the Danes of Astralis took down the Poles of Virtus.pro by a 2-1 scoreline to become the ELEAGUE Major 2017 champions.
Astralis stunned initially
The road to the final was not easy for Astralis as they opened up the Group Stage on the receiving end of an upset from GODSENT. In this particular group format, three wins would send a team through while three losses eliminated a side. This meant coming out flat put Astralis on the back foot, but they then pulled off victories over North America’s OpTic and French side G2 before falling to the Brazilians of SK Gaming. With everything on the line in the final game, Astralis clinched the victory they needed over North America’s Team Liquid to secure a spot in the playoffs.
In a predictably difficult match-up, Astralis fought and clawed their way to a 2-1 win over Na’Vi in the quarterfinals, afterwards sweeping through Fnatic 2-0 to set up a legendary clash against Virtus.pro. The Polish team were rightfully considered the best team in the world for most of 2016 – dominating teams with the famous “Virtus Plow”; unbridled aggression combined with devastating aim – so Astralis knew they had a difficult match ahead of them.
Nuke a new map
The ELEAGUE Major 2017 Finals opened up on the newest addition to the pool of available competitive maps; Nuke. Just like every map in this series, Nuke featured incredible back-and-forth action. With the score tied at 12-12, Virtus.pro had limited money and were forced to do a “save round” where they were armed only with pistols as their cash was too low for any armour, grenades, rifles, etc. Despite this, stunningly, somehow, they pulled off the round win, devastating Astralis in the process. VP then won the next three rounds to claim map one 16-12 and place all the pressure on the Danes.
The next map was Overpass and after starting on the T (Terrorist) side, Astralis were able to piece together a 9-6 half-time lead. Later on, up 13-9 and apparently cruising, Astralis suddenly lost momentum, allowing VP to seize the initiative. The Poles won five rounds in a row to take a 14-13 lead and it seemed all but over for the Danes as the moment seemed just too big for them. However, Kjaerbye came up huge for Astralis by defeating Snax in a 1v1 to tie the score at 14-14. Buoyed, Astralis then went on to win the next two rounds, setting up a showdown on arguably the best map for both teams; Train.
Astralis get over the hump
In a map for the ages, VP sprinted out of the gates to take a commanding 8-1 lead over Astralis. The infamous plow was in full flow as VP dominated the opening stages of their T-side, keeping Astralis off-balance. Astralis would find their footing slowly but surely though, stringing rounds together until they had clawed the score back to a more respectable 6-9.
However, VP once again opened a half in devastating form, reaching 12 wins before Astralis could secure their seventh. Astralis had shown an ability to fight back throughout the tournament though and they did so once again as they battled their way to 12-13 before a potentially critical round 26. Eerily similar to the clash on Nuke, VP were on a weaker buy and yet somehow found a way to take down the fully-loaded Astralis side, taking the score to 14-12 in their favour.
That appeared to be it. The seasoned veterans of LAN finals, VP were going to claim ELEAGUE Major victory and Astralis, even under a new in-game leader, would have the same choking problems as before.
This, however, is a new era of Astralis, as displayed by their ability to remain calm and come through even when everyone is counting them out. Not only would they win round 27, Astralis would go on to win every round thereafter, clinching the ELEAGUE Major title and with it the presumptive crown as the best CS:GO team in the world.