Astralis close out their year in the best way possible, winning the LAN Finals of EPL Season 8 against their year-long rival, Team Liquid, 3-1, in the best-of-five Grand Finals.
The scenario was all too familiar for both teams. Similar to the Grand Finals of EPL Season 7, Team Liquid entered the matchup with arguably the hotter hand. Although no longer the hometown favourites, they were fresh off of impressive wins against two of the best teams in the world, Natus Vincere and MIBR. Not to mention, their confidence were likely at an all time high after winning SuperNova Malta. On the other hand, the Danish juggernauts faced off a against a relatively weak slate of opponents, beating the likes of Renegades and mousesports. Albeit, they too were fresh off two straight LAN wins.
Having said that, many believed that this was Team Liquid’s best chance of finally beating Astralis. However, that would not be the case.
Although Team Liquid would storm out of the gates running, beating Astralis on their map pick, Train, to take the first game of the best-of-five, Astralis were simply the better team throughout the entire series as they proceeded to outplay and outmaneuver their opponents en route to lifting the EPL Season 8 trophy.
In addition to taking home the lion’s share of the $750,000 prize pool, Astralis also became the first team to take home the $1 million Intel Grand Slam award after winning their fourth event out of 10 consecutive tries.
EPL Season 8 Grand Finals Recap
In the first map, Train, it seemed like the Danes let the gravity of the situation get to them. Team Liquid raced out to an 11-4 lead during the first half playing on the T-side before closing things out 16-8. Jonathan ‘EliGE‘ Jablonowski, the longest-serving member of Team Liquid, would serve as the catalyst to that win. He would finish with a whopping 1.58 rating, his highest of the series. However, once the game went to the second map, Mirage, things slowly started to click for Astralis.
After Astralis stared at a 9-6 deficit heading into the second half of Mirage and with Nicolai ‘dev1ce‘ Reedtz struggling, Astralis’ IGL, Lukas ‘gla1ve‘ Rossander, decided to take matters into his own hands. Charging in like an absolute madman, he would lead his team by example, spraying the entirety of Team Liquid down, sometimes through smokes, while also literally dropping bombs. With the help of the so-called “Clutch Minister”, Andreas ‘Xyp9x‘ Højsleth, who had 3 back-to-back clutches on the map, the two would pick up the slack for the rest of the team as Astralis tied the series heading into the third map.
Playing on Inferno, the Danes were finally starting to look like their old selves. Although dev1ce still had a relatively quiet game, he didn’t need to have a standout performance. The rest of Astralis had his back as they coasted to a relatively easy 16-11 win.
As for arguably Astralis’ best player, dev1ce would save his best performance for last. Topping the frag count with 25 and posting a 1.58 rating, dev1ce and his trusty AWP would prove unstoppable as Astralis closed out the series, 16-10, and become EPL Season 8 champions.
What’s Next for Astralis?
At this point, Astralis are essentially in uncharted territory. Even though they’re not the first to dominate the CS:GO scene for the first time, they’ve arguably been the most consistent. With 8 trophies in the past 9 months and a Major trophy, as well as the Intel Grand Slam award in their pockets, it’s safe to say that Astralis are already the best CS:GO team of all time.
The only question now is, when will Astralis’ success end?
Seeing that their playstyle is not solely predicated on the performance of just a single player, it certainly seems like Astralis’ dynasty is never ending. If they keep up their form, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they ended up becoming back-to-back Major champions at the Katowice Major 2019 in February of next year.
What do you think of Astralis’ performance at the LAN Finals of EPL Season 8? Are they now the undisputed best CS:GO team of all time? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.