Astralis were, of course, one of the favorites to win DreamHack Masters Marseille, but no one thought that they would win it so easily. They were first paired against Space Soldiers in a best of one in the group stages. Astralis lost just two rounds in the whole match, and moved to the winners’ match. In the winners’ match, Astralis went up against Team Liquid in a best of three. This was a crucial stage of their ascent, and Astralis lost against Team Liquid in Mirage by just two rounds. This was the first and last defeat for Astralis at DreamHack Marseille, as they won the remaining maps rather relentlessly, giving Team Liquid just three rounds in each map. With this, they became the first team from group D to qualify for the Playoffs.
FaZe Clan were Astralis’ first obstacle at the Playoffs
Astralis are truly on a roll this year, and their clash with FaZe at the playoffs really showcases this. They brutally shut down FaZe in the Playoffs, defeating them 2-0. That’s right, FaZe didn’t win a single match against Astralis in a best of three. There was a time when FaZe had never lost a best of three without winning a single map, but those times were past with the close of last year.
Astralis won the first map, Mirage, by five rounds and the second map, Nuke, by ten rounds. Winning with such a huge margin against FaZe Clan certainly a statement of sheer capability. Remember, though, that olofmeister was not with the team when FaZe went up against Astralis at Dreamhack Marseille, so perhaps their win here does not rank as genuine dominance over FaZe Clan. Nevertheless, the fact is that Astralis are a very strong team as of now, and they have proved their worth at both the EPL and ECS online qualifiers by winning almost every match there.
Astralis put down Fnatic in the Semifinals of DreamHack Marseille
Yes, Astralis crushed the IEM and WESG Champions to take their place in the Finals. Things looked bad for Astralis, since they were going up against a team that won two major leagues back to back in the previous month. Fnatic are similarly riding a wave of resurgence, and are hardly to be underestimated.
However, it seems that Fnatic’s resurgence is nothing before the form Astralis are playing in at present. Astralis once again shut down the opposing team, winning the first two maps in a best of three series. The first map was Overpass and Astralis dominated Fnatic here, winning the map by eleven rounds. Fnatic did put up a good fight in the next map, Mirage, but they still lost it by four rounds. With this, Astralis, who utterly dominated the CS:GO universe in 2016, was again well on the way to doing it again this year.
S1mple takes the MVP once again
S1mple was bound to be MVP at the finals of DreamHack Marseille, whether Natus Vincere won or not. While this did happen, it was gla1ve of Astralis that took MVP for DreamHack Marseille as a whole. Once again, Natus Vincere’s fans blamed Zeus for their loss here.
It’s odd when fans play the ‘blame game’. Sure, Zeus has a low kill-death ratio, but he’s an excellent in-game leader, and s1mple himself is the first to say so. Fans who badmouth Zeus ignore the ruthlessly tactical and strategic juggernaut that Astralis has become, and honestly don’t do Astralis justice. It’s not that Natus Vincere is doing poorly, since they did win DreamHack Open Winter last year, came 3rd at the ELEAGUE major this year, were second at the StarSeries, and here at DreamHack Marseille as well. They also have a sixty three percent win rate in LAN matches, which can be said to be excellent form. Fans of the team have no reason to target Zeus for this loss. To win or lose against a world class pro team is part of the game in CS:GO.
Pick and bans for the Finals of DreamHack Marseille
The first bans were pretty obvious. Astralis – as always – banned Cobblestone, and Natus Vincere took out Cache. But this worked in Astralis’ favour, since Cache is a map they aren’t exactly strong in, anyway. Astralis then picked Nuke as the first map of the Finals, while Natus Vincere took Inferno. This was excellent strategy, since Astralis are weakest in Inferno – after Cobblestone, that is. In the second phase of banning, Astralis removed Mirage and Natus Vincere took out Overpass. Once again Train – as always – became the decider. Overall, the pick looked very balanced, because each team got their best map, and both teams’ stats are almost equal in Train.
Natus Vincere were put down hard in Nuke
It is hardly strange for even best of the best teams to lose in their weakest map. But Natus Vincere scored just four rounds in Nuke. There was a time when Natus Vincere used to own Nuke, but that time is obviously long past. Astralis managed to keep their one hundred percent win rate in Nuke.
Astralis started out as counter terrorists and won the first pistol round. They then went anti eco in the next round and dev1ce showed just why is he one of the best lurkers in the world. He took out three opponents with his Scout, which was nothing short of amazing. It is rare to see someone take three kills with Scout. Obviously, after losing two rounds continuously, Natus Vincere were now playing defensively. They could hardly hope to face down an aggressive Astralis going all-out on a full buy. Finally, in round six, Natus Vincere hit back hard, doing so by eliminating the entire Astralis squad.
Astralis are versatile strategists
Astralis quickly changed their style of play, and went on the defensive, thus preventing Natus Vincere from planting the C4 in time. However, in the next round, Natus Vincere hit back again, taking out each and every member of the opposite team, and winning the round. Astralis, now low on cash, decided to arm themselves with the CZ75A for the next round. This might be classed as a pistol in-game, but is deadly at close and medium range. Astralis won the round just with these, against a fully-equipped Natus Vincere, and defused the C4 in two consecutive rounds.
Round eleven really broke Natus Vincere, and they were once again in a bad state economically. Magisk really took round eleven for his team, with him single-handedly taking four kills, and two of them with a shotgun, which pays $900 per kill. This boosted Astralis’ economy and they then went on to win every round to the end of the first half. Astralis had taken thirteen rounds at this point, and Natus Vincere just two.
Astralis again won the pistol round and tried the same tactics they used in the first half in the next round. But Natus Vincere had adapted, and they eliminated the entire Astralis squad. Astralis now had just one AK-47 between them in round eighteen, with which to try to control the map. But it was not that AK-47, but rather dupreeh’s two kills with a Deagle, that won Astralis the round. With this, Astralis just needed one more round to win the map. Natus Vincere delayed them for one more round by winning round nineteen. As Natus Vincere were trying to make a comeback and almost won round twenty, Xyp9x clutched the round in a 1v3 situation and won Nuke for the team.
Astralis defeat Natus Vincere on their own map
Astralis are as weak in Inferno as they are strong in Nuke, and even before the match started analysts at DreamHack Marseille were predicting that Natus Vincere would win Inferno. However, that just goes to show what those analysts predictions were worth, because Astralis went all out to win Inferno.
Astralis were terrorists in the first half, and they successfully planted the bomb. Natus Vincere tried to retake the site, but failed, and electronic now stood alone against three enemies. He not only took down all the remaining terrorists, but also defused the bomb in time. With this bonus cash in hand, Natus Vincere won the next round as well.
Another shift in tactics by Astralis
When it comes to suddenly changing the tactics Astralis have the natural advantage. They sneaked on to the bombsite and planted the C4, and this time they also managed to defend it. Even though Natus Vincere lost the round, they still has plenty of cash, and they took back control of the map by winning two more rounds.
Once again, Astralis bought the CZ75A and hit back hard. In the same round, dev1ce not only took a quad kill, but also stole an AWP for himself. This turned the tide entirely in Astralis’ favor. However, in the next round, dev1ce was the first to go down, followed by the rest of the team. But gla1ve was still standing, and defended the bomb alone against three fully equipped counter terrorists. He took out two opponents before dying, but managed to drag the round out enough that Zeus was unable to defuse the bomb in time, and also died in the blast.
Astralis on the warpath
Once again, Natus Vincere were in a poor state, and Astralis not only won the round, but also detonated the C4 two more times. In round ten, Natus Vincere did a full buy and decided to rush the sites, but Magisk stopped them cold by taking out two of them from a distance. Dupreeh again proved that he is one of the best entry men by taking a double kill in round twelve. The first half ended with Natus Vincere winning last two rounds while playing defensively. The score at this point was Astralis nine and Natus Vincere six.
The second half
S1mple took down four opponents in the second pistol round, and once again gave Natus Vincere a chance at a comeback. The team then won two more rounds in series. But Astralis were just went eco until they had enough money to equip themselves, and then wiped out Natus Vincere and defused the C4. Now, both the teams were fully equipped, but Astralis still managed to dominate up to round twenty three. Natus Vincere then planted the bomb, and managed to delay Astralis long enough that it exploded. Magisk’s quad kill in the next round brought Astralis back into the lead, and now they were just two rounds away from victory.
Astralis also won the next round, and perhaps believed that Natus Vincere were broke and unable to equip themselves. In any case, they tried a rush against a Natus Vincere that turned out to be equipped. Their misjudgment cost Astralis the round. Nevertheless, Astralis went back to their usual strategic play, and took the last remaining round, and the event. This was Astralis’ first event victory after they hired Magisk.
All in all, it’s certain that Astralis are back to their 2016 form, and are a team to be dreaded by other pro teams this year. Don’t bet against them, whatever the odds, unless the take a loss or two in the immediate future. For the rest, there are plenty of events coming up with good odds on matches where you have excellent chances of a win.