ENCE put on a world class performance to sweep Astralis in the Grand Final of the BLAST Pro Series Madrid to deny them their second LAN tournament trophy in a row and take home one for themselves.
Heading into the tournament, ENCE and Astralis each had something to prove. For Astralis, a win at the BLAST Pro Series Madrid would help silence critics who were saying that their decision to skip recent big events could be their undoing. Meanwhile, for ENCE, a trophy finish here would prove, once and for all, that their run at the Katowice Major was no fluke and that ENCE are definitely here to stay.
At the end of it all, it was the latter’s resolve and tenacity that won out as ENCE outwitted Astralis in a two-map Grand Final, where they successfully put a stop to Astralis’ 31-game winstreak on Nuke and denied Astralis a second event win in a row.
With the win, ENCE will go home with $125,000 in their pockets and their confidence levels through the roof.
ENCE will now look to try and replicate their BLAST Pro Series Madrid performance at the CS_summit 4 and the DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019.
ENCE Make a Statement at the BLAST Pro Series Madrid
As the only team to hand Astralis a loss during the Group Stage of the BLAST Pro Series Madrid, it seemed only fitting that both ENCE and Astralis meet at the Grand Finals with the trophy and the lion’s share of the prize pool on the line.
Just as what has always been the case for the past year or so, Astralis entered the matchup as the heavy favourites. But, instead of dominating their opposition, things started off in the worst way possible for the Danish lineup.
Looking at the possibility of reaching a record-trying 32nd consecutive LAN victory on Nuke, the Danes found themselves with a huge deficit early on as ENCE stormed out of the gate strong to take 6 straight rounds before ultimately finishing the half 11-4. Although Astralis tried to rectify things on the CT side of the map, they would fail to make it to double digits as ENCE would stop them at every turn and handed them their first LAN loss on Nuke since December 2017.
As the series switched over to Train, the undisputed best CS:GO team in the world looked to regain their hold of the series. However, despite an excellent 5-0 start, Astralis were never really in control. ENCE were always a threat to make a run, and as soon as opportunity presented itself, the Finnish lineup would make a run before eventually taking the lead.
Astralis tried to mount one last push with ENCE at championship point, but to no avail. At that point, their buys were too weak to mount a proper comeback.
ENCE’s first big event LAN win changes a lot of things. For one, they’re no longer just the team that went on an underdog run at the Katowice Major. Finally, they’re a legitimate title contender that the likes of Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, and FaZe Clan will have to watch out for.
As for Astralis, it’s kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, they did still make it to the Grand Finals, which is no small feat. But, they’ve failed to win their second event in a row, which also is no small thing. While it’s true that the current Astralis lineup’s spot in the annals of CS:GO history is already secured at this point, they definitely don’t want to be slipping when they have a chance at widening the gap between them and any other CS:GO team in history.
With the loss, Astralis are now looking at the very real possibility of relinquishing their top spot, with Team Liquid likely already eyeing the CS_summit 4 and the DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019 this May.
What do you think of ENCE’s win at the BLAST Pro Series Madrid? Do you think it was more of ENCE stepping up when they needed to the most? Or was it more of Astralis losing their form? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.