IEM Katowice 2019 Grand Finals: Astralis vs ENCE

The best CS:GO team in the world are on the verge of hoisting yet another trophy as they head to the IEM Katowice 2019 grand finals, with ENCE the only team remaining standing in their way.

Both teams are on the verge of making history, albeit, for another reason. For Astralis, another Major win, and back-to-back at that, will give them three Major wins. This will tie them with Fnatic with the most all time, and with their current form looking sustainable, it puts them one step closer to becoming the first CS:GO team to ever win four CS:GO Majors, firmly establishing their legacy as the best CS:GO team of all time for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, ENCE are looking to make their own mark in history. Although, unlike Astralis, theirs is more unofficial but compelling just the same, as a win would catapult them to the top of the totem pole and make their run easily the “best underdog story” in esports history.

Just How Heavily Favoured are Astralis vs ENCE?

IEM Katowice 2019 Grand Finals

Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen has done a marvelous job in leading a team with four rookies to a grand finals berth at a CS:GO Major, but unfortunately, this is where their run ends. (Coppyright: ESL / Adela Sznajder)

ENCE may have beaten giants in Team Liquid and Natus Vincere to get to the IEM Katowice 2019 grand finals, but Astralis are on a whole other level.

Astralis’ current lineup, which formed roughly around the same time as ENCE’s did last year, have been to 17 LAN tournaments, excluding IEM Katowice 2019. They’ve won all but five of those said tournaments, and of the ones that they didn’t win, they only failed to make it to the grand finals just twice, and each time, they made it to at least the top 4.

To make matters worse for ENCE, the Danes have only dropped 6 maps in LAN events over the past three months while winning 30 of them. That puts their winrate at an absurd 83.33%. Not to mention, Astralis have yet to lose at Nuke, a winstreak that dates back to last year, making what could’ve been a potentially favourable map for ENCE unavailable, lest they risk helping Astralis extend their streak.

Of course, Astralis are not invincible. They still have lost. Not often, but the point remains.

Earlier this tournament, Renegades laid the groundwork for ENCE as they came back from behind to beat Astralis in Mirage in overtime, 17-19. Sure, it may not sound like a lot, especially after Renegades handily lost the next two maps against Astralis, but beggars can’t be choosers and for ENCE, they’ll take ever tiny bit of advantage that they can get if it means boosting their chances of beating Astralis. 

IEM Katowice 2019 Grand Finals Prediction

IEM Katowice 2019 Grand Finals

With all five members in top form, Astralis are primed to win their third CS:GO Major at IEM Katowice 2019. (Astralis)

ENCE are one of the weakest CS:GO teams Astralis have faced off against in a grand finals in the past year.

ENCE are currently ranked #9 in HLTV’s latest CS:GO rankings, although, after the tournament, we will surely see them somewhere in the top 5. The next lowest-ranked team that Astralis faced off against in a grand finals prior to ENCE was North, who were ranked #10 by HLTV prior to DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018.

Of course, we all know how that turned out — Astralis lost in the grand finals 2-1.

That should give ENCE a small slither of hope against Astralis when they meet up at the IEM Katowice 2019 grand finals. However, if we’re being real, in terms of tactics, strategy, execution, composure, experience, firepower and map veto, Astralis have the upper hand. The Danes are not the best CS:GO team in the world for no reason, and unlike Team Liquid or Natus Vincere, they have proven many times over that they’ll always take the time to meticulously prepare, regardless of who they’re going to go up against.

ENCE can only hope that they can somehow find a way to catch Astralis off guard or for Astralis to suddenly play out of character and severely underestimate them or both, to have any chance of winning at the IEM Katowice 2019 grand finals tomorrow.

Betting: Astralis -1.5 (Map Advantage) at 1.68 odds via Arcanebet

Feature image copyright: ESL / Helena Kristiansson

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