We have the first finalists of ESL One Cologne. Against all odds, the French organization, Vitality, has beaten one of the best teams out there, Astralis. Vitality will now play the winner of the match between Team Liquid and Natus Vincere.
The first map of the series was picked by Vitality and it was Dust II. Alex McMeekin’s tactics completely countered the strategy of the Danes from the start. In the first half, Astralis failed to win back-to-back rounds even once and going into the break, Vitality was leading with an impressive 11-4.
After the break, the Danes failed to gain control of the game. They did manage to win three consecutive rounds, but they couldn’t find their way back into the game. Dan “apEX” Madesclaire was simply phenomenal. He managed to take down four Astralis players in a single round to end the game for Vitality, 16-8.
The second map of the series was Inferno, and it was picked by Astralis. Unfortunately, things didn’t start well for them. One of their opponents, apeX, outplayed them in a 1v3 clutch situation to get the French side the first point of the map. He was exceptional in the following round as well, taking down two players single-handedly to get a 2-0 lead. Both teams exchanged rounds in the first half, but Astralis ended up squeaking through with an 8-7 advantage at the break.
The Danes then showed why they had picked Inferno, sailing to a 12-7 lead in the second half. The eighth point for the French side then came after RpK’s impressive 1v3 clutch in the 20th round. This motivated the team to push the game to overtime, showing that Astralis has lost its touch and is not the best team in the world anymore.
In the first half of overtime, Vitality managed to win two consecutive rounds. They tried to win the third one by executing a fast play on bombsite A. Their plans were spoiled by Nicolai “device” Reedtz, who managed to get an Ace with his AWP.
In the second half of overtime, the Danes managed to pull the game back to their favor. All the credit for the victory on the map goes to Xyp9x and Device, as the duo time after time won impressive clutch victories. Astralis won 22-19 and tied the series 1-1.
The last map of the series was Overpass. It seemed as though Astralis had a good start to the game, managing an early 2-0 lead. But the French were having none of it, and the in-game leader of their team, Alex, continued to wreak havoc on the map. At the break, Vitality was leading by the slightest of margins, 8-7.
After the break, Vitality started well by winning the pistol round. They executed their plays to perfection, with Astralis unable to cope with their grenade game. Meanwhile, Zywoo was god-like on the AWP and managed to slow down the progression of Astralis. Vitality had little to no problems closing out the series and won 16-9.