ESL Pro EU: Astralis vs Space Soldiers

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Astralis and Space Soldiers met yesterday at the ESL Pro League Season 8 European tournament and it turned out to be one of the best matchups we have seen so far.

First Map – Inferno

The first map that the two teams played was Inferno and it was by far, the longest and most contested game we have seen in the European League since the beginning of the tournament.

It began with Astralis on the CT side, trying to withstand the furious Space Soldiers assault. The pistol round initially started with Astralis looking quite strong but once the A site was cleared of their players, the pendulum swung in SS’ favor. Space Soldiers took this early advantage and ran with it. Astralis were able to make a brief comeback in the fourth round, but they were quickly shut down and their economy reset in the fifth. From then on, it was clear that the first half would be Space Soldiers’. It concluded 12 – 3 for Space Soldiers and it looked for a moment that Astralis might buckle under the pressure.

The second half saw Space Soldiers take up the CT side. Astralis have proven time and time again that their Terrorist gameplay is a force to be reckoned with and this match was no different. After winning the pistol round, the ball was in their court and with brutal efficiency, Astralis went on to win seven rounds in a row. Gla1ve was unstoppable on the T side and he played in perfect unison with the rest of his team. The 19th round of the match saw him take down four SS players to secure the win. Still, Space Soldiers were not out of it and they managed to sneak in two round wins to get a better foothold. The Astralis assault continued for five more rounds, but in what should have been the culmination ngiN earned himself a hero status by killing Hyp9x and gla1ve in a 2v1 to bring about overtime.

Triple Overtime!

With overtime, we saw both teams unleash their best. Without an economy to manage Astralis and Space Soldiers could dish out some serious damage and they most certainly did. After 12 rounds of overtime, it looked like the game could go on forever. But by the third one, Astralis seemed to have had enough and they came down hard on Space Soldiers. With an ultra fast-paced attack on Apartments, they were able to secure the fourth needed overtime round to close the game. After a full regulation game and three overtime sessions, the game concluded at 25 – 21 for Astralis.

Second Map – Train

The second best-of-one match between Space Soldiers and Astralis was played on Train and much like the previous one, both teams were dead set to take it. Astralis played the CT side first and put up a great defense, picking up 10 rounds with relatively small hurdles every now and then. Space Soldiers were not able to keep up the same aggression that they did on Inferno and they would have to make up for that in the second half.

The second half saw the teams switch sides and Space Soldiers found themselves on Astralis’ offense. However, the second half worked wonders for Space Soldiers and they were quickly able to take back the lost rounds from the ill-fated first half. They were consistently able to fend off Astralis and even managed to reset their economy twice. By the end of the second half, Space Soldiers were sitting on 15 rounds won and needed just one more to close the match. Yet persistent as ever, Astralis mustered the skill and precision necessary and stole the final three rounds, again pushing the match into overtime.

The first three rounds of overtime saw Astralis try to overcome the gauntlet that was Space Soldier’s defense of the B site. Twice they failed horribly and on the third round, they tried to switch their tactics around. However, Space Soldiers were already riding the winning streak and they took that round home. That streak continued in the next round, where Space Soldiers relentlessly pushed the B site and completely wrecked Astralis, closing the game at 19 – 15.

Closing Thoughts

Space Soldiers surprised everyone with these two games. Nobody realistically expected them to achieve what they did, considering that better teams have faced Astralis and crumbled. While they did lose the Inferno map, they lasted much longer than other more experienced lineups. The second game also came as a surprise, especially since Space Soldiers were able to consistently withstand the Astralis T-side attacks, which have been the bane of many other teams. Astralis are currently the number 1 team in the world, whereas Space Soldiers are far lower at 22, according to HLTV. With such great gameplay, we should rightfully expect many more great achievements from the Turkish team.

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