When it comes to CSGO, top names stand out above the rest when entering tournament play. You’ve got FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, MIBR, and G2 to just name a few. Yet, one stands above the rest – Astralis.
The Danish Counter-Strike kings may have lost their spot on the throne of the game’s world rankings when they started picking and choosing which events to attend, but they’ve still been a force to be reckoned with.
Entering the StarLadder Berlin Major, many fans and pundits had already crowned Team Liquid as North America’s second Major winning team, but that wasn’t to be the case.
Astralis captured another CSGO Major title at the StarLadder Berlin Major.
Dexerto’s latest esports documentary tracks the StarLadder Berlin CSGO Major from start to end – including the heartbreaking exits of on the rise squads in CR4ZY and Mousesports and Renegade’s shock semi-finals appearance – before culminating in Astralis’ ascent back to the top.
There are also exclusive interviews with eventual champions in Peter ‘dupreeh’ Rasmussen and Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander who detail Astralis’ rise back to the top, as well as how they felt winning another Major.
On the other side of things, AVANGAR’s Alexey ‘qikert’ Golubev also gives his perspective on how the CIS-based squad shocked everybody to take on Astralis in the Grand Finals – even though they eventually fell to a 2-0 defeat.
Aside from hearing from players involved, esports historian Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields gives his unrivaled insight on proceedings with a number of interviews about the action. Hosts James ‘BanKs’ Banks and Frankie Ward also giving their say-so on the intense CSGO Major action amid interviewing players.
So, if you missed anything from the StarLadder Major, you can jump right in and get a complete rundown of everything that unfolded. We guarantee that you won’t want to miss it this time around, either.
IEM Katowice 2021 has already served up some amazing matchups, and now the quarterfinals are upon us. With CIS supremacy sweeping the CS:GO server, Astralis stand as the lone force to try and stave the three Russian squads away.
Six teams have qualified for the playoffs at IEM Katowice 2021, and four of them are from CIS. Gambit, Natus Vincere, and Virtus.pro are hungry for quarterfinals success, while Spirit awaits one of them in the semifinals.
It’s put more pressure now, more than ever, onto two stalwarts of their respective scenes — Denmark’s (and Europe’s) Astralis, and North America’s Liquid. The latter looks reinvigorated with Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo in the squad, while the former are struggling to reach their peak online.
Ahead of this weekend’s action, let’s take a look at the two quarterfinals — Gambit vs Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro vs Astralis — and what you should expect.
Gambit vs Natus Vincere
The battle for CIS supremacy will reign on in the quarterfinals of IEM Katowice when Gambit takes on Natus Vincere. This has been a historically Na’Vi-sided matchup, to the surprise of absolutely no one.
Gambit went on a lower-bracket tear to make it to the quarterfinals of IEM Katowice, and they won’t let their rivals stand in their way. Young gun Dmitry ‘sh1ro’ Sokolov is really trying to make a name for himself as CS:GO’s next big AWPer, trying to reach the heights of idols like Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Vastyliev.
Seeing the two face off will be a treat in this quarterfinal, but don’t expect the reigning champions to take it easy. Na’Vi are really finding their stride now, and despite losing to Team Liquid to find themselves in this position, you can’t keep them down for long.
Denis ‘electronic’ Sharipov and s1mple are bouncing off each other better than ever, and it really feels like a repeat of IEM Katowice 2020 is on the cards. Na’Vi didn’t make it easy for themselves there in groups, before proceeding to demolish Liquid, Astralis, and G2 Esports without dropping a single map in playoffs.
Gambit’s going to have to be prepared for a Na’Vi they’ve never faced before. It’s the biggest stage this matchup has happened on, and while the potential for an upset is there, you’d have to back Na’Vi to finish strong at Katowice.
Virtus.pro and Astralis marks the first rematch of the StarLadder Major Berlin 2019 final. Back then, Astralis were decimating anyone in their patch, and VP (then Avangar) were collateral as the Danes took home their fourth major. However, it’s funny how things change in 18 months.
Astralis’ experimentation with six and seven-man rosters has led nowhere, and with the core five back together, they’ve been struggling to get back into gear. Virtus.pro, on the other hand, has started 2021 on fire with a win at cs_summit 7 (where Astralis didn’t play).
One also has to look at how far Virtus.pro has come since then. “Jame Time” might still be the slogan, but everyone from Timur ‘buster’ Tulepov to Mareks ‘YEKINDAR’ Galinskis have been pulling their weight. The team isn’t as reliant on Jame’s AWP to win as they once were, and he’s taken to the IGL role like a fish to water.
If there is one time where Virtus.pro could get their revenge, it’s now. VP have taken down Vitality and FURIA — two of the best teams in the world — to get here, and Astralis have been hot and cold to start off the year. The tournament remaining online likely doesn’t help Astralis either.
However, you can never count out the Danes. Much like Gambit vs Natus Vincere, the real big ticket matchup will be Jame vs Nicolai ‘device’ Reedtz. The AWPers will once again prove to be the deciding factor in this matchup, and if history is anything to go by, it should be explosive.
Buster: 45.5 total kills
Over = 115 points
Under = 85 points
Sanji: 32.5 total deaths
Over = 80 points
Under = 120 points
Magisk: 9.5 total assists
Over = 100 points
Under = 100 points
gla1ve: 13.5 total headshots
Over = 90 points
Under = 110 points
Device: 88.5 total kills and deaths
Over = 110 points
Under = 90 points
The IEM Katowice 2021 quarterfinals get underway on February 26.