Over the past few months, Team Liquid and Astralis have dominated the world rankings. For much of 2018, Astralis was the best team in the world, with consistent victories over Team Liquid in the Grand finals. However, with the turn of the year, Team Liquid has emerged as a stronger team. Partly helped by the loss in the Danish players’ form, Team Liquid is the undisputed Rank 1 team in the world.
ESL One Cologne, however, presents an opportunity to watch the two teams compete against each other in yet another Grand finals. Team Liquid is currently the best team in the world, however, their matches are not always the most convincing. They are constantly in Overtime victories, results which could go in favour of their opponents in a matter of a few rounds.
ESL One Cologne Playoffs
The Cathedral of Counter-Strike Group stages saw Team Liquid and Astralis win the Group stage. The two teams manoeuvred through the Group stage and secured their spot in the Semifinals.
The focus of this article remains on the possibility of watching a Team Liquid and Astralis Grand Finals. Each team has one more step to secure their finals spot. Let’s take a look at their performance so far and especially their performance when going up against each other. Team Liquid will face XYZ while Astralis will have to win against Vitality to reach the Grand Finals at ESL One Cologne.
The North American team moved past the Group stage with victories over NRG Esports, Natus Vincere and MVP.Pk.
In terms of pure skill, Team Liquid is probably the best team in the world. However, the team’s victories are not always the most convincing. In the past few weeks, we have seen Team Liquid win matches against G2, NRG and Natus Vincere. But in each of these cases, we can point out specific instances when Team Liquid was able to win by a very small margin.
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Team Liquid relies on their ability to punish the opponents for their mistake. While their strategies and tactics are always on point, the team’s execution seems to be lacking. Coming from an era where Astralis dominated the entire scene, Team Liquid looks like a tepid follow-up.
The North American team secured the ranking of the best team in the world due to a multitude of reasons. One of these reasons was Astralis’ choice in attending events. Their decision to prioritize Blast Pro Series events over other big-ticket events hurt their rankings.
The Danish team is no longer holding the crown in terms of rankings or form. They have slipped to the fourth place behind Team Liquid, ENCE and Vitality. However, as we already mentioned earlier, a part of the reason for their loss of points was simply their absence. Regardless, Xyp9x himself had admitted that the players are not in the best of form. They are unable to hit the same quality of shots as they did in 2018.
At ESL One Cologne 2019, Astralis is undefeated so far. In fact, in their matches so far, Astralis has been reminiscent of their former dominant selves. The only map where they possibly had a scare was in their Dust 2 match against the Ninjas in Pyjamas. However, the Danish team was able to close out the map in the end and win Dust 2 with a score of 19-16.
The Danish team looks strong, however, they have not faced the same quality of opposition as Team Liquid. After several months of being the best team in the world, Astralis is on the backfoot when it comes to securing an advantage in tactics.
Past Grand Finals
Securing a victory at the ESL One Cologne will not help Astralis reclaim their top spot. However, for Team Liquid winning ESL One Cologne will only help them secure their Intel Grand Slam. After winning, three consecutive Intel Grand Slam victories, Team Liquid will definitely want to ensure their victory at the tournament and secure the $1 million prize money.
ESL One Cologne is one of the last few tournaments before the commencement of the Berlin Major. It will be a crucial reminder of the team’s strengths and their preparation for the upcoming Major.
Team Liquid and Astralis have been two teams with the most number of Grand final appearances. For most of 2018, Astralis has been the team with the upper hand. However, we can see the shift in results from Astralis to Team Liquid in their head to head match-ups.
- IEM Chicago 2018: Astralis [3:0]
- ESL Pro league Season 8: Astralis [3:1]
- IBuyPower Masters 2019: Team Liquid [2:1]
- Blast Pro Series Sao Paolo: Astralis [2:1]
In terms of pure numbers in a head to head scenario, Astralis has the upper hand. The Head to Head results show a clear advantage for Astralis. They have 40 victories compared to Team Liquid’s 14.
What is crucial to note is that only three of these 54 matches went into Overtime. Two of these three overtimes resulted in victories for Team Liquid. Astralis, for the most part, have been extremely dominant in their wins over Team Liquid.
This match will be crucial, mostly to judge Astralis’ current form. If they can manage to defeat Team Liquid in the Grand finals they will secure the victory at ESL One Cologne. It will also be a pause to Team Liquid’s run in the Intel Grand Slam tournaments. But first, the teams need to move past their respective Semifinal opponents. Be sure to catch all the action live on Twitch here.