A bunch of star-themed heroes versus a criminal mastermind. Guardians of the Galaxy? Or just the ESL One New York Grand Final? In this case, both. We have the Danes of Astralis versus the newly rebranded Evil Geniuses lineup - the CS:GO artists formerly known as NRG Esports.
The ESL One New York Grand Final goes live at 7pm CEST / 6pm BST / 1pm ET / 10am PT on Sunday September 29th at the Barclays Center in New York. It will be a best of five maps, with the winner taking home $100,000 and a notch in their belt for the Intel Grand Slam Season 3.
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First up will be the showmatch on the new Cache, which I am beyond excited to see.
Picture: Copyright ESL Carlton Beener
Lessons from the semis
Evil Geniuses had a much easier time getting through to the Grand Final than their Danish counterparts. Take it with a grain of salt however, as G2 has just been playing well with a dead lineup that has had little time together, which was talented enough to get them past the other teams in their group sporting new members, ENCE and eUnited.
However, it wasn't that they won so much as how they won. In both matches they reached double digits in the first half and were able to comfortably close out their French foes at their leisure in the second half, never allowing them to reach double digits.
Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov was playing like a man possessed on Dust II, boosting everywhere and taking peaks all over. G2 was completely incapable of punishing his aggression with the AWP. Then Ethan "Ethan" Arnold popped off for the NA side on Nuke, getting off to an 8-0 start on T side before making it a clean 2-0 sweep.
Astralis had their hands full with Team Liquid, outclassing them on Vertigo just like they have pretty much everyone in the world in recent months, but Liquid took it right back to them on Dust II with Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski and Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken doing much of the heavy lifting for the NA powerhouse.
It was all left to a close 16-13 game on Overpass to put the Danes through. Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander was a force to be reckoned with on Vertigo, while Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen and Emil "Magisk" Reif were the difference on Overpass. Astralis has different players chiming in at different times, but no one is standing out as the clear carry for them right now. And come later today, they might need one.
Picture: Copyright ESL Bart Oerbekke
Grand Final predictions
So on to the match that actually counts. I'm not going to lie, I like EG here. The Dodger blue color scheme has served them well here in Brooklyn, they are still yet to drop a map as Evil Geniuses.
As I was starting to allude to a paragraph ago, I really think that the AWP matchup here is going to play a key role. If Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz doesn't show up to neutralise a surging CeRq, then I don't think there's a team in the world that can beat EG right now. Seriously.
Their win conditions of needing Ethan and CeRq at their best have been on full display in the Bronx. Tarik "tarik" Celik hasn't been playing too shabby in front of his hometown crowd either.
Astralis are still going to be in contention for that world #1 spot again, likely sooner than later, but I think that they need a signature star performance against this high powered EG squad tomorrow. I like this matchup a lot and I'm excited for some really high quality CSGO, here's to hoping that it goes the full distance!
Score: 3-2 Evil Geniuses.
Ban Order: EG remove Overpass, Astralis remove Mirage, EG pick Dust II, Astralis pick Nuke, EG pick Vertigo, Astralis pick Vertigo, Train left over. MVP: Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov.
Pictures: Copyright ESL Carlton Beener / Bart Oerbekke