IEM Katowice: No. 1 Astralis Defeat No. 21 Heroic 2-0 in Semifinals

by Steven Cropley

The No. 1 team in the world, Astralis met a friend as an unlikely foe in the semifinals of Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2017. No. 21 Heroic battled its way to the number one seed going into the playoffs, earning a bye into the semifinals. Astralis took down No. 4 Natus Vincere 2-0 to make its way into the match against its Danish brothers and the former home of Astralis' in-game leader Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander.

Astralis' only loss coming out of the group stage was against No. 13 Immortals in a surprising upset on Cache. Heroic's group stage ended 3-2 with losses coming to No. 3 and 9 SK Gaming and Cloud9.

IEM Astralis
(Photo: Astralis)

Train would be map one and Astralis' pick, a map it has shown strength on since its resurgence in late 2016. It would be Heroic who got off to a strong lead, creating a gap at 7-2 before Astralis would manage to claw its way back into the game, to only face a 7-8 deficit at the half. Once again Astralis showed its poise on the counter-terrorist side, beautiful defensive setups paired with strong individual performances would see Astralis take the half 9-4 for the map win at 16-12.

As in the other semifinal, the second map would see a reversal of roles. On Heroic's pick of Nuke, the No. 1 team in the WWG CSGO Team Rankings would take a strong lead 5-0 before Heroic would grab two. Three more would swing the way of Astralis until Heroic got its third and final map of the half to go down 3-12. A pistol round victory would help Heroic close the gap, Heroic would bring it within two at 14-12 before Astralis would grab the two it needed. A 16-12 victory on Nuke would see the No. 1 team take the 2-0.