MOUZ put up a valiant fight but they now head into their player break after a top eight finish at IEM Cologne.
IEM Cologne 2022 playoffs brings fans back to the LANXESS Arena, the Cathedral of Counter-Strike after quite some time. As fans watch their favorite players compete on stage and hope for that elusive selfie, the level of competition at IEM Cologne continued to amaze. The playoffs kicked off with Astralis and MOUZ taking on each other having fought through the group stages and emerging at the top.
For many of the MOUZ players, this was their first opportunity to play in front of such a large crowd and that too at the Cathedral of Counterstrike. The lack of experience did play a small part in their inability to close out the series, however, for the players, reaching the tournament’s playoffs was still a massive achievement.
Mirage bites Astralis yet again
The first map was Mirage – a map that Astralis used to avoid previously. However, the new Astralis roster has slowly been warming up to Mirage, even training on the map to expand their map pool. Today, they didn’t veto Mirage and MOUZ immediately picked it up.
The map started with a very dominant T side by MOUZ. Astralis were subject to a shellacking on their CT side with Mouz players running rampant around the mid and A bombsite area. On multiple occasions, there were instances when Astralis managed to get some rounds in and it looked like they might be set up for more rounds than their eventual first half score of 10-5.
When MOUZ won the pistol and the subsequent round in the second half, it looked mighty impossible for Astralis to catch up. They managed a few rounds, but it was only delaying the inevitable. MOUZ ultimately sealed Mirage with a 16-8 score.
Map 2: Nuke: Home Ground for Astralis
However, as we move to Astralis’ map pick of Nuke, they were clearly much more comfortable. MOUZ won the first two rounds, but once Astralis got some guns in their hands, they were clearly the dominant team, even though they were on the T side.
Astralis had seven consecutive round wins, looking impossible to stop. Their outer executes and their coordination with each other across the map seemed to be their biggest strengths. The team was able to ensure a strong performance partly due to excellent communication and their mid-round calls ensured they were always having a numbers advantage or at least they could trade a lot of frags.
MOUZ still managed a few rounds towards the end of the first half, bringing the score to a respectable 9-6. But Nuke is still a CT sided map, although not as heavily as years gone by. Astralis moved to CT during the second half. They won 7 of the 10 rounds to secure Nuke and force a third map. If Astralis would win the final map, they would reach the IEM Cologne e semifinals.
Ancient style comeback for Astralis @ IEM Cologne
The third map was much closer than the first two maps. The two teams were securing two, sometimes three rounds in a row. But towards the end of the half, MOUZ won five rounds in a row to take the lead. On Ancient, taking a 9-6 lead was a massive lead considering the fact that Ancient is one of the most CT sided maps in the game presently.
However, things were not over for Astralis. The Danish players’ experience and composure helped them to slowly mount the comeback.
Astralis’ T-side performance on Ancient was fabulous. They were able to put forth a strong attack based on their detailed knowledge of the map and their ability to stick together. Their post-plant clutches, including that of the second pistol were crucial in enabling the start of their comeback.
Over time, it felt the MOUZ roster was losing steam and the players were also slowly losing hope they could win. They could feel the win slipping out of their hands but they were clueless as to what went wrong.
We feel like Ancient is one of our strongest maps. Dexter’s calling was really good and we had good team cohesion. When we went to CT side, something was not working out. They played really well and Glaive called really well. I don’t know where we lost that map to be honest.Torzsi
With this victory, MOUZ are eliminated from IEM Cologne 2022. Meanwhile Astralis move ahead and will face Navi in their next IEM Cologne matchup. Astralis have already secured their top four placement at IEM Cologne, one of the most prestigious events in the Counter-Strike calendar year.