They are the first two teams to make it to the LANXESS Arena.

The IEM Cologne group stages is in its final days and Astralis and FaZe Clan have secured their spot for the LANXESS arena. The IEM Cologne playoffs will play out in front of a live audience and both these teams will have their fans cheer from them in the audience. Astralis took down Cloud9 to secure their win while FaZe Clan eliminated Team Spirit to qualify for the playoffs. The two teams will still face each other in the next match to determine their seeding for the playoffs.

Astralis send Cloud9 to lower bracket

Cloud9 started with a pistol round win on Inferno on their CT side. They con the next two rounds, but Astralis’ dominance on the CT side kicked in once they had weapons. Astralis’ performance was clearly in sync with each other, on a map that they consider to be one of their strongest. The Astralis players have repeatedly said about their willingness to increase their map pool. Their current performance has only improved since the past few months. 

The first half, despite Cloud9’s strong start on the CT side, ended with a 10-5 score for Astralis. Inferno is no longer as CT sided as some of the maps in the map pool nowadays and it was clearly evident in the body language of the Cloud9 players. When Astralis won the first four rounds on their CT side, they were up 14-5, a tall task for the Cloud9 CS: GO roster. They managed to string together a few rounds but Astralis sealed the deal with two round victories.

Xyp9x and blameF stepped up for Astralis on Inferno, the players’ familiarity clearly reflecting in their confidence on this map. 

Next up was Mirage, a map that Astralis has specifically targeted to improve over the past few months. Traditionally the Astralis roster had avoided Mirage, but with the addition of the two Complexity members, the roster has been trying to improve its map pool. 

With a 9-1 start, Astralis were in full control on this map, they dictated the pace of the game. They were equally strong on the T-side, bringing significant aggression and map presence to seal the series. 

With this victory, Astralis will now face FaZe Clan in the upper bracket round 3. Meanwhile, Cloud9 will have to fight for survival in Group B lower bracket. 

FaZe Clan move past Team Spirit

The PGL Major winners, FaZe Clan faced their own challenger in Team Spirit. FaZe comes into this tournament as one of the favorites alongside the likes of ENCE, Heroic and more. However, the tournament has already shown that favorites can exit the tournament really early as Heroic have done so far. 

FaZe clearly had a problem with their pistol rounds a Team Spirit won both the pistols on Ancient. The pistol round wins meant they were able to amass a few rounds near the pistol on both sides of Ancient. However, whenever they got guns, FaZe was clearly the dominant team in the server, outclassing and outmaneuvering Team Spirit. 

Unsurprisingly, with his aggressive gameplay and on-the-go leadership, karrigaN was the best player for FaZe Clan on Ancient. The IGL was clearly feeling the confidence and was in form, which helped buoy his team forward. 

Nuke was a much closer map with Team spirit racing forth to a 10-5 lead. Team Spirit’s performance on Nuke allowed them to dictate and control FaZe’s finances. The Major winners would often not have enough economy to challenge the Team Spirit rifles.

But when we switched sides, the case was very similar for Team Spirit whose economy never really recovered. Team Spirit only managed to win three T-side rounds, clearly inadequate to win the map. Astralis’ victory is a resounding vote of confidence for the Danes who are seemingly recovering from a series of poor performances.

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