Though just one of Karrigan’s Astralis of 2016 remains, the IGL still bested his old organisation in the battle for a semi-finals spot.
The reigning major champions, FaZe Clan came into IEM Cologne with a point to prove. As the reigning Major champions, the expectations are for them to win every big event and build towards an era. But failure at IEM Dallas and humiliation at Blast Premier Spring Finals, have left the hope of an era dangling by a thread. In Finn "karrigan" Andersen's own words, "[they] need to win Cologne, else it's a very bad season in the end for [them]."
And FaZe is just 2 steps away from their goal as they lock in a semi-finals spot at IEM Cologne. All thanks to a close victory over Astralis. For years now, karrigan has been able to outcall and defeat Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's Astralis and this was no exception. While the games were on the knife's edge, it was FaZe who pulled out ahead in the end. Nevertheless, Astralis still stay alive in the event, now battling in the Quarter-Finals.
Map 1 - Overpass - CT side destruction from FaZe
Astralis started the proceedings on Overpass by picking up the pistol round. But FaZe with their impeccable aim, bought back up and converted the force buy round. From there the Danes' usual openers, Kristian "k0nfig" Wienecke and Asger "farlig" Jensen, failed to find any impact on the T-side. The team managed to pick up just 2 additional T-side rounds as Helvijs "broky" Saukants' magic with the AWP had him on 20 kills in the first half.
A triple kill from Russel van Dulken allowed FaZe to get their lead to 14-3 where the game seemed over for Astralis. But the T-side deficiencies came back, this time forcing FaZe to concede 9 rounds in a row, bringing Astralis within two rounds. Despite Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth's amazing performance, FaZe eventually closed the game out and moved us to Inferno.
Map 2 - Inferno - Woeful T-side for Astralis
FaZe once again started off strong on Inferno comfortably winning the first four rounds. Astralis then fought back to put themselves on the scoreboard. Broky's impact plays continued as a quad-kill highlight from him led FaZe to a 6-3 victory. The Antwerp champions concluded the half with a 8-7 lead.
Taking another pistol round, meant that FaZe built up to a three-round lead early in the second half. The Danes temporarily gained even footing at 10-10, but their disastrous T-side reared its head again, letting FaZe close the series out 16-11
NaVi - FaZe Grand finals possible at IEM Cologne
With the demise of 2021 NaVi and the sudden emergence of FaZe Clan, we haven't seen the two titans battle it out in the grand finals. But thanks to FaZe's win, the bracket now allows for the two to face off in an all-out brawl to decide who truly is the best team in the world going into the second season. Will NaVi demolish FaZe again as they did at Lisbon? Or will the Major Champs show them who the real boss is? We'll find out when IEM Cologne returns next week.