ESL One in New York City pitted Evil Geniuses against Astralis, the Danish kings of the scene fresh off the back of their Starladder Berlin Major win. Evil Geniuses had the crowd on their side though, and looked unstoppable as their gameplan went off without a hitch.
EG began as they meant to continue. Astralis picked Inferno as the first map of the day, but they couldn’t handle Evil Geniuses’ aggressive Counter-Terrorist-side pistol round with stanislaw sealing the early lead. It took six rounds for Astralis to notch their first point on the board, but EG weren’t deterred and stormed to victory on Inferno by a whopping 16-3 margin, having led 13-2 at half time.
Things weren’t so smooth for EG on their own map pick, Dust II. Beginning on the Terrorist side, they failed to walk over the Major champions like they had previously done, as Astralis appeared to have got back into their stride. At half time, the Danes led after a strong CT round, before winning the pistol round to open the second half strongly. The Americans managed to make the comeback though, and from a 12-7 deficit turned it around, finishing the rest of the map without dropping another round.
Things got more exciting on Train, one of Astralis’ favourites. EG won the pistol round but Astralis managed to snatch a few rounds here and there. They planted the bomb when possible, keeping themselves in the game money-wise. Astralis managed to avoid losing control of this decisive map, keeping things close, winning 5 of the last 6 rounds of the first half to go into the break 7-8. Things remained close on Train, and after trading rounds, Evil Geniuses dropped championship point several times after leading 15-11. Astralis came back, forcing a tense double-overtime, finally taking their first map of the Grand Finals 22-20.
It wasn’t to be though - Evil Geniuses rallied on Nuke, the fourth map of this best of five. They cruised to an early 8-1 lead, crippling Astralis’ money in the process. A few good rounds brought it back though, and a half time score of 8-7 in favour of EG indicated another close map. Evil Geniuses didn’t want that though, and cleaned up on the CT side, comfortably sweeping aside Astralis’ resistance to cruise to a 16-8 final map victory, with Brooklyn’s own Tarik initiating expertly to spell the beginning of the end for Astralis.
The former NRG roster of EG will be looking forward to the next opportunity to prove doubters wrong at DreamHack Masters Malmö which runs from October 1st to 6th, and this win has absolutely drawn a target on their back.
You can watch the whole day’s proceedings on ESL’s YouTube channel, with the Grand Final game finally kicking off at 4:35:47 into the broadcast.