Astralis and Heroic are through to Group A’s upper semi-finals in IEM Katowice after dispatching mousesports and BIG, respectively. In the main stream match, Nicolai “device” Reedtz delivered a vintage performance as he topped the scoreboard on both maps, but the biggest talking point from the series was the fact that Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth played his first game on Nuke in almost three months, raising further questions about Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen‘s status in the squad.
Astralis made a dream start to the series as they cruised to a 10-0 lead on the CT side of Nuke, mousesports‘ map choice. The international team lacked solutions to break through the Danish defence and looked off the pace, with two rounds all that they could muster in response before the break. Christopher “dexter” Nong‘s troops improved after the side switch and put some rounds together, but their resistance was broken after Astralis upped the pace. With a successful MAC-10 push, the Danes wreaked havoc in mousesports‘ economy, and they had little difficulty closing out the game.
The Danes took an early lead on Inferno, but a successful eco on mousesports‘ part turned the tide of the game and set them up for a 6-0 run, with Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras raising eyebrows on the A site. However, Astralis improved as the half wore on and managed to bring the deficit to a solitary round before the break. The second half was played at a frantic pace, with neither side managing to assert themselves in the early stages. mousesports, who had won an eco round following a quad-kill by Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand, finally managed to string rounds together to equalise the score at 12-12, but then Astralis tightened up and ran away with the game.
Meanwhile, Heroic put on a dominant defensive performance on Inferno as they strolled to a 12-3 lead after shutting down any chances of BIG stringing rounds together. The German team responded in kind, but they were simply too far behind as the Danes managed to close out the game in the 28th round with nothing but pistols. Nuke was a keenly-contested affair from the get-go, with Heroic picking up seven rounds on the offence thanks to a series of clutch situations going their way. BIG loosened their grip on the game after the side switch and could not force a third map as Heroic wrapped things up in the 30th round.