The grand final of IEM Katowice 2019 is finally here. To be honest, no one was expecting ENCE Esports to make it this far. However, they have been on point throughout the entire The New Champions Stage, and they have definitely deserved their spot in the finals. Furthermore, most of us CS:GO bettors expected Astralis to crush everyone on their way to the trophy, and they did exactly that.
Given the fact that we had a lot of matches played in The New Legends Stage, we have a great insight in ENCE’s and Astralis’ form and game plan.
Finnish roster dominated Liquid in their first match in The New Champions Stage. They were even able to pull off an insane comeback on Inferno, and that sealed the series for them. The amount of teamplay ENCE presented was incredible, and Liquid was definitely not prepared for this.
After beating Liquid, ENCE had another hard task in front of themselves. Natus Vincere was coming off from a relatively easy victory against FaZe and their motivation was on its peak. After dominating Natus Vincere on the CT-side of Train, ENCE easily closed the first map. However, they were trashed on Dust 2 and they were only able to win 3 rounds. After their poor showing on Dust 2, ENCE stepped up on Mirage, and somehow they were able to close the series there. From my perspective, they were quite lucky on Mirage, but hey, luck is a part of the game as well.
Danes were the biggest favorites to lift IEM Katowice 2019 trophy. They barely had to break a sweat in all of their matches, and every match except the one against Renegades was very easy for Astralis. In The New Champions Stage, Astralis dominated both MIBR and NiP.
There is not much to say about their games there. Other teams did not come close. First of all, NiP was very close to losing their map pick, Mirage, 16-0. Furthermore, Swedes came close to winning Dust 2, but only on the paper. If you watched the game, they were nowhere near Astralis.
MIBR did not do any better than NiP. However, Brazilians definitely made it harder for Astralis on their map pick. To be honest, Overpass could have gone either way, but we all know that Astralis has a plan for everything.
After edging out MIBR on their map pick Overpass with a score 16-14, Astralis had an easy job on Inferno as MIBR simply had no answer to Astralis’ utility usage, especially on the CT-side of Inferno.
These two teams have similar map pools. Let’s start with something we all know. Neither of these teams plays Cache, and this map is the first one to be permabanned. I could actually see Astralis banning Cache, while ENCE will definitely want to permaban Dust 2, as they were horrible on it against Natus Vincere.
On to the good maps for Astralis and ENCE. Astralis is really strong on both Inferno and Nuke. Furthermore, they looked solid on Overpass and Dust 2 as well. From my perspective, Danes were always a bit rusty on Train and Mirage, and these maps are the only chance for ENCE to do something.
ENCE feels comfortable on Mirage, Train and Overpass. However, they are also competent on Inferno and Nuke, but they are nowhere near Astralis’ level. Astralis will definitely get a map where they are comfortable on. I do not think they will mind playing either Nuke or Inferno as their map pick.
As a decider, I could see a couple of maps. However, given the fact that both of these teams played well on Overpass in the last couple of matches, this could easily be a deciding map, if we need one.
Astralis faced off against ENCE in late 2018. They have beaten Finnish roster with a very dominant scoreline. Allu and co. simply had no chance on Nuke, as they were left with only 5 rounds to their name.
There is a clear favorite in this match, that being Astralis. They have torn apart everyone throughout both The New Challengers Stage and The New Champions Stage. Danes have dropped only one map, and this is an incredible stat to have.
On the other hand, ENCE managed to pull off a comeback in order to survive on IEM Katowice 2019. After going 0-2, they stepped up and played on a level above everyone else. ENCE has a weird tendency of having slow starts, and this will haunt them against Astralis.
In conclusion, Astralis is definitely a better team when we compare individual skill. They also have a better map pool, and map veto will heavily favor them since these two teams share the same permaban. It is going to be interesting to see what happens if Astralis decides to leave Cache in the map pool. Astralis also has tons of experience on the big stage, while ENCE has a 16 years old player on the roster. This will also be a key factor in this game. All in all, Astralis should easily secure another Major tournament for themselves, and they should easily stomp ENCE, especially if Finnish roster does not have a good start.
Betting tip / prediction: Correct Score, Astralis 2:0
Bookmaker: Betway esports
Date: March 3rd, 20:00 CEST
See more odds @ Betway