Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

As the 2019 esports year draws to a close, we saw the conclusion of the Counter-Strike story we’ve watched develop all year. Team Liquid vs. Astralis. Team Liquid was as dominant a team as there has ever been in Counter-Strike for the first half of 2019. They notched an Intel Grand Slam amid an incredible streak of wins throughout the spring and summer.

The second half of 2019 however saw a return to power for the Danish squad Astralis. After taking some time to regroup in the first half, Astralis got back to their dominant ways in the fall. While they only won a couple majors, they’ve looked strong for the better part of the last few months. That put them on a collision course with Liquid as the BLAST Pro Series Global Finals over the weekend.

What should have been a match-up between two titans turned out to be pretty one-sided. Astralis got out to 8-0 start on Inferno before closing out Liquid 16-11. The second map was Nuke, and was a bit more competitive. However, Astralis won the match comfortably by a 16-12 score to take the 2-0 sweep. For the win, they’ll take home $350,000 dollars.

Joe’s thoughts: While it’s a disappointing finish for Team Liquid, they still have a lot to hang their hat on this year. They had one of the best runs by a North American team ever in Counter-Strike, and they’ll retain much of that roster heading into 2020. Hopefully the next time these two meet, we’ll get the match we were hoping for this time.