Astralis were the ones to come out on top in Chicago
The Grand Final of IEM Chicago 2018 took place not too long after the Collegiate final concluded. The two teams in said final would be number one in North America, Liquid, and number one in the world, Astralis. The veto for the final saw the potential five maps being Mirage, Nuke, Inferno, Dust2 and Overpass.
Mirage opened the grand final, and it was Astralis who kicked off the match with the first two rounds on their T-side. After that, it was Liquid who came out strong, including Epitacio "TACO" de Melo bringing out some good plays. After only dropping one round in a nine-round spell, they lost it a little towards the end of the half, but Liquid managed to hold out a fairly strong 9-6 lead at the halftime point.
The second half started off fruitful for Liquid, taking the pistol round and next two rounds, before Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander and co. woke up and developed into a rather strong CT-half. After the Danes had a strong four round streak, Keith "NAF" Markovic secured a 1v2 which put Liquid on a 14-10 lead and potentially on the brink of winning the first map. Unfortunately, Astralis came out and completed an unexpected comeback and secured a 16-14 win over the home side.
Nuke followed, and many knew Liquid would be in a difficult spot here, with them needing to break Astralis' 23-0 streak on the map in order to even out the score in the final. Astralis started the map off with their now well-known strength. Liquid had a small run in the middle of the first half, but it pretty much belonged to the Danish team as they went up 9-6 on the difficult map.
The second half truly showed off Astralis' destructive tendencies, as they mounted a CT-side defence that took no prisoners. It was Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth who helped his side to a 16-7 win, with the Danish team dropping just one round in the second half.
Inferno was next, and Liquid had it all to come back from with them needing a history-making reverse sweep to take the IEM Chicago crown. Although Liquid started the map off with the pistol round and the following two anti-ecos, Astralis started to prove that the map was going to belong to them. The CT-side was strong from Astralis, partially proved by Peter "dupreeh" Rothman with a A-site hold. Liquid were only able to win one more round in the first half, as the Danish team went on a eight round streak until the break for a 11-4 lead.
The second half wasn't to help Liquid, as the Danish team kept their unbeaten round streak up, securing all five rounds required for the 16-4 win, and the 3-0 series victory.
|3 - 0||
|de_mirage||16 - 14||de_mirage|
|de_nuke||16 - 7||de_nuke|
|de_inferno||16 - 4||de_inferno|
This means Astralis lifts the IEM Chicago trophy, taking the $100,000 top prize and edges closer to the $1,000,000 Intel Grand Slam. Liquid's second place saw them secure $42,000.
The full standings of IEM Chicago 2018 were:
1st: Astralis - $100,000
2nd: Liquid - $42,000
3rd/4th: FaZe - $20,000
3rd/4th: Fnatic - $20,000
5th/6th: LDLC - $10,000
5th/6th: mousesports - $10,000
7th/8th: NRG - $6,000
7th/8th: Luminosity - $6,000
9th-12th: MIBR - $5,000
9th-12th: North - $5,000
9th-12th: BIG - $5,000
9th-12th: eUnited - $5,000
13th-16th: MVP - $4,000
13th-16th: Renegades - $4,000
13th-16th: Natus Vincere - $4,000
13th-16th: AVANGAR - $4,000