Over the last year, Astralis was often one of those teams that could go quite deep in a tournament, but never had what it took to win the whole thing in 2016. Following a roster change, where Finn “karrigan” Andersen went to the mightily struggling FaZe Clan and Astralis got Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander to replace him, both teams suddenly kicked it up a gear or two, performing noticeably better than had been their norm for the first three quarters of the year. This trend finally culminated in Astralis managing to win a big event, Esports Championship Series Season 2 Finals, just a week after coming in 2nd at ELEAGUE Season 2 Finals.
The road to the victorious Finals hasn’t been easy exactly for Astralis, however, they could have had a more difficult road ahead. In the Group Stage of the ECS S2 Finals, the team had to try and get out of Group A, which had OpTic Gaming, which defeated them a week previous in the ELEAGUE S2 Finals, FaZe Clan, which has been on a similar upswing to their own, and Cloud9. They managed to get themselves to the Playoffs with a perfect 2-0 score after defeating both OpTic and FaZe, however their journey could have probably been much harder if some of the teams in Group B, Team EnVyUs, SK Gaming, Team Dignitas, or Immortals were in their group.
As the first seed from Group A, Astralis had to face the second seed from Group B, SK Gaming, which was playing the first tournament after replacing their rifler, Lincoln “fnx” Lau with Ricardo “fox” Pacheco. Understandably, SK had some problems, losing to Team Dignitas, winning against their Brazilian brothers Immortals, and finally clinching their Semifinals spot when they manage to avenge their first match of the tournament by winning a best of three series against Team Dignitas, 2-1. The Semifinal match against the SK Gaming which had to get used to their new player went well for Astralis. They won two maps in a row, Cache and Overpass, and move to the Finals.
Awaiting them in the battle for the trophy were the players from OpTic Gaming, the team, which surprised everyone by taking the ELEAGUE title from Astralis just 8 days before. Understandably annoyed by being denied what Astralis has already thought of as theirs, the Danish players didn’t mess around, starting the first map, Overpass, strong, winning the first half 14-1. OpTic managed to come back a little bit in the second half, however, Astralis only needed two points to win the map, which they got in round 7 of the second half. The second map of the series, Train, was much closer. The first half went 9-7 in CT-sided Astralis’ favor. They didn’t do much better on the Terrorist side either, winning it 7-5 and winning the ECS Season 2 trophy and the lion’s share of the $660,000 USD prize pool.