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A massive comeback on CT side of Nuke was enough for Astralis to knock Ninjas in Pyjamas out of the BLAST Premier: World Final. For NiP, who have been playing with Young Ninjas stand-in Love “phzy” Smidebrant at their last two events, it’s the end of the 2021 Counter-Strike season.

“It does suck, for sure,” NiP’s Patrick “es3tag” Hansen said in a post-match interview. “We did way more than people probably thought we could do with a stand-in. Of course, we’re not content. We want to win.”

While phzy did not have the star-level performance of Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, who he was filling in for, the rookie played well considering his inexperience against Tier 1 teams. He led the team on the deciding match of Nuke, where NiP gave away a huge lead as they failed to get any offense going on their T side. NiP were initially flattened by Astralis on the first map of Inferno, 16-8, but brought it back on Mirage to force the third map.

“You’d rather get 16-0’d than have these close games and get it taken away from you last second,” es3tag said.

For Astralis, Benjamin “blameF” Bremer was the stand-out performer of the series. With 79 kills on a 1.39 rating, blameF led the team on all three maps. Astralis’ veteran in-game leader, Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander, came alive in the latter half of Nuke with some pivotal clutches to help bring his team over the line.

The match-up between Astralis and NiP is shaping up to be one of the most compelling rivalries in the Tier 1 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene. The two teams have a lot of history between their players and their matches have consistently delivered.

Astralis will move on to face the loser of the match between G2 Esports and Team Vitality at 1:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 17.

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