Train is out of the competitive map pool, and with it, the locations of some of the nuttiest pro plays and most exciting competitive matches we’ve seen in the game. Though the map was not the most popular on the all-time list for matchmaking purposes, its complicated and tactical nature led to some incredible highlights.
It was one of the biggest upsets at the time when plucky upstarts Fnatic upset domestic juggernauts NiP in the grand final of the inaugural CS:GO Major, DreamHack Winter 2013. The Ninjas’ 87-0 streak still lived strong in the memory and they were such a big deal that they had their own documentary crew following them around for the duration of the tournament.
It all came crashing down for them, however, on Train, the decider map where the hype train rolled in at breakneck pace. Winning a nailbiter on Dust 2 and losing Inferno in a blowout, Fnatic put up a clinic on map three, only dropping two rounds on their way to victory. It was quite the prelude for the biggest rivalry of the early CS:GO days.
Today, it’s self-evident that the Astralis core are among the greatest players to ever play Counter-Strike. Back at the time of their first Major victory, they were seen more as one of those perennial challengers with a serious choking issue, and they were clearly considered the underdogs against the experienced Virtus.pro squad in the grand final of the ELEAGUE Atlanta Major.
It was clear from the outset that the two teams are closely matched, with Kjaerbye keeping up his insane showings consistent with what we’ve seen from him throughout the entire event. The Danes made up for a 16-12 loss on Nuke with a nailbiter 16-14 on Overpass to set up Train as the grand finale.
VP raced to a 7-0 lead on the T side of the map, a horrible portent of potential futures for Astralis fans. Still, gla1ve and co. managed to rally to a 6-9 score at halftime, still a significant deficit, but not the complete blowout the opening rounds promised. After VP converted the CT pistol and the two follow-up rounds, Astralis won the all-important gun round but lost the next one straight after, starting at a potential 14-7 scoreline having to eco in round 20.
That was when the clutch minister went up against the Plow and lived to tell the tale.
The rest, as they say, is history. Turns out, Anders was right: Danish Counter-Strike is one hell of a drug and we've been hooked on it basically ever since.
A bright flash in what was essentially two eternities of darkness, Fnatic’s shock victory over karrigan’s FaZe Clan at IEM Katowice 2019 was their first championship title for over two years and the first sign that there’s real potential in GoldeN’s in-game leadership. Perhaps the most memorable moment from this match can serve as an example of why this new-look Fnatic side has been struggling so much in the online era since flusha’s departure: no one else has the sort of spicy sauce needed for an ace clutch like this.
He also ace clutched in round 30 to push the match to overtime, by the way. Just flusha things.
IEM Katowice 2019 marked the emergENCE of the fan favorite Finns, cementing Aleksib as a top tier IGL along the way. Beating Team Liquid was already mightily impressive, but you could still label the North Americans as chokers to take away some of the sheen from that accomplishment.
Doing the same to s1mple and co. in the final four? That’s a very different matter – and winning the 16-14 squeaker on Train set them up for that date with destiny (and Astralis) in the grand final.
Tap, tap, tap. A psychological blow of epic proportion which put the upstart opponents in their place at the very beginning of what promised to be a challenging semifinal. It just goes to show how ridiculous a player device has been for the past few years.
We’re still waiting for that graffiti, Valve.
Perhaps it is fitting that one of the more tactical maps in competitive CS:GO only seemed to produce big moments at the tail end of important tournaments, pitting the best players against one another for all the marbles. So long, Train. You could be frustrating but you most certainly will be missed.
On the bright side, at least EliGe is happy /s