Reaching for the stars
The story of Astralis – Part 2
So far, we dived deep into the history of CS:GO team Astralis and found out how they started and what it took to win the first Major championship title. However, that is not their whole story. Astralis’ dominance did not start right after that Major victory. Just the opposite, new problems occurred that had to be dealt with. Let’s find out the whole story behind their success.
Problems after the Major
The ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017 was the first major of the year and it took place in January. After that triumph, Astralis were in great shape for 2 more months. They got third place on DreamHack Masters LA and even won IEM Katowice 2017.
However, something just snapped and this team couldn’t manage to win a single tournament for more than a year. Bad results were happening all over again and the curse was back. When you think things couldn’t get any worse, Nikolai “device” Reedtz got sick, had to go on medical leave and undergo surgery.
The key player of this team, Device, was diagnosed with stress-induced Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). He had to reduce stress and immediately step down from a team.
Device was everything in this Astralis, from primary AWP to entry fragger and even riffler in some situations. It was almost impossible to replace him. Famous players like Rubin “RUBINO” Villaroel, Jacob “pimp” Winneche, and Dennis “dennis” Edman were invited to try to fill Device’s shoes, each one on a different tournament. However, it was all in vain. No matter how hard they tried, neither could replace him.
IBS is a disease with no real cure but Device never gave up. He changed his lifestyle completely, started a new diet and exercise routine. On January 8 2018, the Danish pro finally came back and things were just fine once again.
Astralis’ new Magisk boy
Besides temporary stand-ins, 2017 was the year without any roster changes. However, with the beginning of 2018, new problems popped up. Marcus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye decided to leave the team without any notice.
As the Astralis in-game leader said, they did not know anything about it. They didn’t have any clue he was going to leave them. The whole team was speechless.
He went to North, as he said, so he could win tournaments. The biggest irony is that spoiler alert: after he left, Astralis won every single Major tournament and their dominance really began.
The team was short one player and they had to react fast to fill the empty spot. A young Danish player going by Emil “Magisk” Reif came as a temporary solution but he got along with the team and became a permanent member. On that day, an unbeatable roster was made, the roster that is still the best in the world. The era of Astralis dominance began.
The first Intel Grand Slam
Meanwhile, Intel decided to reward the team who wins four tournaments organized by ESL or DreamHack during the window of 10 consecutive tournaments.
With Magisk in the team, Astralis were just unstoppable and they were the first ever to win the Intel Grand Slam and a reward of $1 million with it. The prize was given directly to the players.
Team Astralis today
Astralis were the most dominant team during the whole period of 2018 and 2019. They had and still have incredible tactics. A lot of professional players admitted that it is hardest to play against Astralis.
The Danish stars do not give any room for a mistake to their opponents. If you make a mistake, they will use it and get the round. As the in-game leader of FaZe Nikola “NiKo” Kovač said:
“They just don't give you the space for anything. While playing against them, every player has to be 100% focused, every player has to make 100% correct decisions because if you don't, you will most definitely lose the round. Wherever you give them space, they'll take it. They won't give you anything for free, there are no free rounds against Astralis.”
The whole team adopted an aggressive playstyle, with confidence and in control of the map in every round. There is a famous B hold on Inferno called the “Astralis banana hold”. The Danish team has managed to bend the rules and even have some maps remade because of their style of play.
For example, Valve had to widen the mid area on Mirage because Astralis found a way to take mid control with only 2 smokes early in the round. Their prowess, especially on Mirage, makes it nearly impossible to score a win against them on that map.
A lot of professional players are saying that Astralis show boring gameplay and there is no fun in that. The truth is, they found a perfect formula and it works.
Astralis won three more consecutive Majors and became the first team ever to win 4 Major Championship titles. With an impressive run of success behind them already, it would definitely be exciting to see what the future holds for this stellar squad.
It’s highly likely that they are reinventing the wheel again, adding a sixth man to their roster. So, stay tuned for more on Astralis and CS:GO, here, at EarlyGame.
Team Astralis roster
Support (now departing)
Team Astralis stats
Total Tournament Titles:
Grand Slam Titles:
Those are some big numbers but Astralis had a long, hard way to the stars. Come back next week for another exciting story about your favorite esports teams here, at EarlyGame!