The undisputed king of CS:GO

Until the recent impressive run by Liquid to dethrone Astralis with the victory at DreamHack Master Dallas 2019, Astralis had been notoriously holding their supreme position in CS:GO for over one year. During the 406 days in their reign, Astralis has undoubtedly been named the best team of all time. Not even one legendary NiP in their prime 2012-2013 or fnatic with back-to-back major titles or the two times major MVP coldzera and Co. can challenge this.

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The Danes have dominated CS:GO scene for quite a long time

However, Astralis is now under a serious threat made by themselves with the recent bad performance. In this year, Astralis has only managed to win 1 Major in IEM Katowice 2019 and BLAST Pro Series Sao Paulo 2019. That was much underwhelming compared to what they demonstrated in 2018, showing dominant performance over any team.

Lack of trophy and attendance to big tournament resulted in Astralis’s fall from their high horse, leaving Astralis out of #1 in HLTV ranking. This gave rise to the question: “is the era finally over, or can they manage to come back after a long time off.” In this article, we are going to give more details on the era of Astralis and some underlying issues that can eventually decay the team’s performance.

Astralis Made Their Name On Headlines

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The first victory in the long line of silverware Astralis accumulated under their era

Astralis started their rise to the top of professional CS:GO at the end of April last year, after the victory in DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018. Ever since then, Astralis was mentioned as the overdog in almost any match, showing dominant performance. In every tournament with Astralis, people stopped guessing who will the tournament. They would get hyped up to see who will be the runner-up as the champion is already decided.

Astralis became an inevitable finalist in almost every tournament and would emerge victorious most of the time. Every match they lost would automatically be named “upset”. They went on to dominate the CS:GO scene for over one year.

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They were almost guaranteed a final ticket every event they attended

Astralis was not a new phenomenon. They rose to make headlines in January 2017 where they managed to win the legendary lineup in ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017. They also ended the era for where the lineup fell apart shortly after, losing their core players and turned into a tier 2-3 team.

Astralis Rise to Power

Astralis started its rise to the top of professional CS:GO at the end of April last year. And they quickly became an absolute monster of a team. This was not the first time when the Danes tasted success.

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Astralis managed to win one Major with Kjaerbye

Astralis had already won a Major back in January 2017. It may sound unbelievable at this point, but at the time they played in the Grand Final of ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017 against Since then, VP lost most of their roster and all of their glory, being a tier 2-3 team.

However, their short era soon fell apart on June 2017 with the rise of the two arch-rivals that year SK Gaming and FaZe Clan. With their stellar performance that year, SK (the now MIBR) and FaZe went on to dominate the scene that year, facing each other in most of the finals in big tournaments.

Astralis then went down under an underwhelming time with no impressive achievement. After that time, with Kjaerbye leaving for North, Astralis made a drastic move by picking up Magisk from OpTic. Things worked out miraculously for Astralis shortly after the addition of the young boy who was dropped by North.

One would hardly call Magisk a star but he was like a missing piece to the Astralis puzzle, who would then help the team to dominate the scene.

Instant success that extended for over 1 year

After the victory over Natus Vincere in DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018 to lift the first trophy in their long era, Astralis went on to win lots of important big events. There are 12 of them in total and all of them are big tournaments featuring most top teams. Among these are also two Majors –the most important trophy in CS:GO, and the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018, which was practically a Major in terms of its prize pool, participants and importance.

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Astralis accumulated countless trophies under their own era

They also won the $1 million Intel Grand Slam title which was created in June 2017 to reward the team who could win four +$200,000 ESL/DreamHack tournaments in the span of ten. The full list of trophies won by Astralis over the last 14 months is the following:

  • DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018
  • ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals
  • ECS Season 5 Finals
  • ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018
  • FACEIT Major: London 2018
  • BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul 2018
  • IEM Chicago
  • ECS Season 6 Finals
  • ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals
  • BLAST Pro Series: Lisbon 2018
  • IEM Katowice Major 2019
  • BLAST Pro Series: Sao Paulo 2019

Astralis' keys to success

What are the recipe and ingredients that cooked such a Danish gourmet? CS:GO features lots of amazing talents and high-level competition but none has managed to craft their dominant era like Astralis. What made them stand out from the rest?

Solid Players

Most of the top teams nowadays feature some of the best players on the server. For example, Natus Vincere rely mostly on s1mple and electronic’s stellar performance for their success in retaining top position. The same goes for FaZe where they feature 5 aim stars, notorious for the buyout of NiKo and Guardian.

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Natus Vincere had to rely heavily on the two stars to win some CS:GO

Astralis is no exception. All their 5 players are really high on the list of top players in 2018, with 4 in top 10 and 2 in top 5. Their potential is tremendous with each player’s ability to shine any time in any dire situation. Even their IGL would be named the best IGL fragging wise.

Good Communication

Communication is crucial whenever you play in a team-based game. In CS:GO, good communication is the key considering the hasty nature of the game with short time to react and receive information. CS:GO is indeed a team game where we fight as a team rather than a mixture of 5 individual players.

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They are good friends outside of the game and are willing to listen

This is thanks to gla1ve and zonic who made the entire thing possible. The coach and the team are good friends outside of the game. They have a close relationship with each other and have pretty good synergy in game. Also, the whole lineup is all Danish so they have no trouble getting information from each other in the game.

Roster Experience

This is most teams’ stumbling block. When they failed to produce expected results, most organization tended to make a roster change. Changes are often good but it may harm the team’s chemistry.

With new people, players need to build up the relationship from scratch and spend time figuring out what is best for new members. It will take time and effort to finally achieve a good synergy between the team members.

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Roster stability is the main factor in the success of a CS:GO squad. Cloud 9 failed to keep their men

Moreover, 4 out of 5 players in Astralis have spent a long time in CS:GO scenes, accumulating a tremendous amount of experience. Their coach, Zonic, is also one of the longest standing member of CS:GO. Also, except for Magisk, all 4 members of Astralis have stuck together for more than 3 years. They have got to know each other well enough to build a team based on trust and experience.

Some top-secret secret?

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Top-secret weapon

There was a meme on Reddit to unveil the secret to Astralis’ success. Many people found it entertaining while others came up with a good explanation of the stuff here. Astralis felt that Esports is one good deal of competition where we use our mind and reflexes to compete.

Should the game go wild, its duration can extend to hours. In that case, we may very well need a quick supply of energy and hydration. Banana is a perfect choice for its convenience and a good source of vitamin supplements. Stay healthy, stay ahead.

Astralis’ recent problem

Astralis is currently undergoing some difficulties, caused in part by their own in-game mistakes. Moreover, staying in on top of CS:GO seems to have a negative effect on the team. While they stayed dominant for such a long time, most teams had to come up with a way to take down the “final boss”.

After all, CS:GO should not be and will not be a one-sided game where only one team get to win. CS:GO is always evolving and changing, new stuff comes out, old stuff dies out. What was once true may not stay forever. Many teams have carefully investigated the way how Astralis played and eventually worked out a way to counter-strat them.

Old challengers

One of the first notable challengers of Astralis was Team Liquid. They remained inactive for quite a while and stopped playing Train for a long time. Obviously, they were hiding strategies to use up against Astralis, the “final boss” in ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals. The map pick was a certain win for Astralis as Liquid never played Train, as they always banned the map.

People would think it was a free map for Astralis but Twistzz and Co. said no. They got a flawless T-side with 11 rounds and decent CT-side to win the map 16-8. Liquid eventually lost 1-3 but that was the first example of Astralis not too undefeatable anymore.

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A great challenger of Astralis

The second challenger of Liquid was ENCE. After they got defeated 0-2 in the grand final of IEM Katowice, they remain inactive for quite a while to invent new strategies. And they hid it for a long time, even losing to NiP on Nuke in BLAST Pro Series Madrid.

Only when facing Astralis did they use their hidden card, showing their true color. They had been waiting for this very moment to dethrone Astralis on Nuke, ending their 31 maps long streak on LAN.

New comers

That set the first example of successful Astralis challenger in a best of three. Most recently, when Astralis is no longer invincible on Nuke, one rising Brazillian team decided to throw down the gauntlet, playing on Nuke. That one brave squad was FURIA, the most prominent team to take the #1 Brazillian team title from MIBR.

They did so well in the first opening match against Astralis, winning 14-16 after a convincing T-side. Later on, they managed to pull off an upset once again in the best of three series against Astralis, winning Mirage and Nuke.

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Some rising teams can be quite a nuisance to deal with

Also, after more than a year of total dominance, Astralis might also be facing motivation issues. Without a doubt, the players may find it hard to take everything seriously all the time. They may want to be inventive and try out new stuff at times. Teams like Liquid and ENCE would jump at the chance and catch them off-guard.

Can Astralis Survive the Summer? Or the time after?

Astralis will have a hard test this Summer, after a long time off. Starting unsuccessfully with ECS Season 7 Finals, where they crashed out in group stage, Astralis will need a much better preparation coming to big tournaments with big names like Liquid, ENCE, Natus Vincere or even FURIA.

They need to come up with new stuff and a way of renovating themselves. The same thing happened with many eras by NiP, fnatic or SK Gaming. After a long time dominating CS:GO scene, they eventually fell out of their throne.

NiP got issues with their roster change and the upcoming of many better teams, most notably fnatic during the time of 2013 and later on. fnatic got the same issue where they could not outgrow the other upcoming teams, new stuff and eventually failed to adapt to new changes.

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The legendary Swedish roster experienced similar problem AStralis is now facing

SK Gaming had their own era while fighting their archrival FaZe in 2017. After shaky ups and downs performance of players, they decided to make a change in roster, resulting in underwhelming achievement and eventually fell behind in the competition.

This could be partly due to the uprising of Astralis in 2018, where the Danes introduced CS:GO’s structured strategies and disciplined playstyle. Now with the upcoming challenges, can Astralis outdo their former champions of CS:GO?

Now they are up against one Team Liquid with enormous firepower with each team members can shine any moment. Can they manage to beat ENCE with their disciplined CT-side plus inventive T-side strategies? Can they renovate themselves against FURIA after getting caught off-guard in one tournament? It all remains to be seen in the upcoming future.

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Will Astralis manage to defeat ENCE again?

Will Astralis make their way back to the throne? The answer will be well provided in the upcoming ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals which will take place this June 18. Stay tuned to watch Astralis back in action.