Astralis - Major in Focus
If you'd prefer this in audio form with some dulcet British tones, here it is:
The undisputed number one team right now; Astralis’ dominance stems from their extremely tight team play and unrivaled utility usage. One can’t help but wonder if they could win games without firing a bullet, such is the genius within their ‘nade usage. Their miserly CT sides give even the most disciplined attacks very little to work with, combined with an elaborate T side that will exploit even the smallest mistakes of their opponents.
It’s hard to see a way past them; Na'Vi managed to force their way past them in Cologne thanks to a heroic performance from Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko, as he dropped 30 frags in the final map. Other than that, very few teams have even been able to compete with them. Only a fool would bet against them; either that, or a very brave individual with a little too much money.
Astralis won a major last year, in Atlanta, at ELEAGUE. It was the first Major for the Danish core, but it was also their first Major with gla1ve at the helm. Astralis had a reputation for "choking" - for those of you not familiar with the term, that means locking up and not performing under pressure, or more specifically in Astralis’ case, being the best team at the tournament until the semi-finals. For a long time, they were considered among the best teams in the world, but never really made the most of it.
That was, until the ELEAGUE Major. Astralis were the best team in the world going into it, and finally, they stumbled over the line. At 14-14 in the final map of the tournament, against Polish giants (stop laughing) Virtus.pro, with the major on the line, gla1ve called a fast outside rush and it worked to perfection, catching VP completely off guard. Powered by the insane fragging power of Markus ‘kjaerbye’ Kjaerbye, now at North, Astralis took the final two rounds with two A-site rushes to take the Major title.
In the first Major of 2018, however, they came falling back to Earth. They started with a huge 16-2 loss to Mousesports, which nobody really saw coming. They followed it up with a tight win over Danish rivals North, but subsequently lost to fnatic and eventual winners Cloud9 to crash out at the group stage. Now, Astralis are once again favourites after domination of the scene. Can they do it again?
Their current line-up consists of AWPer Nicolai "device" Reedtz - a constant thorn in any offensive side, with his incredibly smart positioning grabbing him opening picks and complete shutdowns; Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen - an aimstar with some of the most impressive big-game clutches of all time, most notably an outrageous Desert Eagle ace against FaZe Clan on Overpass; Emil "Magisk" Reif - a reliable third man in with the ability to make a bombsite his own on the CT side and an incredibly stunning spray; Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander - the brains of the operation with the aim to back it up; and last but not least, Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth - the final boss after you kill everyone else, if he’s alive Astralis always have a chance in any round.
Their dominance on Nuke and Inferno has been the backbone of Astralis’ success, and playing the Danes on either of these maps is a recipe for disaster. Taking them to more pug-style maps might be the way forward, but they’ve shown themselves to be no mugs on Mirage and Dust 2 also. Honestly, there isn’t a weak map in Astralis’ pool, so you might be best off trying to counter-strat them on their stronger maps. Good luck.
Picking a star man for Astralis is futile, but right now it’d have to be gla1ve, a man whose fragging ability is only bested by his brain. Yes, device might be the biggest fragger, but it’s gla1ve’s unique skill set that really elevates Astralis to ‘unbeatable’ status. Very few players can frag as well as he can; even fewer can call like he can; nobody can do both like gla1ve.