Steven R. July 6, 2019
Astralis is no longer the best team in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Pundits have been shouting it for weeks, but now Astralis player Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen agrees with that assessment as well. During a post-match interview at ESL One Cologne, the team’s entry fragger was asked point blank about the team’s recent struggles and his response was plain.
“Clearly we’re not the best team in the world. I don’t think we’ve been that for a couple months now,” Dupreeh said. “I think we’ve progressed throughout each event. It started going really horribly at [Blast Pro Series: Miami], but we’ve started seeing improvements in practice and we started to see improvements in tournaments so we’re just going to keep going from here.”
It was a somewhat surprising moment from the player and one that shows the awkward position he and his teammates are in.
From April 2018 through March 2019, Astralis was one of the most dominant teams ever seen in Counter-Strike. The organization won 12 live events during that time, including the FACEIT Major: London and the IEM Katowice Major. That stretch also included a number of milestones such as winning the first Intel Grand Slam and having each member of the team eclipse the $1 million mark in prize winnings.
However, following the IEM Katowice Major, things went off the rails for Astralis. The team suffered an early exit from BLAST Pro Series: Miami and hasn’t looked right since, failing to take home a trophy from their last five live tournaments. The team remains good, but isn’t performing like the juggernaut they were just a few months ago.
At the same time, Team Liquid has risen up to take Astralis' place at the top, winning three premier international tournaments between the months of May and June. Other contenders, such as ENCE and Team Vitality, have also threatened to push past the Danish squad.
The train seemed to be back on the tracks early at ESL One Cologne. Astralis cruised through the group stage with strong wins over BIG, Fnatic, and Ninjas in Pyjamas, which earned the team a spot in the playoff semifinals. That run ended in disappointing fashion as the team ate a rough loss to Team Vitality.
Though Astralis is stumbling and it is taking some toll on the players, Dupreeh did not seem crestfallen. The player suggested the team is improving and is still looking towards the future.
Astralis is set to take a bit of a break over the coming months, but if they can refocus during that time they will remain a strong contender for the StarLadder Berlin Major.