That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, but it is for some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive fans. The Danish squad captured another major title earlier this year by winning the IEM Katowice Major but went into a decline from there which saw them lose their spot as the consensus best team in the game. It was a far cry from the 2018 version of Astralis that rarely lost in a grand final, never even mind ever falling short of it.
The Astralis of 2018 is back at the Berlin Major however, and Emil “Magisk” Reif opened up to WIN.gg on how they returned to form.
“I think everyone gets hurt confidence-wise when you start losing suddenly. We were used to winning all the time, we were coming from 2018 where we won almost everything…and then suddenly we started losing,” Magisk said. “Sometimes it can be difficult going from winning everything to suddenly losing everything…I think the break was really good for us. Get away from CS, be with family, live a normal life for once. Because this is a difficult life, we travel a lot and it can be really stressful sometimes.”
Astralis took a break from competition after taking third place at ESL One Cologne, which followed fifth-place finishes at the ECS Season 7 Finals and ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals. That decision, combined with Astralis’ choice to not compete at large events like StarSeries Season 7 and Intel Extreme Masters XIV Sydney, irked a number of vocal CSGO fans and pundits.
Part of that stemmed from their high caliber of success over the 18 months prior. Some of it stemmed from allegations of meddling from Astralis’ parent company at the time, RFRSH.
Either way, Magisk says the criticism rolled right off their backs.
“Honestly, we’ve been on this level for such a long time that I wouldn’t say we get affected by it,” Magisk said. “Sometimes we would be annoyed by it but I wouldn’t say it does anything in-game…obviously you can be annoyed by people hating on you because you’re good but that’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s always going to be…For me, it just motivates me even more to just prove to people that we are the best team.”
Magisk and Astralis will be taking on Avangar in the grand finals of the StarLadder Berlin Major, a matchup few were expecting. Though many dismissed Astralis’ chances of winning the major, Avangar was never even in the discussion in the first place. That hasn’t stopped the Kazakhstani team from running through both group stages, as well as through Team Vitality and Renegades in the playoffs.
Magisk also acknowledged that was a surprise, but is sold on Avangar as a serious threat.
“If they can make it this far, you definitely have to respect them because it’s not easy getting into the grand final of a major,” he said. “We just have to prepare like we do for any other match and make sure that we don’t underestimate them or don’t show respect to them…I’m just looking forward to the finals because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a tough one.