Another one of Astralis’ stars is set to take a break from competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The Danish organization confirmed previous reports that Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth is set to step away for the game for an indefinite period of time. In his stead, the team will add Heroic’s Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer. This follows months of roster shuffles and uncertainty at Astralis despite the team enjoying years sustained of success.
Xyp9x specifically cited burnout as the reason for his decision.
“Everyone around me has done a great number of things in order to avoid it, and there is nothing that I would rather do than keep on playing without a break, but the time has come to take care of my health and therefore I have given in a sick note to Astralis,” Xyp9x said in a statement.
“Andreas @Xyp9x is in the need of a pause from competing. The timing isn’t optimal, but we can’t compromise when it comes to giving the players the best possibilities to maintain a healthy mental balance and to perform in the long term.” – Kasper Hvidt, Director of Sports
— Astralis (@astralisgg) May 28, 2020
The story of Xyp9x stepping away from the game comes shortly after a similar move by fellow Astralis player and in-game leader Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander. Xyp9x and gla1ve won several CSGO majors together with Astralis and are coming off a dominant performance in the ESL Road to Rio EU event.
Moving forward, Astralis will likely be competing with the following lineup:
Despite enjoying fairly consistent success throughout their years with Astralis, the team has openly been dealing with the effects of CSGO’s grueling tournament calendar. The team came under fire in 2019 when they took on a less rigorous tournament schedule, something that put a dent in the team’s morale.
Earlier this year, Astralis made the surprise decision to add a dedicated sixth man, Heroic’s Patrick “es3tag” Hansen, to its roster for the sole purpose of allowing the team to combat burnout by having a player ready to stand in at any point. The team is currently set to add es3tag to the roster on a full-time basis in July. It is unclear what Astralis’ long-term plans are for its roster and for es3tag. It’s also unclear whether Snappi may be auditioning for a full-time role with the team should it remain committed to an expanded roster.
Regardless, Xyp9x’s departure is a harsh blow for Astralis.
In addition to being forced to quickly train with a new teammate, Astralis is set to lose a significant amount of ground in its push to qualify for a spot in the ESL One Rio Major. Roster regulations will see the team lose 40% of its current points due to the departures of Xyp9x and gla1ve, and it could lose its standing entirely should dupreeh, Magisk, or device opt to take time off. Just as important, the team loses Xyp9x’s uniquely strong clutch skills in the game.
Though the team will likely remain a force in European CSGO, Astralis faces an uphill battle in terms of maintaining its spot atop the world.