EditorialsAstralis' Spectacular Return or Virtus Pro Supremacy At IEM...

Astralis’ Spectacular Return or Virtus Pro Supremacy At IEM Cologne 2021 Playoffs?

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A team once famed for unparalleled success, defining an era that would be almost impossible to overtake has since cooled down. With star player and AWPer Nicolai ‘device‘ Reedtz parting ways with the roster in early 2021 for Ninjas in Pyjamas, things have never looked grimmer for the Danish powerhouse, Astralis.

Middling results all year have seen them gradually drop from the rankings, currently placed at 10th. A top 4 finish has been eluding them for the past 6 months, with their best finish coming at BLAST Premier Global Final, where they finished as the runners-up.

Astralis’ sprint at Cologne

astralis vs liquid
Astralis with device at IEM Cologne 2020

Things have looked better for Astralis in Cologne, a team tried and tested at the biggest of LAN tournaments proved their mettle versus Faze and domestic rivals Heroic early on. Though falling short of a semi-finals place in a messy affair against Natus Vincere. With Lucas ‘Bubzkji‘ Andersen gelling in well in recent times, there is no better chance for him to prove himself on LAN, against the world’s best.

But between them and a top 4 finish, stands an old foe.

A foe that gave us the most exciting major final ever, Virtus Pro. Although the roster is not what it once was, the Russian core is no stranger to the big stage. Previously part of the Avangar roster, the Virtus Pro boys were the finalists of the last major at Berlin 2019 losing to eventual champions, Astralis.

VP has since made only a single change to their roster, saying goodbye to veteran and major winner Dauren ‘AdreN‘ Kystaubayev and adding explosive entry fragger Mareks ‘YEKINDAR‘ Gaļinskis to their starting lineup. Things looked rough for them with this new roster, dropping out of the top 30 in 2020.

Image credits: Intel Extreme Masters

Once settled in, it proved to be a great pickup for them as they slowly climbed the ranks, ending the year just shy of the top 10.

A top 2 finish at IEM Katowice 2020 saw them reach number 3 in the world as they continued their demolition. Disappointing results in the CIS RMR though, have seen them fall slightly out of favor with the fans as Astralis are the favorites going into the game on Friday.

The winner plays versus G2 in the semi-finals of Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2021 on Saturday.

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