Since its inception in 2016, the Danish powerhouse Astralis has rarely ever loosened its firm hold over CSGO esports. Impeccable work culture and a matchless lineup have helped Astralis glue the brass ring in Esports to its claw. However, 2020 did chip away some of the Astralis prowess.
For the first time since 2016, Astralis remained out of the top 5 of the world ranking for four months in a row. The Danish powerhouse spent the months of August and July 2020 in 11th place on HLTV rankings. The lineup which was formed with three core players Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, and Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz had never stayed out of the top 10 except for once in October 2016 when the team was still adjusting to roster changes.
Astralis called dibs on the number one spot, and very few teams have briefly managed to budge them. Retaining the first place in the world’s ranking for 490 days, the most any team has achieved, being left out of the top 10 was quite shocking for everyone.
Player mental Health issues drag Astralis to the verge of collapse
Team Astralis has so far bagged four major titles, most that any team has ever achieved. Xyp9x and Gla1ve were a constant in Astralis’ struggle to win these majors. Consequently, the two players took a medical leave following burnout symptoms.
Their departure resulted in several losses for the team. At this time, the organization had two options; they could either follow in the footsteps of other teams and send the coach into the battleground or look for stand-ins. Astralis chose the latter.
The organization bounced back with a stellar risk mitigation strategy and went into overdrive to look for ideal replacements. The team had Jakob “JUGi” Hansen at the ready even before Gla1ve took his leave, who helped the team make it through BLAST Premier and DreamHack Masters. However, subpar performance from the quintet resulted in consequent losses. By this time, the Danes were already stripped off of their number one spot, loitering somewhere at the bottom.
Their search wasn’t entirely futile, as the Danes showed up in ESL One Cologne servers with Patrick “es3tag” Hansen and Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen. But it was Danish prodigy Es3tag who turned out to be the dark horse that would help Astralis reclaim its throne.
Astralis’ time in ESL One Cologne was limited. However, Gla1ve’s return visibly polished the potential in Es3tag as the team bested powerful teams, including complexity, Heroic, and NAVI. The Danish powerhouse ravaged Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov and the squad in a dramatic 3-2 reverse sweep, acquiring its number one spot on the HLTV world ranking.
While refined teams struggled for a single win in the online era, Astralis climbed its way back up with a modified lineup.
The players’ stellar performance during the online era has set a whole new benchmark for other teams. The Danish organization’s attitude towards mental health incited a whole new discussion. It made the casual trend of the six-man roster a vital reality that many top tier teams, including Furia and Cloud9, are now considering.
Safe to say, Astralis’ journey to the top team in the world has been anything but underwhelming. Astralis now sits at the spot that is nothing less than a home to them. The IGL has commented that he doubts there will be one constant top team in 2020, but with Xyp9x’s comeback into the active roster, Astralis becomes the Danish dynamo to be watched out for.