Astralis (GS#11) is in a tough spot; the legendary IGL ‘Gla1ve’ is still on leave yet scheduled to return, ‘Xyp9x’ hasn’t scheduled his return yet (leaving many to wonder if, instead of when), and they are dropping farther in the global rankings than previously thought possible.
The pandemic has caused all sorts of pandemonium everywhere, and CS:GO is no different: massive tournaments that were legendary LANs are now being hosting online with teams separated by regions, latency has been a fascinating factor as players consistently drop out of in-progress matches, and prize pools are at a historic low as TOs need to shift from an all-team strategy to an all-region strat.
In the midst of it all, Astralis is attempting to compete and maintain their status as the undisputed kings of Counter-Strike, but it’s one heck of an uphill battle.
After signing ‘es3tag’ and ‘JUGi’ to play in lieu of ‘Gla1ve’ and ‘Xyp9x’, the team has struggled to offer a decent showing across a wide variety of maps.
Hard losses against G2 with a clean sweep and Mousesports, along with a crushing defeat to ENCE, Danish player Jakob ‘JUGi’ Hansen has frankly struggled to perform in cadence with the rest of the team. Whether that is due to competence or simply struggling to mesh with the team, is unknown.
Astralis confronted the rumors today flying about and confirmed that JUGi is being removed from the roster to make room for Lucas ‘Bubzkji’ Anderson, who was brought on under a two-year contract.
This brings Astralis’ roster to a grand total of eight, which is beginning to grow noticeably larger than other teams as some (jokingly) suggest that Astralis is simply going to sign all promising talent to ensure that no one else could grab them.
The reality is that Astralis are losing hard-won footing in the standings and the outlook is only getting worse as time progresses. Hopefully, with ‘Gla1ve’ returning in August to step back into the IGL role for the team, on-the-fly tactics and shifts will become a bit clearer cut, and Astralis can shake the recent notion that they look relatively lost on the battlefield.
With two years being committed to Bubzkji, however, others posit that Astralis is taking a gamble on younger talent in the hopes that it will pay off. If and when both ‘Gla1ve’ and ‘Xyp9x’ return, however, it’s a bit confusing to figure where everyone could go that doesn’t involve players set to ride the bench into obscurity: a move that many argue crippled the Overwatch League as promising talent was wasted on benches due to stale metas and poor balancing.
We won’t have to wait too long to see what Astralis has up their sleeve, nor for the awaited return of ‘Gla1ve’: ESL One Cologne Online 2020 begins in August, and every team will be swinging for the fences for a shot at earning the largest portion of the prize pool.